Football: U of T's Bodanis a rookie to root for; Gaels' Chapdelaine earns Cote comparison

One enjoyable part of football is, perhaps more so than other sports, a latecomer can still have an impact. You likely know about Waterloo's Joel Reinders, a convert from basketball, earning a NFL shot with the Cleveland Browns after just one year of football, or former Calgary Dinos hoops star Henry Bekkering being a CFL draft choice after he was all but done with the gridiron.

U of T defensive end James Bodanis got started late in competitive sports, period, for a very good reason, as the Toronto Star detailed Tuesday.
"Forget making an impression as a raw rookie defensive end at the University of Toronto. Bodanis has already had a lifetime of impact through his devotion to his autistic brother Jake.

" ... From the time he was 4 years old, James has pitched in to help with his brother. He was 14 before he asked his parents if he could play competitive sports with his friends, though he never let it interfere with helping Jake.

" 'He’s my brother and I’d do anything for him — even if that means quitting sports,' said James."

Bodanis, who is 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, actually played in only one high school game before playing in a summer league this year to get up to speed. There's a guy to root for, to say the least.

A couple other OUA football links from today: The Star ran its capsules on all 10 OUA programs. There is also a positive report from the Kingston Whig-Standard on Queen's new starting QB, sophomore Justin Chapdelaine, which mentions that he has changed his "shot-put-like" throwing motion.

And was that Pat Sheahan likening Chapdelaine to another francophone dual-threat QB who played at an Eastern Ontario school, late-'90s Ottawa legend Phill Cote? Yes, yes it was. That's some high praise.

If you never saw Cote play, he was like a CIS version of Doug Flutie -- this sawed-off scrambling improviser who seemed to turn a highly technical game into a rough-touch game at recess.
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


  1. I read the OUA football preview page in the star today and was amused to see that the bully of GTA high school, Mr. Grossman also peddles the myth that there was great outrage at Carleton when football was dropped.

    Outside of the team, the football alumni and the girlfriends of the players, reaction ranged from total indifference to joy that this embarrassment of a program was dropped and the money funneled into building better athletic facilities and expanding the number of other varsity sports.

    A decade+ later, after a new gym, improved recreational facilities, new arena complex, a field house, a bunch of national titles in basketball and cross country skiing, numerous OUA titles in water polo and soccer, and new hockey programs, the students and alumni of Carleton are pretty darn happy with the decision.

    But of course the old boys who think that high school and university sports start and end with football wouldn't dare to open their minds and consider the possibility that some schools function just fine without a money-draining albatross.

  2. So I guess it's why the new university president wants to bring back Carleton's football program?!?...

  3. John,

    Good points.

    However, please remember Carleton is firm in saying football only comes back if there's a sustainable financial model.

    A lot has changed since 1999, especially the popularity of football in Eastern Ontario. Both universities in the region (Queen's and Ottawa) with teams also recruit outside (Queen's recruits in southern Ontario, Ottawa from Quebec and New Brunswick, and southern Ontario). There's an opportunity to make it work.

  4. Sylven, the university is is supporting the recent bid because the Lanndsdowne group came to him and said they wanted to fund the start up of the new team and pay a significant portion of the operating costs, as well as provide a redeveloped stadium in which to play. Of course the school will accept this quasi-Laval type of deal if it means relatively cheap publicity and school recruiting.

    That doesn't change the fact that the old model did not work for Carleton. It was a massive drain on the athletic department, both in terms of infrastructure and operating costs, with very little return. It also served to drag down the other varsity programs and leave a bunch of club programs looking to attain varsity status in the lurch. The program was a joke among the CIS and most of the Carleton student body.

    Any attempts by Grossman and others in the mainstream media to mythologize what happened in 1999 rings hollow.

  5. Cool.

    One source's memory of Carleton discontinuing football in '99 probably isn't too much to lose sleep over.

    I recall watching and reading the media coverage, as a Queen's student, and feeling for the Carleton players and alumni, but thinking, "Drew Love got this right." There was no logical counter-argument, really.

    Now CIS football is a lot better than it was in 1999 ... and you have to credit Carleton for being open to the idea. Most schools that drop football have a never-again attitude.

  6. The Senate at Carleton voted to bring football back only if there was a start up fund of $5 million dollars and a plan to keep the program self supporting.

    The start of fund was immediately infused with about $2.5 million. It is thought that $1.5 to $ 2 million came from John Ruddy. Ex-Raven and Lansdowne Live partner. The rest probably came from pledges from the Old Crow society and its members.

    Unfortunately, there has been no news of any other individual or organization coming forth with more money. Carleton will not apply for OUA football admission until it has that $5 million in the bank. OUA rules have it that there is a two year waiting period from the time the application is approved and the team starts participation in the regular OUA play.

    Doing the math, the window for getting a team into play in 2012, as originally reported as the target,has been missed. 2013 is the earliest now and only if the Carleton Senate's two conditions are met within the next few months.

  7. Thanks. I was planning on attending CU's hoops game on Saturday vs. Maine, so hopefully Ms. Brenning will be there.

    I always figured Carleton football, if it was coming back, would do so in 2013, same time the CFL supposedly comes back to Ottawa.

  8. Neate, I realize I am worrying about this to much which is a result of a couple of things:

    It's at least the 7th time I've read something in a major media source akin to what Grossman wrote so I guess the annoyance factor increases each time.

    Also, as someone who used to coach high school sports in Toronto, my annoyance with the passive-aggressive bully of the high school sports scene grows with each manufactured controversy or whiny lecture of teacher-coaches.

    Sometimes the annoyance spills over into unrelated articles but I have come by it honestly.