Sports

My thoughts on Etcheverry

Maclaine Chadwick | Sports Editor

I’M NOT EXACTLY at the sidelines while I’m writing this, but my seat here at my parents’ kitchen table streaming the Gee-Gees’ Thanksgiving football game is as close as I’m going to get for today. The picture is choppy and I could probably count the pixels on the screen with one hand, but that doesn’t matter to me because my mind is on the Gees. For me, a win only means that I have a victory story to write, but for them, it is the manifestation of their spirit despite a losing season and leadership vacancy.

The world of sports all about winning. When teams lose games, people lose jobs—that’s just the business. That’s why they fire people in the big leagues, and that’s basically why the University of Ottawa did it two weeks ago, when they let football coach Gary Etcheverry go.

Going from being one of the strongest teams in the Ontario University Athletics to the bottom of the heap has to be difficult, but let’s not look at the seemingly snap decision to fire Gary Etcheverry as the motion of a team of sore losers. That’s not the Gee-Gees’ style. This is a team that, this season alone, has jumped hurdle after hurdle all while keeping their heads up and their spirits high.

They’re by no means sore losers; they are just players who recognized that something was wrong, and took action to fix it—which is unfortunate for Etcheverry, but as a veteran of the business, he probably suspected that might happen. The sports industry is as cutthroat for its organizers as it is for the players, and decisions are driven by results. If you went to a restaurant and ordered the same meal five times in a row, and were disappointed every time, wouldn’t you switch it up too? In fact, you would have probably switched it up after the first time or gone to a different restaurant.

Okay, that analogy wasn’t the greatest—but it’s the best I could come up with given the turkey dinner that is being created right next to me.

Organizations, the U of O included, never want to be in the position to have to let someone go. For Sports Services, the decision was not an easy one, even though it may look that way from an outsider’s perspective. It’s awful to see someone lose a job, but Etcheverry was nearing retirement anyway, and the twenty-something-year-old football players—many of whom could be scouted by pro teams—are not.

The Thanksgiving football game is now over, and if you were watching or keeping informed online, you’ll know that the Gees won; and if that isn’t the perfect evidence to prove the U of O made the right decision, then I don’t know what is.