And Then the Cheering Stopped

great introspective article by Steve Buist of The Spec:
(with interviews from beloved TiCats alumni Rob Hitchcock, Leo Ezerins, Paul Osbaldiston, Rocky Dipietro and Mike Morreale)

[b]And then the cheering stopped Beginnings turn fuzzy with time but few pro athletes can forget the moment the end arrived. Five former Ticats talk about the day everything changed. Spectator writer Steve Buist tells their stories and how they reached the end. In the end …

For every career, no matter how long or how stellar, there will be an end, and the ending is rarely the athlete's to choose.[/b]

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Just finished reading the article,it gave a real insight on what athletes go through at the end of their careers.
"Never retire on your own.Always let them take your shoes from you". - Ronnie Lancaster.

[i][b]"About three or four days later, the 'Cats broke training camp and returned to Ivor Wynne Stadium, and Morreale went to pick up his stuff while the team was preparing for practice.

“That was tough, going back and seeing someone else in my locker,? said Morreale.

He had already gone to teammate Auggie Barrenechea and asked him to take over his locker.

“If someone was going to take it, I wanted it to be someone I really respect and know that they understood what that meant to me,? said Morreale. “It may sound so silly now — it's just a locker — but it was my locker for a long time.

“It was all pats on the back and smiles and hugs and laughter, and you put on the brave face and then you put your stuff in the car and you take off and go ‘Oh my God.'?[/b][/i]

I remember that day like it was yesterday.
I was doing some last minute techie-type stuff in the locker room before the team arrived by bus from training camp for good.........then Mikey walked in before the team was to arrive looking absolutely shell-shocked, with a few green garbage bags in his hand......since it was only him and myself in there, and we had become pretty good friends, we sat down and talked about the situation. Not being an athlete myself, I just listened and tried to offer words of comfort......being in Locker #1 (a pecking order thingy), he was concerned who would inherit it and he even left his bathrobe for the next it turned out, Jessie Lumsden got it if memory serves (not Auggie) was the wierdest feeling helping him carry out his stuff to his car because he was a Hamilton legend in many ways......and those bags represented an end to that.......I was tempted to say, "just refuse to go !!"..........but I knew inside it didn't work that way...... sadly.

anyways, yeah, it was a strange and sad process to witness for a person not used to what these athletes go through in their career.

I should add that an hour after Mikey left to go home, the team arrived from McMaster training camp and poured into the locker room overjoyed at making the cut and, for many of the rookies, beginning the journey as Tiger-Cats......I was thinking, dudes! have no idea what just happened in here and how sad it was for a beloved veteran !........but, of course they didn't, and nor should they really. They earned their spot and were the new, fresh faces with their own dreams of success and glory.

The naive part of me thought of the cruel reality and the seemingly unjust stuff Mike just had to go through, but as I said, I'm really not in that world and it's easy to make uneducated judgements of coaches and management..... and why they do what they do.

Good news is that Mike is doing very well in his role as head on the CFL Player's Association.........and the world keeps on turning 8) .......

Both of your posts are very well written, deerhunter. They profoundly express my own thoughts.

If anyone on this site hasn't read the article, please do so. Its an eye opener.

That was excellent.

that was a real great article very well done. I myself to remeber that day when to of hamiltons finest were givin their walking papers and my first thoughts were what kind of classless organization has this become as the season went on and they honoured Hitch and Mike at half time of the Labour day game i had the chance to talk with Rob after and you could still hear and sense the hatred in his voice i asked if he missed the game he looked at the scoreboard and the cats were getting killed his simple reply was the game yes a game like this NO look at the score and they tell me im not good enough.
Rob was a real mans man he wore his heart on his sleeve for this team and ironically he was able to finish his carreer in the same house he only knew and i cheered for him all the way. Its to bad the cats of today dont take as much pride and care for this team the way he did.

Great Read, Great Article,

Thanks :thup:

Its to bad the cats of today dont take as much pride and care for this team the way he did.
I too was very critical the past few years, but, (and maybe this is age and experience talking), I've come to realize just how many things the organization has to deal with on a daily basis that we will never hear about......the stresses and demands are enormous in satisfying a whole myriad of people.....public, fans, suppliers, sponsors, regulations, players, media.........and the list goes on endlessly.......I truly believe they do their very best and [u]ALL[/u] have good hearts and want to do right by everyone.....not one of them goes home at night thinking [i]"how can I mess this franchise up[/i]"..........quite the opposite actually in my opinion.....

They should have interviewed Jesse Lumsden and what he went through it would have been interesting to see his point of view also.......? :o