A world-record holding athlete and motivational speaker was in Smithers last week to chat with students across the Bulkley Valley.
For the last five years, Rob “Frisbee Rob” McLeod has toured North America speaking to children all across the continent on topics ranging from the importance to being physically active to using technology, screens and social media in a healthy way.
Last week he was in the Bulkley Valley to speak to students at Walnut Park Elementary School, Silverthorne Elementary School and Witset Elementary School.
The Calgary-based athlete and motivational speaker holds a total of six Guinness World Records, including the longest ever throw caught by a dog (402 feet) and self-caught catch on ice skates (92.4 metres).
He also holds the Canadian Distance Record for throwing a flying disc further than any other Canadian (712 feet — more than 2 football fields).
McLeod told The Interior News his main message to the kids revolves around helping them find purpose.
“That comes about from a lot of different pieces but I think the overarching thing is for people to — kids, adults — to just find their thing [and] do something they’re passionate about.”
He said that he has always been aware of the impacts of screens and technology in the back of his mind and over the past years has began to integrate it into his talks.
However he adds he doesn’t want to demonize technology and that he advocates for better practices using it as opposed to complete restriction.
“Saying try to go a day without screens, that’s not really realistic and that doesn’t help anything.”
“It’s better to try and set some better limits on screens so the approach I take with [students] now is no screens in the bedroom, at the table and an hour before bed.”
He added he feels these are good limits for adults as well.
Discussing his own trajectory into the world of professional Frisbee, McLeod said he has always been involved in sports from a young age and was teaching other children much younger than himself how to skate as early as Grade 3.
It wasn’t until after high school that he was introduced to Frisbee. Before long McLeod was hooked, starting with ultimate and then moving on to a number of other disc sports.
He eventually heard about the Overall Disc Sports competition which is an annual competition held by the World Flying Disc Federation.
McLeod compared the event to a heptathlon in the sense that it includes an extremely diverse range of events.
“That’s really something I bring to the kids now, is I show them what’s possible with Frisbee and then they can kind of explore from there.”
He credited his interest in motivational speaking to his own upbringing and interest in working with children, noting that he was, in a sense, following in his mother’s footsteps.
“Looking back it’s very clear that a lot of what I’m doing is trying to embody her spirit,” he said.