“A coach will impact more young people in a year than an average person will in a lifetime”. That statement is true, unless you are Ralph Bell; a man whose impact was felt in an entire sport community for over 2 decades.
From ringette father to NRL coach, Ralph was truly passionate about the sport of ringette and the athletes who played it. Over the last year, many stories have been shared about this humble man; his fun loving personality, his competitive drive, his ability to transform athletes, and his “never, never, give up” mentality. There are endless stories about Ralph and the numerous attributes that made him such a genuinely good man that affected everyone that had the opportunity to have met him. In true sport fashion, we have created the: WAM!’s Top 10 Ralph Highlights:
10: Ralph’s fun loving personality and ability to sing made him consistently the life of the party. There are more than a few of his athletes and parents that have memories of Ralph singing karaoke. It didn’t matter where he sang or what he sung, Ralph would just sing. He has been known to sing in bars and on buses, and he would sing everything from the oldies to Top 40.
9: For those of you who have been around the WAM! organization, you will know that we often do things a little differently; announcing our line up is one of these things. With a booming announcer’s voice, Ralph would call out the entire line up over beating sticks/equipment from the starting goalie, through the forward and defense lines, to the back up goalie.
8: Every coach is known for their unique quotes; many of them are fairly standard, but Ralph had his own (straight forward) phrases that you were sure to hear every game: “Does Jam have her contact in?”, “We need to hit the net in order to score!”, “Possession is the key to winning; if they don’t have the ring they can’t score” and finally the very succinct POE-ZESS-SHUN!!!
7: Ralph and his infamous Ralphisms. For anyone that had engaged Ralph in a conversation knew it was rare to go an entire conversation without a very thoughtful and witty pun being interjected into the discussion. When asked how his organic diet, that consisted of a lot of salads, was going, Ralph’s infamous answer was, “I wish they would just leaf me alone”.
6: Not only did Ralph coach in the NRL, but he coached his daughters, Dailyn and Jamie, and his niece Lindsay on the 2010 Team USA where they won bronze at the World Ringette Championship.
5: Ralph’s first year as head coach of WAM! was the 2013/2014 season where he shocked the ringette community with his underdog team taking bronze at Nationals.
4: Ralph’s first experience on the WAM! bench was in the 2010/2011 season where the underdog team won their second consecutive National Championship.
3: Although Ralph is an unbelievable coach, he is an even better ringette dad whose pride for his daughters was incredibly evident. Just over a year ago, Ralph had the opportunity to watch Dailyn and Jamie represent Canada at the World Ringette Championships in Finland.
2: One of the attributes that made Ralph such an effective coach was his ability to develop his athletes and transforming them by believing in them. As one of his athletes, knowing he believed in your ability and had confidence in you allowed you to take the risks necessary to successfully compete at a higher level.
1: As a coach, his expectations where simple: work your hardest and never give up. A year ago, he became the greatest example of what it meant to #nevernevergiveup