By Thom Racine
The Lions Club held their 45th Sports Awards dinner on May 6 and for the athletes in attendance, a couple of messages set the tone for the evening and the future. Fitting, too, that there were a total of 45 awards handed out. As at most awards banquets, family was first and foremost on the minds of the athletes and that tone was set early by guest speaker Michael Woods. The University of Michigan track star, who has won five national championships and who has represented Canada at five international events, is ranked as one of the top 50 1,500-metre runners in the world. Woods emphasized the dream that athletes all share, however, drove home the point that life is full of obstacles and that in order to have a chance at success, keeping goals in perspective and being patient is key.
A couple of observations on the night would prove that Cornwall Sea Lions swimmers are getting top-notch coaching from Robert Eynon. The six award winners all praised Eynon for his drive during practices. After only five years in existence, the Falcons are ruling the roost; ten awards went to athletes from Holy Trinity.
There are always so many stories on these nights; however, two stood out that expose the possibilities. Cassie Seguin started stopping rubber when her dad felt she was old enough to shoot at. Like all girls, she dreams of playing for Canada’s Olympic team and if the commitment shown already in her young life is an indication, Cassie’s a lock. Cassie won the Joe Assaly Trophy as the area’s top junior athlete. Already a member of the Stormont Hall of Fame, at 21, she has represented Canada twice and this fall will attend Princeton University where her talents on the ice and in the classroom will serve the Tigers well. Cassie had tears in her eyes when the magnitude of the night hit her afterward. Her name will adorn the same trophy her father Steve won back in 1984. “I knew Dad had won it before, but to see our names together is special,” Cassie said.
Speaking of special, the winner of the Jacques Richard trophy was Boxer Tony Luis. Luis amateur record, while representing Ontario, was 75–29. Since turning pro he is 5–0. How fitting it was to learn that the diminutive athlete was awarded this honour. Tony is a champion and has persevered through some difficult times of late. Yet, his passion for the “sweet science” makes Tony one of those guys whom you cheer for even if you don’t follow his sport. Tony is a study in dedication. His drive comes from his father Jorge who would be one of the best or most fanatical hockey dads alive. Tony is first to point out that his father pushes and many times he thought of walking away, yet there was always something, and looking at Jorge’s eyes when Tony’s name was announced proved that the bond between father and son runs deep here. They have supported each other, been there for each other, and Tony’s Jacques Richard-winning acceptance speech showed the maturity of a kid with a goal, a kid with a passion, a young man who has the love and support of family who is enduring the tough lessons of life. Tony Luis a deserving winner if there ever was one.