You may not have heard, but the past and the future have been butting heads – not unlike what Rams do in the animal kingdom – over the current state of the University of Regina Rams. Many alumni members of that fine organization – dating back to when the Rams ran roughshod over other junior football teams before graduating to university action in 1999 – are up in arms these days. They’re angry at the slights – real and perceived – they’re suffering from the current board and the people that run the athletics department at the University of Regina.
It all came to a head recently when long-time head coach Frank McCrystal and his top assistant Bernie Schmidt left – or were shown the door, depending on who you ask. As always, the truth likely lies somewhere in between. Well, that didn’t sit well with the old boys club. Frankly, if you’ll pardon the unintentional pun, they liked things the way they were…the Ram way.
Which, I’ll grant you, worked just fine when the team was the cream of the crop in junior football. But, answer me this – and be honest – how’s that been working out for the Rams lately? Aside from that one run to the Vanier Cup in 2000 – with a roster full of 25-something men – have the Rams been a legitimate championship contender since moving to university football? Really? Seriously?
No, they haven’t. It was time for a change. It was time for a new way of thinking, with a new way of doing things. I don’t know if new head coach Mike Gibson is the man to lead the Rams to the CIS Promised Land, but why not give the man a chance?
Could the transfer of power from McCrystal and Schmidt have been handled better by the University? Absolutely. Was it necessary? I think so. Remember: What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The Ram way was great, IN ITS DAY. But make no mistake, this is not your daddy’s junior football team anymore.
So, I’m sorry to those members of the alumni – many of whom I respect a great deal as football men, and as human beings – that are feeling slighted these days. I hope that the relationship can be repaired – and I acknowledge it’s going to take some time – for the benefit of both sides, and for the benefit of the rest of us who would love to have a top CIS football program to cheer for every fall. Maybe the new way is in fact the right way to update the Ram way. Whattya say we give it a chance?