Volume 94, Issue 94
Tuesday, March 20, 2001
Western treating fans to a good ride
A famous frog once said, "It ain't easy being green." Substitute a frog for a horse and purple for green and you've got the Western sports scene.
The pressure is always on the purple and white to succeed, and you have to wonder whether or not it has an effect. Western has a long standing reputation as a strong athletic school. This has resulted in high expectations whenever the Mustangs hit the field, ice or whatever you call that stuff at T.D. Waterhouse Stadium.
While turnout for Western games is almost always lower than what it should be in relation to the product on display, the fans that frequent Mustang games have come to expect excellence. Maybe since Western has been unable to claim a national title in recent years, it is hard to swallow for those who count themselves among the purple and proud.
It's important to keep perspective in life and Western sports is no exception. While it may be frustrating for players and fans alike that Western has come so close only to have the carpet yanked out at the last moment at least the Mustangs are there fighting for the big prize.
The soccer team was the big exception entering this season, having claimed the last two Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union championships. Unfortunately, the team could not regain their winning form this season.
The football team is an annual contender and despite a quick play-off exit this past fall, you can bet Western will never be far from the top of the heap on the grid iron.
The Clarke Singer regime has turned the Western Mustang hockey team into a well-oiled offensive machine. Yet for the second year in a row, the Ontario University Athletics crown has eluded them. At the nationals last year, the icemen suffered more heartbreak as they were twice clipped in overtime after two very hard fought games.
Top prize in the Close But No Cigar category has got to go to the basketball team who has redefined hard court hardship for the past two seasons in Halifax. Last year's half court Brandon University buzzer beater put Western out and left the Mustangs stunned. Apparently, fate was done having fun with the ballers, as the Bobcats once again snatched championship hoop dreams away from Western at this year's big dance, incredibly with another late game shot.
While at times the pressure to succeed may be a hindrance for Western, you have to wonder if the high expectations are a double edged sword. Rarely do you hear of a case of anybody achieving a high level of success in life or sport if they did not set out with a belief that nothing less would suffice.
However, when the fall season hits and Mustangs sports are front and centre again, fans should remember it's better to be an annual contender than perennial pretender.
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