Saturday, June 7, 2008

Blurry Memories of a Fabulous Finish!

Insert 'Glory Days', by Bruce Springsteen...

After relying on memory of this event for over 25 years, I've finally had the chance to view the long rumoured 8 mm film footage of the most exciting race of my life! A recent digital conversion of the 8 mm film footage is now available for sharing. What follows, is the story of the F.J. Brennan High School Open Boys 4 X 400 m relay team. The 'play by play' of the 1982 OFSAA Regional Track & Field Championship Race is punctuated by recently converted archival video.

1st leg: Brian Latouf takes provides a slight lead at the 400 metre mark, but remember, we had a 'three turn stagger' from lane 5. (0:00-0:52 seconds)

2nd leg: Todd Lucier sped through the first 100 m allowing him to cut unhindered to lane one at the 120 metre mark. He battled to hold off 2 athletes who would pass, even though they would be forced to do so on the outside of the far curve. (0:52-1:40)

3rd leg: Rodd Lucier had to follow the eventual provincial 400 m champion, and in the wake of superior athletes, broke the 50 second barrier for the only time in his life! Passing the baton to our anchor runner, I was just hoping for a top 5 finish which would qualify us for the provincial championship OFSAA meet. (1:40-2:10)

4th leg: Paul Boots made the key move of the race on the final curve. With Laurier running away, the 2nd and 3rd place teams fought for second. The second place team pushed wide on the curve, to keep the third place team at bay, allowing 'Booter' to nimbly pass both of them on the inside with under 100m to go. (Tragically, footage of this move is blocked by cheering fans!) With 25 metres to go, we were almost 10 metres behind; but with the Laurier anchor runner unable to see or hear anyone approaching, Paul's amazing lean took the team to the regional title only centimetres from the finish line. (2:10-2:50)

Don't miss the finish from 2:45 to the end!

To add context to the post-race celebration, you may be interested to know that our Open Girls 4 X 400m relay team, won the same event in the penultimate race of the meet! An audio reflection on this event, including a reflection on Big Brown's historic Triple Crown bid, is now available on the Teacher 2.0 Podcast.

Note: The most memorable event of my high school athletic career had to be when my team lost of the city basketball championship... on a 52 foot shot at the buzzer! But that's another story...


PJ said...


Nicely done. After all these years, not knowing if we really did win, we know the truth. It is great to have the footage on video. To add to the story. Our team did the same thing to the same team in the Ofsaa heats to get the last spot in the 4 by 4 final. Not as dramatic mind you, and with no footage. We ended 5th in the final due to a disqualification. Not even sure if I got the correct ribbon?

Thanks Rodd



Peter said...

I vivedly remember this group of athletes as one of the toughest minded group I have ever coached.
All four overachieved and ran to the competition. By that I mean when you came across a more talented group you were willing to compete an stay in the race as long as possible with the hope of a victory at the end. And is that not really the best life lesson?
Brian was probably the least naturally talented of that group but always gave his best and we were always in good position after the first leg.

The twins, Todd and Rodd were very good athletes with huge hearts and ultra competitive. Sometimes too competitive. I knew this not from just watching them run but playing baseball with them on Sunday mornings how they would go after a fly ball that everyone thought was a sure homerun but would end up in the glove of fully diviing laid out CF'er.

And Booter just refused to lose. That is why we made him anchor of the 4X100 and the 4X400. He had that something you can't teach. He was not the most talented but he always found a way to reach down and surprise everyone with some incredible finish.

It was these same qualities that has served you well in life.

And is that not the best life lesson of sports!!! Perservere!! Do your best!! And care about your team mates (families and co workers)!!

I am proud to have coached this great group of kids. God Bless!

Coach Cusumano

Rodd Lucier said...

Viewing this footage with Paul was the highlight of my week; and now Cusi has brought it to another level in sharing his memories of our team!

I think you've captured the magic of that track and field season as one of overachievement Pete. But I also remember running wicked 30-30's and 50 second runs that put is in position to achieve beyond expectations. Thanks not only for sharing your thoughts, but for teaching us some valuable life lessons along the way!

Duff said...

I had the good fortune of being on the infield for the race and can tell you that it was, and still is, the most exciting track race I have seen. Booter your move to the inside coming off the curve heading home was brilliant! Track at FJB was a ton of fun back in the early eighties - thank Cusy! Rodd well done putting this together.


P.S. the party afterwards at 884 Matthew Brady was pretty good too!

Peter said...

I assume Duff is Andrew. Another great kid that was real hard worker and team player.

Funny, I had to fill in a few weeks ago for the track coach at CCH as he had some family issues. My fellow teachers were teasing me saying "what do you know about track"? I can now prove that I once did coach it and with some success.

I have now coached basketball for the past 25 years. I still try to instill the work ethic and mental toughness in my current athletes that this group has exhibited so well.

One thing about teaching and coaching is that I don't get always get to see the finished product. It is heart warming to see how well you have all done for yourselves.

I truly am more proud of seeing one of my former players/students years later and having done well than anything we have accomplished on the court or track

However, everytime I see one of you guys a flood of great memories come rushing in. And all I can say is Thanks for the great memories!!!