A story book ending that still hasn't
By Dave Martin
Fond memories never fade.
THE MOMENT. A 1953 Yates Cup veteran is greeted on the
sidelines of Saturday's Homecoming game.
For members of Western's 1953 Yates Cup-winning team, watching
Murray Henderson's game-winning touchdown with 40 seconds left
is as crystal clear as glacier water - even though it happened
half a century ago.
"I can picture Henderson falling into the end zone for the
win as if it was yesterday," teammate Don Prowse recalled.
Beyond the standard Homecoming festivities this weekend, the
Western faithful were treated to something extra as members
from the 1953 team were honored at mid-field before the Mustangs'
game against Ottawa on Saturday.
Twenty-five teammates and coaches returned for the occasion,
proving how significant and meaningful varsity sports can be
in people's lives. Fifty years later the friendships and team
camaraderie still exist.
"It's terrific to see everyone again, to be back with the guys
and be back at the old school," said former Mustang Doug Drew.
Assistant coach Jack Fairs echoed Drew's sentiments.
"It's really special to be here today, talking to friends and
family that you haven't seen for so long. I've heard a lot of
guys saying how they never dreamt of being together 50 years
later and being honored makes it mean that much more. It's hard
to describe how special today is for us," Fairs said.
Western President Paul Davenport was on hand for the celebration
and commented on the proceedings.
"The names out on that field today are such a huge part of
Western football history. Western probably has the greatest
university football tradition in the country over the last fifty
years and that team represented what it was all about," Davenport
He went on to talk about the impact the pre-game ceremony had
on current Western head coach Larry Haylor. "Watching the emotion
on coach Haylor's face, I could really see what this meant to
him as he is such a huge part of the tradition here as well."
Although Prowse and Drew won two Yates cups and agreed the
'53 win was the highlight of their sporting careers, winning
wasn't what stuck with them. "It's the contacts we made. The
friends, the good times, seeing them today and being able to
pick up as if we never went away. That was the best part of
being on a varsity team," Prowse said.
The closeness they described is what quite possibly led them
to such great success.
"Although there were a lot of incredible players, they weren't
the most skilled team I've ever seen," Fairs said. "Football
is a team game and the cohesiveness, heart and determination
of these guys combined to lift the team way higher than any
individuals could have."
Homecoming and football are two of university's longest standing
traditions and this weekend the legacy of a great team from
yesteryear helped us remember and enrich Western's great traditions