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New Waterford basketball team slip makes America’s Funniest Home Videos final 3

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They fall like dominoes.

One by one, all 12 players on the Breton Education Centre boys basketball team hit a wet patch in the corner of the gymnasium and slide to the floor, piling onto one another in a jumble of flailing limbs, before scrambling back to their feet to continue their pre-game lap of the court.

That’s the slapstick moment that Grade 9 student Aaron McMullin caught on video during this February’s New Waterford Coal Bowl Classic in Nova Scotia. The moment, beginning at 17 seconds into the video, became a highlight of the tournament, and one that few in the gym that day will soon forget — especially since it will soon be widely broadcast on television. 

“I think it was just the fact that nobody really expected it, but when the first three people went down, everybody knew something was up,” said McMullin.

Grade 10 student and BEC Bears shooting guard Aaron MacLean was the second-last player to hit the court.

It was his first Coal Bowl and he was excited to do the traditional run around the gym.

“I ran out high-fiving all the kids, then I saw 10 guys fall right before me, so I started kind of laughing,” he said. “So I tried to kind of run around them, and it was worse than ice. As soon as I touched it, I was one of the last ones, and I went flying.”

MacLean was among the last to fall. (Holly Conners/CBC)

Still a mystery

The culprit?

“They said some kids spilled pop or Gatorade on the floor,” said MacLean. “It didn’t feel like pop or Gatorade. It felt like ice.”

It’s just amazing that someone from small town New Waterford can go on something this big.– Aaron MacLean

MacLean said how all 12 players managed to go down is “a mystery.

“I still don’t know to this day how it all happened. At least we went down as a team.”

MacLean never learned who spilled the drink.

“I wish I kind of did, you know. It kind of made us famous.”

When McMullin got home after the game, he posted his video to Facebook.

“I got, I think, a thousand views the first night.”

After that, his mom suggested submitting it to America’s Funniest Home Videos.

It’s a hit

About three weeks later, he learned it had been accepted.

“I was in my room freaking out ’cause I got a phone call, and she was like, ‘Oh yeah, you’re coming down to L.A.'”

McMullin flew to California over March break for the show taping, where his video made it into the final three.

He can’t reveal the outcome of the show before it airs May 6, when it’s estimated as many as six million people will be watching, according to executive producer Michele Nasraway.

AFV receives between 4,500 and 5,000 video submissions each week, she said. 

Screeners look for clips that are funny or unusual.

McMullin went to Los Angeles in March for a taping of the show. (Holly Conners/CBC)

Tough field

“To see 12 basketball players come out, and slip and fall in quick succession was highly unusual, and it made us laugh,” said Nasraway.

McMullin’s pratfalling basketball players are up against some tough competition: a young girl and two toddlers.

“Kids and animals definitely seem to be preferred videos amongst voters,” said Nasraway.

The winning video takes home $10,000 US. Second place gets $3,000, and third place gets $2,000.

For MacLean, it’s an honour just being nominated.

“It’s just amazing that someone from small town New Waterford can go on something this big, ’cause I grew up watching AFV, and I just think it’s great.”

Regardless of whether the BEC Bears take the win on AFV, they had the satisfaction of regaining their composure after their group tumble and winning that Coal Bowl game.

“We came back and pulled out the win,” said MacLean. “Didn’t really mess with the corner though. We just let that corner be. It took the best of us.”

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Ottawa families give mixed reviews for online schooling

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So, how’s it going with online school? Families reached by CBC Ottawa seem to have mixed reviews. 

Masuma Khan is a mother of two. Her seven-year-old, Hana Wyndham in Grade 2, is attending French immersion virtual school. Masuma is grateful it’s an option, but can’t help notice a lot of down time.

“There’s a lot of, ‘are you on mute?’ In terms of the amount of learning that’s actually happening, it does seem to be not that high,” said Masuma.

Parents who kept their children at home this fall are in the minority, but they still form a significant chunk of families in Ottawa.

In the city’s largest school board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), about 27 per cent of elementary students and 22 per cent of high school students chose online learning. The Ottawa Catholic School Board says roughly a quarter of its students are online.

For Masuma, the decision to keep her daughter home was complex: extended family members are immunocompromised and she worried the in-person learning environment would be unpleasant because of precautions. She also felt her daughter might benefit from being supported at home.

“She doesn’t necessarily enjoy school. I also found out during the pandemic that she was being bullied [last year],” said Masuma. “So I thought, why not try from home?”

To help her daughter socialize face-to-face with other kids, Masuma enrolled Hana in Baxter Forest School, an alternative education program where kids spend most of their time outside, one day a week. Hana also attends virtual Arabic classes two days a week after school. 

Masuma’s husband and Hana share the living room work space, and Masuma admits he does the lion’s share of helping their daughter stay on task. There is a possibility that he’ll be required to return to his office in the new year.

“When he goes back to work … it’s probably going to be a little bit more difficult.”

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No school closures after Christmas holiday break, says Ontario education minister

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Ontario elementary and secondary schools will not close for an extended winter break, says Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

Closures aren’t needed given Ontario’s “strong safety protocols, low levels of (COVID-19) transmission and safety within our schools,” Lecce announced Wednesday afternoon. He said he had consulted with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams and the province’s public health measures advisory table.

That ended speculation about school buildings remaining closed in January for a period of time after the Christmas break.

Earlier in the week, Lecce told reporters the government was considering having students spend “some period out of class” in January, perhaps switching to online learning.

In a statement, Lecce said that even though rates of community transmission of COVID-19 are increasing, “schools have been remarkably successful at minimizing outbreaks to ensure that our kids stay safe and learning in their classrooms.”

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Windy start to the week in Ottawa

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OTTAWA — It’s a blustery Monday in the capital with wind gusts of up to 50 km/hour expected throughout the day.

Environment Canada is forecasting a high of 4 C with a 60 per cent chance of showers or flurries before the wind dies down later this evening.

There’s a chance of flurries on Tuesday as well with a high of -1 C. The overnight low will dip to an unseasonal -9 C.  

Wednesday’s high will be just -5 C with lots of sunshine.

Seasonal temperatures return for the rest of the week..

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