I’m Barrie. I’m An 87 Year Old Who Feels 48.
I live in North Vancouver and am passionate about being active and helping others.
Teaching has been one of my major passions, mainly involved at the secondary school level.
I am entering my 57th year of teaching Math with the same passion as when I began. Spending so much time with young people – whether teaching or coaching them soccer, field hockey, tennis, cross-country running, cricket or ping pong – has kept me young in mind. Young people will always remain the back-bone of society and to help them grow and mature has always been a privilege.
Chariots of Fire
Known professionally as Vangelis, Evangelos Odysseas Papathanasslou – love his name – composed his Academy Award-winning Chariots of Fire in 1981. He instantly became the hero of marathon runners with his compelling and inspirational score. During my first marathon in ’81, the stirring music was played every few km – I continue to be inspired by it.
Wind Beneath My Wings
For me, an equally inspiring score is Bette Midler’s version of Wind beneath my wings. I vividly recall standing alongside 1500 other triathletes at the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii in 87. The mood was sombre and still as a hushed silence embraced the athletes of all ages. We anxiously awaited the start of the gruelling event. Some were hugging, others shed tears, and some closed their eyes in meditation. As the sun rose over Kona, Bette Midler soulfully sang the score which many of us know affectionately as Did you ever know that you are my hero.
Travelling has occupied a great deal of my leisure time, having visited some 50 countries – many of which we erroneously call Third World nations – sharing their cultures and learning to appreciate their diverse lifestyles. Also learning to acknowledge how gracious and happy they are, despite often living in destitute conditions and being without the basic essentials of life. I have learned far more from them about the true values of life than I have from our own materialistic society. I have often encouraged my students to travel and acquire a better understanding of life.
Volunteering has probably brought me the most satisfaction. I have been able to teach teachers in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Jamaica and also teach children in Guatemala and Costa Rica. I have come away from all these experiences more enriched. Helping to build a village for abandoned children in Costa Rica 40 years ago – one of the boys I found living in a cardboard box on the street still keeps in touch with me – reminded me of my own childhood.
My parents abandoned me when I was 6 and this experience gave me a compassion and understanding which otherwise I would never have acquired. Another exciting project was collecting a mountain of soccer equipment here in Vancouver – all of which would have been consigned to the garbage dump – and delivering it to a black South African township. This was gold to the kids.
Sports and exercise have brought me colossal fitness and health. I played team sports from the age of 10 to my mid-forties and then I began running, culminating in a marathon within a year. I was hooked. At 50, I graduated to triathlons and competed in my first Ironman, also within a year. From then on, I have been running, playing tennis and climbing our local iconic mountain – the Grouse Grind – which I have completed more than 2000 times.
Fitness had brought me so many benefits that I want to help others who do not exercise – in the over-70 demographic – to live more healthy and vibrant lifestyles. Will YOU join me?
I was fairly fit until February 6, 2020, when a car at speed reversed into me while I was walking. I was knocked out and broke 10 bones. Up to that day, I walked 10 km daily and weekly played tennis, worked out at the gym three times, and climbed the Grouse Grind twice.
He is gradually transforming my body into the shape it was previously, along with extensive weekly therapies. I am dedicated to my recovery. At the present time, I am restricted to walking, hiking, tennis, and kinesiology.