Thursday, June 27, 2019

Camosun Chargers celebrates two decades with gala, alumni games

October 2, 2013 by Jason Schreurs, managing editor

On Saturday, September 28, the Camosun Chargers had a reunion-like party to celebrate 20 years of the college’s sports teams. Not only did the college’s athletics department unveil their new logo and mascot, but there were also alumni games and a social gathering, all of which meant a great deal to Camosun recreation and athletic coordinator Graham Matthews, who has been working at the college for the whole 20-year span that the Chargers have been around for.

“How to describe it in words? You’ve got me stumped here,” says Matthews. “It was exciting because these people have come through the programs and some have gone onto careers in athletics. To see how our program has helped them to move on to different parts of their lives made for heartfelt moments. It was very exciting.”

Matthews says that seeing everyone together again was like a big reunion that went beyond a shared love of sport.

“It was like one big team that hadn’t seen each other for quite a while, and it was a chance for them to get together and mingle and chat and share pictures of their experiences or their families,” he says.

Ladies and gentlemen… the new Chargers mascot (photo by Camosun College AV Services).

One of the alumni that showed up was Greg Wallis, who played with the Chargers’ mens basketball team from 2004-2006. Wallace says the alumni games were a lot of fun, even if some of the ex-players weren’t able to keep up with the current Camosun athletes.

“The game was a lot of fun and a great chance to see what this year’s team was like and to get to play alongside guys I hadn’t seen for awhile,” says Wallis. “Fitness was a bit of an issue for some of us; after the first quarter things kind of went downhill from there.”

All joking aside, Wallis says that the event was a great opportunity to play catch-up with some old faces.

“It was fantastic to get to see a lot of people I used to play with and I thought everything went very well,” he says.

Chargers women’s basketball coach Brett Wescott says that the event also served a practical function: some much-needed practice for his team before the exhibition season starts on the October 5 weekend.

“We played well for the first 25 minutes, but we did not show up for the last 15 minutes as we almost gave away a huge lead. We just have to put together a more consistent effort and get better at executing our systems of play to be more successful,” says Wescott.

Chargers men’s basketball coach Scot Cuachon views the alumni games as a good time and nothing more, and says coaching against the alumni team was an interesting experience.

“Well, there was cautious optimism,” jokes Cuachon. “I don’t think we did anything we were supposed to do, but that’s okay.”

One of the most successful coaches in Chargers men’s basketball history, Gord Thatcher, coached the alumni team.

“Gord has been an idol of mine through the years, and I’m glad he didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, let’s put it that way,” chuckles Cuachon.

Matthews says that despite years–decades, even–passing since last seeing some of the faces, he didn’t have a hard time recognizing the people who showed up. Once a Charger, always a Charger.

“I recognized most of them,” he says. “Some looked a little older, but they still had the same youth and vibrancy.”

Another Chargers event on the same weekend, the inaugural Chargers Athletic Scholarship and Hall of Fame Dinner, raised over $20,000 through auctions for student-athlete scholarships.

The inductees to the Chargers Hall of Fame were former Camosun president Liz Ashton, former Chargers men’s volleyball head coach Linda Henderson and Chargers alumni Wallis (men’s basketball) and Martin Reader (men’s volleyball).

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