Introducing the 2020 SHAPE Colorado Candidate for President-Elect – Murray Wallace
My name is Murray Wallace and I am a candidate for SHAPE Colorado President-Elect. I am originally from Glasgow in Scotland and moved to Colorado permanently in 2004. I live in Longmont with my wife and our Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rye. I try to enjoy as much activity as I can playing co-ed soccer and touch rugby, with the occasional full contact game thrown in there, just to keep myself honest!
Growing up in Scotland, I played lots of football (soccer) but early on discovered a passion for playing rugby. My love for these two sports has not diminished, and throughout a successful rugby career, as an amateur and a professional, I managed to visit many wonderful places, and meet many wonderful people throughout the world. In the UK, school sports are the training ground for a life as a club player, so we were encouraged to be multi-sport athletes, so badminton, track and field, field hockey, cricket and team handball were others that provided a variety of activities that encouraged the 21st century skills (critical thinking, problem solving decision making) I try to make an integral part of my physical education program.
As a higher-level rugby player playing nationally, and internationally, opportunities arose for me to get involved in youth coaching and subsequently school visits to teach rugby. Visits to a variety of schools in Fiji, Samoa and the Cayman Islands provided a very different view of schooling than a private rugby school in Scotland! While in Fiji and Samoa the smiles on students faces sparked something. Here was a group of kids, who to us had so little materially, running around in bare feet, on a wet Southern Pacific schoolyard laughing and smiling with each other, and to this day this has to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
I was in a career in construction management at this time and had never really considered teaching as a possible future passion. After several rugby sabbaticals to Boulder, further rugby trips to the Caribbean and South Africa, my wife suggested I turn my passion for the joy of youth, activity and sport into something more meaningful, so teaching appeared on the horizon. We decided to swap 300 days of rain for 300 days of sunshine and moved to Longmont in 2004, bought a house, got married (at the Syracuse Zoo in Central NY!) and started a Masters in Sport and Exercise Science with Post Baccalaureate Licensure in K-12 physical education at the University of Northern Colorado. I had decided to give up chasing clients for money to concentrate on chasing students for assignments!
Graduating in 2006, I secured my job teaching physical education and health and have been at Erie Middle school, St. Vrain Valley Schools ever since. I also spent several years doing some contract work for USA and World Rugby as a coach education consultant and then as that came to the end of its run, coached Boulder Rugby Men’s and high school teams and the CU men’s rugby team for a few years. Frustrated with coaching and wanting to advocate quality physical education for all student, I became more involved with SHAPE. I started to present, not just attend, the convention, and joined the SHAPE Colorado board in 2017. I was immediately drawn to the advocacy committee and have been co-chair of the Advocacy Committee ever since.
I would like to be SHAPE CO President so I can share my passion for the healthy future of us all with all of you. I would love to continue the outstanding work that has been ongoing and continue collaborating with all stakeholders to continue the fight for quality physical education and health education for all students in Colorado and beyond. We should absolutely focus our efforts on ensuring that every child knows how to take care of themselves so no one else has to, and just as importantly focus on providing our students the skills, knowledge and confidence to be healthily physically active for a lifetime, and not just until they leave high school.