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Birds beware—2014 isn’t far from the Gee-Gees’ memory

Photo: Marta Kierkus

The Gee-Gees won last year’s Panda Game—well at least 59 minutes of it. We all know the story, a last minute Hail Mary resulted in a freak catch off of a deflection, Carleton took Pedro for the first time in 20 years. This year the Panda Game looks a little different, but it’s a lot more significant.

For the Gee-Gees, the game is an opportunity to start the second half of their season strong and prepare for the playoffs. In this game, the 2-2 Gee-Gees come in with stronger offensive numbers against better teams, compared to the Ravens’ better defensive numbers against weaker competition.

The Gees’ program was totally overhauled after an abysmal 2012 season, making 2013 a fresh start for the Garnet and Grey. Carleton’s team played their first season since 1998 in 2013. Looking at the two teams, the Gee-Gees have rebuilt a strong contending team in the following years, while Carleton has yet to make the playoffs or post a winning record.

An underlying question is if the 3-2 Ravens lose this game, is their rebuild a failure?

In a way it would be perceived a failure, they were a recruiting superpower and pulled in big name players like receiver Nate Behar and defensive back Tunde Adeleke. Their expectation was to be a contender by now, and at this point they’re still a pretender.

Both teams come into the game off of pivotal losses, the Gee-Gees beat up by Guelph, and the Ravens obliterated by Western. There is no time for the teams to lick their wounds as both have had this game circled on their calendars, perhaps maybe one team more than the other.

If anything, the Gee-Gees are a vengeful bunch. They remember every little thing that happened and try to make you pay for it the next time you meet. An embarrassment in front of 12,500 fans last year doesn’t slip from the memory fast.

From a fan’s perspective, this game can go one of two ways. The angered Gees unleash an offensive barrage, taking back Pedro and sending the Ravens flying back to Carleton empty handed. Alternatively, the game is close, Carleton tries to put together another miraculous win, and it comes down to the wire with one team walking away winners. For Gee-Gees fans, the latter is more exhilarating, while the former is much more fulfilling.

In a rivalry, it’s all about bragging rights. Systematic destruction should be what the Gees are seeking but only time will tell if they can pull it off.

The game is also getting a little more theatrical this year, with a pregame and halftime performance by Ottawa band The Lionyls.

As a whole, the City of Ottawa will be overtaken on Saturday, with one game in the middle of the city deciding who reigns supreme over Canada’s capital. This one should be exciting, no matter the outcome.

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. and all transit including shuttles busses provided by OC Transpo leaving from Laurier and Campus Stations are free of charge with a ticket. It is encouraged to bring your student card to the game, and bags are prohibited.