The Purple Pipe Awards
Bell, Ryan Hickman and Benjamin Mills
|WHO ARE THEY
TRYIN' TO FOOL WITH THOSE SUITS? Can you think of anybody you'd rather
accept an award from than (from left to right) Gazette sportos Ryan
Hickman, Ben Mills and Jordan Bell?
The first Pipe to
be handed out was for Best New Mustang Performer. With
a strong lineup of nominees that included football phenom Andy Fantuz,
the award was given to first-year rugby player Barb Mervin, who scooped
up the Ontario University Athletics Rookie of the Year and the Canadian
Interuniversity Sport Rookie of the Year as the best new female rugger
in the country.
The gala continued with awards being divvied out for individual performances.
The first Pipe for a specific feat of athletic prowess was Best
Female Single Performance. Nominees included Jenn Moskal for
the four silver medals she earned at the OUA Track and Field Championships
and Sarah Farah of the women's squash team, who won the OUA Championship.
The Pipe was awarded to Jane Rumball for her ass-whooping of the entire
OUA field at the rowing championships in the open singles. Rumball hadn't
competed in an OUA competition all season and showed up to dominate for
one weekend and helped the Western women take home the gold.
The male single performance award had to be tweaked a bit for the recipient,
but the whole awards show was done on the fly. Western b-baller Jimmy
Grozelle was given a Pipe for Best Single Game Performance by
a Male under Six Feet for his Jan. 25, 50-point game against
Waterloo. The dropping of 50 in a Canadian university basketball game
might be the best single performance in Western history.
No sporting awards show would be complete without a duo award, and this
Pipe was a no-brainer. The Best Mustangs Duo award went
to none other than "Hessel to Fantuz." Mustangs quarterback
Chris Hessel threw for 2,806 yards, good for second in the country, and
wide receiver Andy Fantuz caught almost half of those yards with a national
best 1,300 yards receiving. With all those receiving yards, "The
'Tuz" also set a new Canadian single season receiving record as a
Next up, Pipes were given out for Best Male and Female Ensemble
Cast, which is just upscale awards show jargon for best Western
team. On the men's side, the Western men's tennis team beat out strong
competition from the invincible men's squash team and the CIS winning
4 x 400 metre track team. The tennis team dominated all year in both the
team and individual competitions and even won a pseudo-National Championship
when they beat the University of Alberta.
The female award was a difficult choice for the Gazette Sports Writers
Guild, with strong cases coming from the OUA gold medal-winning figure
skating team, the OUA and CIS silver medal rugby team and the provincial
gold-winning rowing crew. The upset victory of the Western women's track
and field team at the OUA championships was still not enough to keep the
award from the Western women's curling team. The Mustangs curlers swept
their way to the OUA championships and a silver medal at the Nationals
and even spanked The Gazette's own all-star team in an exhibition
match which was not mentioned at the awards show.
Only one Purple Pipe was awarded this past year to a Western coach (Jack
Fairs of the men's squash team), but a nod had to be passed on to the
teachers of Mustangs athletes. The Pipe for Best Role as a Coach
had stiff competition, but Western track and field coach Catherine Bond-Mills,
in her interim role this year, took the accolade. Bond-Mills, one of Western's
most acclaimed former athletes, took over the men's and women's teams
for this season while head coach Vicky Crowley was on leave. Bond-Mills
inherited a depleted defending National Champion in the women's team and
pulled off a surprising OUA team championship over higher ranked Toronto
and York. Bond-Mills, who was also pregnant the entire season and now
is a proud mother, commented on the award.
"I am truly honoured to win this prestigious award that I've never
heard of," Bond-Mills said.
The Best Female Performance was next up, and the women's
lacrosse team's Anne Benedetti took home the honours. Not only did she
coach the team and lead them in scoring, but she did it all while attending
law school. She also took home the award for Best Example of Why
Students Shouldn't Complain About Exam Stress.
Next up was the Best Male Performance, which was awarded
to the men's squash phenom Rob Nigro. Nigro took home the gold in both
Ontario and in Canada, proving him to be the best squash player in the
world bold statement, but this is the last issue, so sue us.
And the last award to be given out on this night to end all nights was
for the Purple Pipe Lifetime Achievement Award, which
couldn't have been given to a more fitting candidate, squash coach Jack
Fairs. The old silverback kept the crowd on the edge of their seats, regaling
them with tales of "the good ol' days" and, "way back in
nineteen-hibbity-six when me and some Tommies took the bust of the Kaiser
and threw it in the river, that's when they changed the name from New
Berlin to Kitchener."