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Sabres 1986 Football

Wetaskiwin High School 2006 Sabres Football Team


Acceptance Speech  by Kolton Kasur and delivered by Kolton Kasur,  Taylor Ostapowich, Charles Bouchard and Jay Johnson.

We are all Honored to be presented this award tonight and we would like to congratulate all the others who were nominated for their achievements. The 2006 football season was one that we are certain none of us will ever forget.

The introduction of minor football to the Wetaskiwin area was truly the catalyst responsible for the success of this group. By the time the 2006 season came around, many of the senior players on the team had already played together for up to seven seasons of football. This allowed the players the opportunity to grow into, and develop skills for the positions they were best suited for. It also allowed us to learn to trust in each other and the ability to focus on our own positions.

Another building block which helped lead to the success of the team were the consequential losses we faced together over the years. These included the league final loss in Bantam, The B side final loss in 2004, and most significantly and impactful, the league final and Provincial semi final losses in 2005. These losses put us back in our place and taught us what would truly be required of us to become a championship team.

In 2006 the theme 'Unfinished Business' was coined. Individual accountability transitioned from the coaches to the players. As a team we began to hold each other responsible for missed practices, film review, and dropped plays. Our desire for success grew and we became more critical of ourselves as we did not want to let each other down. We grew closer both on and off the field. As a member of the team you were no longer just a player, you were a member of a community, a family.

We weren’t just given teammates; we were graced with brothers. One kid’s mom and dad became everyone’s mom and dad. Unfortunately for them that sometimes meant making breakfasts, lunches, or dinners for a lot more kids then they probably should have had to.

We had many other mentors as well, these include:

  • Staff members who had numerous early mornings and late nights taking care of the field, managing equipment, cutting oranges, making warm punch, and making sure we had the best medical attention possible… Poor Char taping ankle, after ankle, after ankle, after ankle and not once complaining.

  • Fans that showed up to cheer no matter how wet, snowy or cold the weather was,

  • Parents who dedicated countless hours on the sidelines and off the field, taking pictures and game film, volunteering, fundraising, and organizing to make sure we got where we needed to be when we needed to be there.

  • Coaches- and this includes all the coaches involved leading up to the 2006 season as well. Coaches that never got down on players and trusted us enough to make game time decisions if we didn’t agree with the coaches calls. Coaches that always pushed us for improvement and to be our best on and off the field.

All these mentors taught us to be critical of our actions, how to receive and deliver constructive criticism, how to hold ourselves responsible, how to carry ourselves both in and out of the uniform, and how to be proud of our accomplishments.

These people took a field full of boys and put them on their way to becoming men. On their way to being role-models and mentors for others to look up to, and as a result many members of the team have taken the opportunity to give back by taking coaching positions of their own so that others could have the same experience they had.

This team, this community, this experience… gave us friends and brothers for life, we became family. We can go without seeing each other for years and when we get together we can pick up right where we left off. Unfortunately, we have lost some brothers along the way: Adam Bogarts, Ruan Vandenburg, and Andrew Triffo. Adam came into the close knit team and fit in as if he had been there through the whole journey; Triffo will be remembered for his infectious attitude, sense of humour and his drive and determination on the field; and Ruan for his gentleness, his never ending support, and his contagious laugh.

Being a part of this team was something none of us will ever forget, and while the players and the coaches are the ones getting the glory tonight. This truly is an award for the community, for without everyone involved none of it would have been possible, and for that opportunity we thank-you.

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