Living the life
FAMILY, SPORTS, sartorially coordinated splendour and above all enjoying life define teacher and personal trainer Ryan Leacock. It was finding the balance for those four components which placed Ryan in a position of satisfaction where he has stated that he would gladly relive his life in the same way that he has done for the past 40 years.
While sporting one of his eye-catching matching outfits against the backdrop of the expanse of St John flora, the former national basketballer indicated that his passion for excellence in his profession and hobbies has never interfered with his drive to enjoy life.
“I have always enjoyed whatever I was doing whether it was playing basketball, teaching or conducting a session with one of my clients.
“I believe that has helped me to grow as an individual, a teacher and a trainer as well as helped to cement the relationship which I have with my family, friends, students and clients,” said Leacock in a late afternoon interview with EASY Magazine.
Just like any serious teacher, Ryan values the lessons which he has gained from his students and clients.
“One of my clients who is in the 70s told me, ‘Ryan, don’t let life be just about making money. There is never a Brinks truck driving behind the hearse carrying your coffin, enjoy your money while you can’.
“Another one warned me, ‘Ryan, don’t be fooled about any golden age, this age is neither golden, silver or bronze. Enjoy your life while it is still golden’. Living those philosophies have helped me to maintain the appearance of youthful healthiness as I enjoy a good laugh and fun in whatever I do,” he added.
Born in Chapman Lane, Ryan and his family moved to Wildey in 1986 before settling in Clapham, a basketball crazy community which would fashion his future and that of his three younger brothers. Thus, Ryan would have started school at St Mary’s Infants, moved to Wilkie Cumberbatch and then became one of the first students to enter Luther Thorne.
Graduating to Christ Church Foundation, Ryan’s passion for basketball, cricket and football clashed greatly and his obvious choice was for basketball with a court in touching distance of home. Playing for Clapham was a given for Ryan and his brothers and concluding his physical education programme at the Barbados Community College saw Ryan blending his passion with his profession.
“I taught at Codrington High School, The Lodge School, St Lucy Secondary and Bayley’s Primary. While representing Barbados at the CARICOM championships in Trinidad and Tobago in 1996, I was spotted by some scouts and I received an invitation to try out at St Leo in Florida,” he said.
In his first year on the scholarship to St Leo, Ryan damaged his Achilles tendon and had to return to Barbados for rehabilitation. He recognised the value of his disappointment turning into a blessing as well as making sacrifices for family.
“The plan was for me to spend a year in Barbados rehabilitating and then returning to St Leo. At that time an opening came up at Harrison College and I had turned down a similar position at Hilda Skeene before taking up the scholarship and I said to myself that I could not pass up on two opportunities like that.
“My mother was not working but she was adamant that I should go back and finish my scholarship but I could not do that as I was worried about my unemployed mother and my three younger brothers who needed help to attend school and so on. Thus, I gave up the scholarship and took the job to help my family and I have been at Harrison College (HC) since 1998,” stated Leacock.
Married to National Sports Council coach Tracey Leacock for the past nine years and the father of 14-year-old Niya who attends HC, Ryan explained his strategy of balancing his family time with his work time.
“I sleep for six hours which leave 18 hours to do so much in a day. My day starts at 4:30 a.m. where I would leave home to conduct training sessions before returning home to get ready for school.
“I often used my lunch break to do a class at University of the West Indies before going back to school and then bringing home Niya after 3 p.m. to St John before heading off to the university. It has paid off as I will be graduating in October with an honours degree in management, specialising in international business.
“Tracey would sometimes complain about my long working hours but, she, just like me, loves to travel and to shop so to achieve those goals someone has to put in the extra hours,” he said, laughing.
Tracey was present at the interview last Sunday evening and drew closer when Ryan was asked how long they were married, which he answered correctly to the date. She showed even more interest, or scepticism, to the response when her husband was quizzed about his outstanding coordinated outfits which unofficially made him the best dressed male PE teacher at BSSAC (Barbados Secondary School Athletics Championships).
“I purchase my own clothes and I do the coordinating myself. I love shoes and I have over 40 pairs to match my outfits since I see my clothes as a representation of who I am. I enjoy life and sharing that joy with those around me,” said Leacock.