A Diamond in the Rough

The definition of a leader is “the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country,” however there is so much more to it than that. It’s behind the scenes where a real leader shines; all the effort, planning, organization, and sacrifice, that usually goes unnoticed. A real, effective leader does a lot more than just leading, and that is the reason why I chose to interview a great young leader in our community named Aarman Bondar, most people just call him Bondar.

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I first met Bondar in late February of last year, at the beginning of the rugby season, he was volunteering as an assistant coach for both the junior and senior boys. I knew he had graduated a year prior and had played for the rugby team, but other than that nothing. The first practice he ran was the hardest practice I’d had in a long time, and I was kind of like “whoa this guys hardcore,” but I soon realized that he pushed us so hard because he wanted the best for us. Fast forward to the end of the season; a couple months of practice,  a dozen games, 2 tournaments, and a few late nights with the team later and Bondar and I have really got to know each other.

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Bondar was born May 22nd 1996, into a relatively poor Coquitlam family. He grew up in Coquitlam and attended Gleneagle Secondary, where he played five sports all four years of high school including soccer, volleyball, rugby, wrestling, and cross country. He was team MVP all four years in at least one sport and received athlete of the year not once but twice. He was in the COAST program, and loved to get involved in ‘school spirit’ activities such as attending sporting events or fundraisers. He also played drums in the school band.  During high school Bondar volunteered at the Pinetree Community Center, where he worked with children in the outdoors running activities such as hiking or canoeing. In his senior years at Gleneagle, Bondar excelled on the rugby team playing on the local rep team, and eventually team B.C. He now play’s for the UBC rugby 15’s team and more recently the 7’s team. He is currently studying at the Sauder School of Business at UBC, where he is taking a double major in finance and marketing.   This past summer he worked with the Gleneagle rugby team, myself included, running a course which taught us about general fitness and weightlifting.
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On Tuesday at lunch I conducted an interview with Bondar in the library in which I asked him a few questions about himself that would show his leadership in the community. I learned a lot about Bondar from the interview, most of which I wouldn’t have known if hadn’t have chosen him for this project, so I’m glad I did.

When asked what style of coaching he preferred to use and what he did to motivate players he answered…

“At first I coached the way I was coached, which was lots fitness, lot’s of yelling. The real hard approach. Eventually though I realized that even though I was coached like that and it was successful, it wasn’t the best style. I realized that kids react better to things like competitions and fun games and stuff like that. That’s what I tried to do in the summer with the weightlifting. Adding in fun games and competition’s to get the kids to push each other. That carried over to coaching United. A lot of it was based around fun and having fun, but still always working hard and learning the skills. Many kids and young people especially don’t like just being told to do something a certain way like they’re being commanded. They like to be interacted with instead which makes more sense than just being black and white.”

What kind of advice would you give to a young person striving to be a leader or who you think would be a good leader?

“A lot of times when someone tries to be original or different or a leader they get criticized, because they start to stand out and they begin to separate themselves from the norm. Some advice to give to them, because I was in their shoes at one point would be, don’t care about what people say to you or about you. If people make fun of you and stuff like that it doesn’t matter. If you believe in something then do it. For example I was in concert band and people made fun of me for it, but I didn’t care what people thought, I loved it. People spent there summer’s working at McDonald’s or the grocery store making money for themselves. I spent my time with kids in the outdoors doing things that I loved. So just when you find was you really love and what you really want to, do it, and you’ll probably be really good at it. Don’t regard the bad things that other people say about you.  Your biggest critic is yourself, and your the one who pushes yourself to do what you can not other people. Don’t be afraid to set high goals for yourself you know. You have to think of something before you can go out and do it. For example someone had to think of sending a man to the moon otherwise it never would have happened. Don’t follow what other people do, create your own path, create your own vision.”

“What have you done for work in the past and what are your goals for work in the future?”

“I grew up in a very under-privileged family so I started working pretty young. When I was 11 or 12 I started helping at my dad’s shop, building kitchen cabinets, sweeping the floors etc. Just doing whatever I could to help. During high school I worked as a sports referee. I worked at The Bay selling shoes at one point. My dad also opened up a donair shop so I worked with him there part-time. I was also paid as a personal trainer during high school for several sports teams from different schools. Now the work that I do is mostly internships with a couple of firms and my professors downtown.

For the future I want to try to use the options of my double major. The reason I chose finance is that I have some connections in the finance district, so I with a good education I can easily get a job through that. While the other reason why I chose marketing is because I love sports and I could possibly end up travelling around and working with sports teams while I’m young. And then when in my 30’s or 40′, and I want to start a family, I think settling down with a secure job in the finance sector would work best for me.”

As I said before there I learned a lot about Bondar from the interview, and I think it really showed how much of a leader he is to a lot of young people, like myself, in the community. Personally I think that Bondar is an amazing leader both as a sports coach and just as a general role model. There aren’t many people who can do what he does. As a matter of fact it’s quite amazing that he is able to balance all the different aspects of his life; school, work, volunteering, rugby, coaching, and still finding time to come and do an interview for me. He’s definitely a great leader and even more importantly a truly great guy.

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