Random thoughts & links on Friday night’s game

I was at Alumni Stadium for more than 3 hours on Thursday night as my youngest son participated in his first organized football experience. He recently turned 8 and will likely start playing minor football next summer but tonight he had a great time participating in the OUA’s Growing the Gridiron program.

ouaQuoting directly from the brochure … Growing the Gridiron is a new youth football initiative/program to help grow the sport of football at the grassroots level in Ontario. Growing the Gridiron will offer youth between the ages of 7 and 14 a safe and fun introduction to football. [It] is organized, operated and facilitated by Ontario University Athletics.

You can find more info on the program here. Tonight’s clinic was the second one to be run. Seven dates have been set so far but Program Coordinator Samantha Magalas told me they hope to run twelve this fall and more in 2014. I found it interesting, and  encouraging, that three of the initial seven locations are in markets where the local OUA institution doesn’t field a football team – Sudbury [Laurentian], Peterborough [Trent] and Oshawa [OUIT].

Anyways, the reason I was mentioning it was that as I sat there watching I couldn’t help but think what a great evening it was for football. Not just because of the mild weather but Alumni Stadium looked great under the lights. The two-tone greens of the turf stood out more than usual, as did the end-zones and the Tiger-Cats’ signage around the stadium. “Very professional!”

I just hope as it did tonight that the possible showers [40% chance of 1mm of rain] will hold off until the football is done.

*     *     *

On my way into the stadium I had a brief chat with Cam Thorn. He didn’t mention to me that he was the subject of a story in the Mercury today –
Cam Thorn learns patience on the Gryphon offensive line. Thorn has obviously had to adopt a different mindset switching from the D-Line to the O-Line. Patience is a part of that but so is being able to forget about your mistakes.

Of course, there have been a few miscues during his first five games at the position. “You’ve got to put them behind you,” Thorn said. “As my coach, coach (Mike) MacDonald says, you’ve just got to put them on the shelf meaning you’ve just got to … forget about it and move on to the next play.”

With five games at LG under his belt we are starting to see why the BC Lions invested a draft pick on Thorn. He has always had the physical gifts to excel at the position, so with some experience and the right mental attitude he is becoming a force. A perfect example was the way he mauled Mac’s All Star LB Aram Eisho in the Homecoming Game. I recall Thorn pushing Eisho well down field before putting him on his back. Several of Eisho’s Marauder teammates had to help him get to his feet after that.

Cam Thorn vs Mac - Homecoming 2013 Photo: Lou Toppan

Cam Thorn vs Mac – Homecoming 2013
Photo: Lou Toppan

*     *     *

A preview of the game from York U’s sports info people: LIONS OFF TO GUELPH TO FACE NO. 4 GRYPHONS

Guelph is off to a great start on building another top recruiting class for 2014. I expect that we will several more members of the recruiting class introduced at the game. You can find my list of prospects who have committed to Guelph for 2014 here.

No surprise that all three SportsEh “experts” are picking Guelph in this game – Pick Ems – CIS Week 7.

Not related to the York game, but I forgot to share this earlier. There are two different segments that deal with Guelph — several  minutes of highlights and discussion of the Homecoming Game [10:00 min], plus a feature with HC Stu Lang [18:55].

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