A gateway to a debate...

A man asks to be challenged, the least one can do is alert people. It's called stirring the pot.

London, Ont., sports talk radio host Norman James evidently heard about it when he called Western "Canada's greatest sports university" and he would like to engage people about it on his show on AM980:
"... am I being over the top in suggesting Western is Canada's supreme sports university? I'd like to get into that too if we have time. From top to bottom, I challenge anyone to find a stronger school than Western in all 38 major sports contested at the university level in Canada. I think I'm right on the money when I say UWO leads the pack, in the OUA, and the CIS. Some of our friends, particularly out of market, think I'm an idiot. And that's okay. They're wrong, but again, its all okay. As long as they continue to listen to 'The Hook'."
The Hook airs each Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern ... 6 p.m. Mountain. It is not clear why the time would be given that way.

For starters, saying there are "38 major sports contested at the university level in Canada" is kind of debatable. Each school has some minor sports it offers and some it does not. Having a kick-ass curling or competitive cheerleading team does not elevate one institution over another.

It is kind of a nonsensical debate. (Is that not just like a Queen's grad to use a four-syllable word to justify why he is turtling?)
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  1. It would be worthwhile were every school to compete in every sport, because they don't however it doesn't make that much sense. Some schools have fewer programs and yet do quite well with what they do participate in.

    I know Western isn't the best in every sport they play so no idea where this guy is coming from. But I mean that blind arrogance is what the Mustangs are known for so I guess it's forgivable in a way, it's just Western.

  2. cough*ALBERTA*cough.

    Argument will be made on request.

  3. The use of the word Gateway might have been deliberate.

  4. I'll admit that James is a tool but he's right about the sporting and athletic culture at Western. UWO captures the qualities of the big-time US college atmosphere and no other school in the country can do that across the board. Sure, Queens' homecoming is special and the Final 8 in Ottawa is truly a spectacle but those are one-time events. At Western there is a constant growl from the athletic department that captures the attention of the community, both on and off campus. However, with that said, there is still room for improvement at Western. The exploits of many of the lesser known sporting programs have a lot of room for increased attendance. That fact does not mean that those sports live without attention but it illustrates the fact that more is expected of them and their fan base, simply because they are Western. Let's face it; no school gets the home fans out like a visit from Big Purple. That alone speaks to the place that Western Athletics holds in this country. Then again, perhaps the resentment of the Purple Pony makes this too difficult a fact to face, even for a learned man of Queens.

    In any event,
    Go Stangs Go

  5. It's unclear where you would get "resentment of the Purple Pony" from. I have my rooting interests, but that does not bleed into the coverage on this site. That can be verified by number of posts pertaining to the 'Stangs.

    Although ... if the Mustangs "capture te attention of the (London) community," then why did the Free Press run an article last fall about a poor turnout for the football playoff games? That is a legitimate question.

    Geez, a month ago I had a Carleton bias, now it is a "Queens" bias. If you are accusing me of being in the tank for my old school, at least spell Queen's correctly, please.

  6. sager makes a great point! For such a high ticket item like Football, that supposedly means a lot at UWO, they only seem to draw during the Frosh Game and Homecoming and that's it! From the relative no-show at the Yates Cup in '05 to very poor showings at both the Yates and Mitchell last season - and then even a less than favourable turnout at the Vanier (WLU brought more fans to the same venue in '05) - I'd say that the community is more interested in themselves than their Mustangs.

    I'm not saying this isn't a concern at other universities as well but there are schools who will support their team better when they are successful, better than Western anyhow. And there are a number of other schools that have a better travelling fanbase than Western as well, at least in terms of football.

    James et al can make any claim they want about some fantastic sporting environment where athletes flourish but personally I'm not seeing it lately, from what I've noticed.

  7. And yes I agree that Alberta would be one of those schools that would certainly want to discuss this a bit more as well, that was actually the first school I thought of when I read over this article. There's a few schools around the CIS that have a right to have an issues with this statement.

  8. Thanks, Mike ... Admittedly, saying "James is spoiling for an argument but personally, it's kind of pointless" is disingenuous. It is also valid. Do Alberta and Western each have teams in all 38 of those sports (and last anyone checked, Canadian Interuniversity Sport only sponsored 19 championships ... that's counting cross-country, swimming, wrestling and indoor track twice each since there is a female and a male category)?

    Besides, people will inevitably cherry-pick which sports are and are not important. What would James say if it was pointed out to him that Alberta has six national titles in women's hockey and that Western's team typically is below .500 in the OUA? (Don't say the players aren't out there in SW Ontario, since Laurier has a stacked team.)

  9. Sager is right.
    The only way to truly evaluate this is on the basis of the sports that are played for at a CIS Championship level.
    Over the last decade or so Alberta and UBC have claimed roughly 1/3 of all CIS Championships.
    Most seasons when I was still at Alberta the school had a combined .700 winning percentage in CW play, and that included a season in which CW schools won all 10 CIS women's titles.

    Western had a really good year last season in Men's football, hockey and basketball...but didn't win any of the big three.
    In hockey they earned a Silver at Nationals despite losing two games at the tournament...something which has not happened since the six-team format was introduced back in 1998.
    The West dominates volleyball so Western's numbers are skewered because they put up results in a poor Conference...while Alberta has won multiple championships in both Men's and Women's v-ball in what has clearly been the toughest Conference in the country for the last couple of decades.
    Ditto for Women's hoops where CW teams have won forever. Western had an okay OUA record...but the OUA gets exposed at Nationals every year.
    Women's hockey...not even close!
    Pandas have won 6 titles last 10 years and were 22-2 last season, but ran into a wall in CW final with only one berth for Nationals on the line. That same wall took eventual Champion McGill to OT at Nationals too.
    In Men's Soccer, Alberta has won two of the last six titles, Western none during that time; and Alberta has claimed three CIS Women's titles and Western has none...

    Bob Stauffer
    Alberta SID 2000-2008

  10. I'll show you my "Purple Pony"!

  11. "It's big, it's yellow ..."