Volume 95, Issue 17

Friday, September 28, 2001
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Mustangs look to steady the ship

TD Waterhouse - good or bad?

Kwiatkowski- the next Steve Nash? Anything's possible

Elliotte Friedman: a reporter and a gentleman

Smith taking sports out to the Mustang masses

Mustang Mike Pasel holds the line on defense

As good as it gets

Mustang Mike Pasel holds the line on defense

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff

For many people, identifying a life-altering event is a chore, but for Mustang defensive lineman Mike Pasel, there could be no easier task.

"It was a game against [MacMaster]. I got some tickets from coach [Larry] Haylor, I told him I was interested in coming here and I came out and I loved it," Pasel said, in regards to his first trip to a Western Mustang football game.

When it comes to football, things seem to click pretty quickly for Pasel. The Dundas, Ontario native said not only were his affections for Western cemented instantly, his feelings for the game of football itself were immediate.

"I loved it," Pasel said of his first football experience when he was a 12-year-old linebacker and running back. "I had a great coach to start off with and four other guys I started playing with went on to play at universities."

Now in his fourth-year with the Mustangs as a history and psychology student, Pasel said there are two things about the game of football that keep his cleats sharp.

"The intensity and the people – more so in football, than anywhere else. I think you rely on the 11 other guys on the field with you. You have to depend on everyone else and the camaraderie within the team is unparalleled with any other sport," Pasel said.

Pasel's road to Western hashad some bends along the way. After high school, he had offers to play in college football in the United States but decided that was not for him.

"I had some American offers coming out of high school, but I wasn't very interested in going there," he said.

Instead, Pasel packed his bags for Hamilton to attend Mohawk College. After obtaining a diploma in business, Pasel played some junior football before graduating to the Mustangs.

Beth Kerim/Gazette

Pasel said his first Western experience was memorable in its simplicity. "Just the excitement of putting on the uniform and I remember the first time I got to put the decal on my helmet – it was such a proud moment."

Later that season (Pasel's rookie year of 1998), he experienced what he calls his personal highlight at Western to date – winning the Yates Cup.

"Just getting to hold that cup and understanding what it meant and just getting a feel for what it was all about was a very unique experience and I'll never forget it," Pasel said.

Pasel acknowledged several people during his time at Western who have had a tremendous impact on his career. Former teammates Paul Blenkhorn and Andy Dobaczewksi were both instrumental in his development, he said. He also identified his defensive line coach Dave Shoebottom as a tremendous source of knowledge. "The amount of football knowledge I've gained from him is phenomenal," Pasel said.

The Homecoming game is obviously an exciting event for all players and fans involved. Pasel said the emotions do not just begin and end with the game, rather the game is just the culmination of a week-long build up.

"The energy – you can feel it. The hype for the entire week is built up, it's not just the Saturday," he said.

According to Pasel, the feelings of the alumni and students only serve to add to the emotion of the Homecoming game. "Knowing and understanding how much it means to so many people – it's pretty exciting," Pasel said.

While it's clear Pasel is loving his time as a Mustang, he is not certain whether football will be part of his life after Western. Pasel is just waiting to see how things take flight.

"I've got a year of eligibility left, but aside from that, my plans are to eventually become a pilot. If I have the opportunity to play football somewhere else after this, I'd certainly look at that when the time comes."

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Copyright The Gazette 2001