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Thursday, April 18, 2024
Ross’s Ramblings: Brock keeps focus on sports, not spectacles
The highly ranked Brock University women’s volleyball team finish off their Ontario University Athletics final game against McMaster as the rowdy Brock rugby team chants, “Start the bus. Start the bus!” Brock will now compete in the national championship. ROSS ROBINSON

No gambling ads, no bad behaviour by players or spectators.

Just a great sporting event in a packed and eponymous Bob Davis Gymnasium up at Brock University last Friday evening.

There were about 3,000 fans, including my former hockey teammate Bob Davis: always great to see him.

Sitting in the second row, right behind a dozen or so macho, loud, enthusiastic and wacko Brock rugby players cheering on their OUA number-one-ranked friends, the Badgers, in the women’s volleyball provincial final match against the McMaster Marauders.

It was a night to remember, watching the sport I love most.

A fellow NOTL senior citizen and I made the short drive up to Brock, happy to have purchased the last two available tickets.

Such a deal at $10 each!

The noise was incredible and the tension palpable, but the student event staff had the situation totally under control.

The amazing athletes were warming up, there was fresh popcorn and pop for two bucks and no alcohol or recreational drugs in the area (at least to my knowledge).

The final match started after the appropriate pre-game ceremony — and great points right away.

So athletic, so positive, such respect for the rules and the officials.

Win or lose the point, and a few positive words before the next serve.

Never a pout or a negative sideways glance, no potty mouths and lots of back pats – “Great point,” or “Nice try.”

We were surrounded by students, next to two coeds who play intramural basketball and volleyball at McMaster University.

Were they flirting with the rugby players? Whatever. We felt welcome and they shared popcorn.

The 20-ish rugby-playing student-athletes were loud, a bit bizarre, unashamedly Brock Badgers and 100 per cent biased — but never a negative comment about the referees.

They cheered after every Brock point and banged those dumb red plastic sticks together to add to the clamour and cacophony.

There are so many negative stories in the media discussing all that is wrong with sports.

If you want to feel better about the future of our great country, go on the Brock University or Niagara College websites, find out what sports are scheduled and make the short drive.

The rugby players were too much. Mostly thickly built, neatly dressed, stylishly coiffed and just plain full of energy and fun.

Perhaps this Ontario final volleyball game was merely a warm-up for more student-like behaviour later?

I am clearly out of touch, but also clearly an admirer of today’s student life.

My pal and I loved the loud and choreographed chants, such as “Start the bus” when Brock was nearing victory in the final game.

But why did one barrel-chested dude keep doing push-ups whenever a McMaster player was preparing to serve near us?

Distracting, but a clever tactic, eh?

As the Badgers got closer to a win, and their invitation to the national championships, it got noisier and noisier.

Finally, the winning point. On to the nationals!

There was elation for the Badgers, on and off the court, and sadness for the McMaster folks.

But not one instance of bad sportsmanship. All around, respect for a well-played match and everyone had done their best.

On one particular night, both teams cannot be the best, but both teams can try their best. Isn’t that what sport should be all about?

I am so thankful my parents — both fine athletes in their days — totally understood the lessons that sports can teach, the good and the bad.

Our Canada has a bright future in the world, and the young people at our beleaguered colleges and universities give me confidence. And pride.

Next weekend, let’s cheer for the Badgers at the nationals in Hamilton.

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