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Wanderers Win A-Division Championship

November 22, 2012

Better late than never… here’s Adrian Thorogood’s write up of the Wanderers 2012 Championship victory.

(Editor’s note: Hashtags removed to improve general readability)
You would expect the Wanderers return to Ste. Julie for a Cup Final, for the first time since 2008, to inspire some furrowed brows and stern gazes. For returning players, the wait of four years, the weight of four years, was a reminder that life doesn’t always give you a second chance to close the books. You only live once, they say. “Yolo”.

But the Wanderers, in their infinite wisdom, also know that Yolo requires a higher standard than seriousness before a big game. Yolo is recognizing that you only get one chance to make fun of Adam Barrette and Stephan Chapheau for missing the big game. Yolo is recognizing that you only get one chance to watch rookie sensation Quentin Pradere listen to “I’m Not in Love” on his iPod while thinking about the One. Yolo means taking the Tunnel. Yolo means heckling Marty for not taking the Tunnel. Yolo means relentlessly yelling at everyone to shut-the-fuck-up-I-know-what-I’m-doing when they doubt your decision not to take the Tunnel. Indeed, the mood was jovial as the Yolo school bus transported the Wands across the turbulent gray surge of the St. Lawrence to the field of dreams.

That legendary Wanderers attitude, “Nimis obnoxii curare”, also permeated the pregame change room. Our indefatigable team of physios, Tif, Felix, and Chammas, reinforced the loose ligaments of Jon Crago’s ankles. Karl Cernovich, magically recovered from a severe groin pull and back in the line-up, gave some inspire words along the lines of ‘don’t be pussies’. Stu Young, magically recovered from fatherhood and marriage, also contributed his lovable brand of leadership. After years with the club, he knows how to gently channel the boisterous Wands energy. His leadership will not go unforgotten.

Even the warm-up is dramatic in a Cup Finals. Craig Beemer, irritated that Adam Barrette’s red card forced him to kit up and inhabit the Wanderers bench, attempted to get into the starting line-up the easy way – by brutally head butting a pillar of the Wanderers scrum, Lord John Walker. Fortunately, Jon Walker recovered for kickoff, and Craig was left with a tortuous gash on his forehead, earning him comparison with a certain boy wizard. Instead of high knees and butt kicks, the backs warmed up with PSY’s “Gangnam Style” choreography. It was time to dance.

The Wanderers came out strong. Fullback Quentin Pradere put in a try, and Matthew Barazin – on two phenomenal solo efforts – notched two of his own. No team deserves a center with such a relentless desire to score. Two conversions and a penalty kick from winger Gideon Balloch, flown in from New York to fill in the gaps left by our wingers who abandoned us for Concordia. This brought the total to 22 points. Flyhalf Adrian Thorogood, somewhat hesitant in contact after a recent knee surgery, rediscovered his alter-ego Ahmed Jalil Killah for the finals. His hits were so numerous and so skull-rattling that concern arose among female spectators that he had ingested bath salts. Wily veteran scrumhalf Stephen Choi, having spent many moons doing extra old-man sprint training, came ready for the dance. He came ever so close to scoring a classic Shake-and-Back try from nine before the ball was punched out of his hands. And the other noble Wanderers not yet mentioned in this article, were all pivotal in the Wanderers effort–Rob Anhert, Ted McGregor, Jon Crago, Kaneb Uphill, Devon Hyver, Josh Ballouche, Jon Dextras, and Adam Sommer.

Despite a comfortable Wanderers lead, the Irish clawed back into the game. They scored their fourth try late in the game. A certain dread set in; victory was slipping through our fingers. The score was even at 22-22, with mere seconds to go. Would the Wanderers be able to muster any points in overtime? The uncertainty was pure torture. The Praderator sent his kick off high into the air; a spark of desperation ignited the Wanderers. The Irish were awarded a scrum 15 yards out of their try zone. And that’s when Ahmed-Jalil decided it was time to block a kick. Having always been afraid of the ball, he had never blocked a kick before in his life. But this time he saw it happen before the scrum half even put the ball in the scrum. Three hard steps as the ball comes out. Wait for the flyhalf to wind up. A simple, controlled dive, with hand extended just in front of the 10’s unsuspected foot. The satisfying thwap of leather meeting palm.

Killah couldn’t believe it as he watched the ball bounded erratically into the Irish try zone. “Oh my god, someone touch down,” he groaned. And that’s when it happened. That’s when DiPo happened. With awkward strides and garish orange boots he charged down the ball, and the championship. Yellow and green stripes swirled around him. Never have some much horror and so much hope occupied the same moment.

The ball tumbled miraculously into Lawrence DiPilato open arms. He paused for a moment, overcome with that disbelief, almost as if he had just been surprise kissed by the One. He paused, unsure about what to do next. An eternity passed. He finally decided to fall down, and the game was won.

Matt Barazin got his MVP award. Bill Powney collected the trophy. Rob popped the Champagne.

What followed was a bus ride of such unhinged, drunken debauchery, that even Gideon Balloch woke up the next day not knowing who he was.

A perfect way to end the 2012 season!

Champions, EORU 7’s tournament
Champions, FRQ 7’s tournament
Season Champions, FRQ Division A
Cup Champions, FRQ Division A

We’ve secured promotion to the Super League for 2013, so don’t take this winter off. Stay fit, get stronger, and come back fried up.

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