Volume 92, Issue 12

Thursday, September 24, 1998

write all about it


Recording the truth

The breaking of a record in the world of sports can be an awe-inspiring feat.

It reminds us that something everyone believed could never be done – can be. Often it transports us back in time to our childhood when we fully believed the sky was the limit.

Without question, Mark McGwire created such emotion with the smash heard around the world only a few weeks ago when he broke the home run record held by Roger Maris.

Closer to home, Mustang head coach Larry Haylor is in the process of breaking a similar feat at Western. Last week's victory over Laurier tied the record of most wins at 119 by a Western coach. On Saturday in Toronto against the Varsity Blues he will have a chance to break John Metras' 29-year-old record.

Yet for such a incredible feat, little notice has been given.

When he tied the record, there were no standing ovations or curtain calls. Nor was there a media frenzy. Just a small announcement at the end of the game over the speakers as the crowd headed to their cars.

And maybe that is the way it should be.

Haylor and Metras are two completely different men who have at different times in history impacted Mustang football – differently.

Metras coached the 'Stangs for three full decades (1940-1969) in a short season format while witnessing the end of a world war (1945) and the establishment of the Vanier Cup (1967).

Haylor on the other hand has engraved his own style of coaching into the purple and white legend. In less than 14 seasons he has tied and will soon pass Metras for the record.

But what must also not be forgotten is Haylor did so with the assistance of medicine to get his star players back on the field faster, videotape to analyze each game frame by frame and a larger school population.

So here you have it. Two men of legend in their own decades but only room for one name in the record book to stand the test of time.

This creates the question – how important is the record book if it forgets those that have made equal contributions but at times in history when circumstances where different?

Maris hit one more home run than Babe Ruth but had a longer season to do so. Then, McGwire beat Maris – but did Maris have the testosterone pills to give his flyballs that little extra zip?

So the same can be said for Haylor and Metras. If you want the truth of these two Western legends when you are old and grey – pick up a history book and don't even think about touching the statistical record book.

To Contact The Editorial Department: gazette.editor@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998