Volume 29 - Number 16 - Thursday, May 8, 1997

Water, water everywhere

It was wet and chilly last Saturday--so cold, in fact that Michelle Pampin couldn't straighten her fingers as she coxed for four McGill rowing teammates taking on a team from Queen's University.

Even the driving rain didn't put a damper on the first annual McGill-Queen's challenge held at the Olympic Basin on Ile Ste-Hélène. Forty-eight rowers took part in the event, successfully establishing a new sporting tradition for the two schools, and drawing a surprisingly large crowd of McGill rowing alumni--including Senator Alan Macnaughton, a former speaker of the House of Commons.

Modeled after the famous Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, the event borrows from the intense football rivalry between McGill and Queen's. According to Pampin, McGill and Queen's have two of the top university rowing teams in Canada.

The clubs competed for the Lorne Gales Challenge Cup--named for the former executive director of the Graduates' Society, a top-ranked rower in his day. Gales helped reestablish McGill's rowing tradition in the 1970s and would have been pleased with Saturday's results. McGill won every race but one and kept the Gales Cup at home.

Pampin, a past president of the McGill Rowing Club and a graduating student in industrial sociology and economics, expressed pride in all the competitors. "Senator Macnaughton put it best--it was not that McGill won, but that as athletes we chose to compete despite the conditions."

Above, McGill rowers Asiedua Asante and Andrea Bernston congratulate each other after their boat won the women's eight race.

Return to glory

Martlet basketball star Vicky Tessier sewed up most of the awards for outstanding play in her league and set all kinds of McGill records this year. Seems she's got an equally talented counterpart in the Maritimes. Patti Hutchinson, a point guard with the Dalhousie Tigers, broke three records in the Atlantic conference this season and achieved a remarkable 12 steals in a single game.

Obviously both are gifted and determined athletes, but there is a big difference between them. Hutchinson is old enough to be the mother of most of her teammates.

At 38, she returned to Dalhousie to pursue a diploma in public administration and to take up where she left off as an undergraduate almost 20 years ago--playing star defence for the Tigers. It wasn't a question of brushing up on lost skills--Hutchinson has continued to play in a recreational league in Halifax--and maturity brings something to her game. "I'm playing smarter and working harder," she says in an interview in the Dalhousie News.

Although admired and accepted immediately by her younger teammates, Hutchinson's presence on the Tigers wasn't entirely welcome. "I had comments from parents saying, 'Who do you think you are?' and saying that I had taken a spot from someone else. That bothered me at first."

Hutchinson is also a parent--of a 10-year-old budding basketball phenom. And if daughter Wendy achieves her ambition, in just a few more years she'll be a Tiger, too.

Source: Mark Reynolds, Dalhousie News

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