Despite my most sincere efforts, I've yet to be murdered, arrested, or cancelled in pursuits of journalistic excellent (yet). A physical and philosophical nomad in some bizarre eligibility purgatory (how old is too old?), I am destined to return for at least one more year with unfinished business. Despite a lengthy and continued séjour in la belle province™, I've still not yet grasped what exactly a "carabin" is. Does this perhaps point to some greater identity confusion - a quasi-fictional being who is fundamentally a thing that it does not itself understand?
Probably, but who cares.You, dear reader certainly do not. You're here to see if I bothered to objectify you or your friends, not the existential crises which are central to this appraisal. So pitter patter, let's get at 'er.
Spectator of the YearSpeaking of ghosts from the past, our 2019 Spectator of the Year is no stranger to this award. He's gone to great lengths (of hair and in air travel), and great sacrifices (face paint permeating skin and orifices, probable frostbite to sensitive appendages) to wave the tricolour every damn year in recent memory except for Victoria 2017 (understandably).
And yet, time is a circle, and sometimes you end up back in the place you started many years ago: sitting on a fratty couch in the midst of what undoubtedly constitutes several major fire code violations. Except in 2019 your living room belongs to a new crop of harriers.
Congrats to Jeff Mountjoy, long may he (and the Aberdeen) run.
|"Hydration" is a key performance determinant. (photo: Kevin Mackinnon/Canadian Running Magazine).|
Bowling for Soup AwardI received no less than three independent, heartfelt apologies/pleas from the men of UofT in regard to their Fashion Crimes of 2018. But as the excellently-coiffed yet mediocre XC talent Jon Snow once so aptly put it, "It's not my place to forgive you for all of it. But what I can forgive, I do."
There was little in terms of lamentable aesthetics this year, and so I'm going to call upon someone who unlike UofT did not learn from their past mistakes. Last year, I offered up very valuable ex-emo kid hair dyeing tips to JS Desgagnés of Laval. I'm not entirely certain he followed it, though it did look a little better than last year's pink. And so the Queen is going Bowling for Soup, whatever that means.
|Bleach first! (photo: Kevin Mackinnon/Canadian Running Magazine)|
Rookie of the YearThis category has tested my research skills significantly in the past, making it practically a participation award (hate very much). For the first time in a while... perhaps dare I say it... since the first M&M/Nickelback reference in 2011 the actual Rookie of the Year gets to win this award. Congrats to Marcel Scheele of Western for running fast with a furry face.
|Still looking at this photograph? (photo: Western Mustangs XC & TF)|
Most ImprovedIt is said that some people improve with age like a fine wine, but I must admit that the concept's not really there for me given my status as an iconically washed up boxed wine enthusiast. Nevertheless, that's not stopping me from appraising the facial hair antithesis to the September Hero.
Speaking of heroes, I hear that one of my nominees is big fan of Nickelback references. If you ask me that seems pretty derivative, but I also heard that his biggest internet aspiration is to be immortalized on this here thing. That's a weird dream, and I couldn't be more about it. Congrats to Evan Ubene of McMaster, for the mathematical proof that 2 < 35. Just don't end up like me, I'm a little worried at the example I've set for the youth (getting ready for parties in public bathrooms).
|"and they say that a hero can save us." (photo: McMaster Marauders XC & Track)|
Beardo AwardBeards man, it was the thing this year. Some of these were pretty good, but beards are too socially acceptable to really win big hardware with me. Get weird or go home.
Honourable mention goes to Nathan Dehghan of Queen's, for a meticulously maintained offering. Not quite scary enough for the W.
|"'cause I'd rather feel pain than nothing at all" ??? (photo: Maxine Gravina)|
Guelph packed a 1-2 punch with Gavin Hughes (right) and Josh Kellier (left). These two boys were so in tune that they nearly ran the whole dang race together (sew cayuuuute). I'll toss the slight edge to Hughes, since I am speedgoggles after all.
|#StickingTogether is still a thing or nah? (photo: Guelph Gryphons Track & Field)|
Flowtastic AwardI got a secret for y'all, and it is this: running with your hair down is much less disruptive than one might assume, and feels every bit as majestic as it looks. At least one man in the field was in on this secret, and his name was Hudson Grimshaw-Surrette of Dalhousie. My photo hunt also indicated that he does a mean braid.
|A man with many hair looks. (photo: Dalhousie Tigers XC)|
Community Service AwardAs is probably quite obvious, a lot of the decisions I make are entirely predicated around doing weird shit purely as an experiment to find out what happens next. The winners of this award are my spiritual brethren - doing something whack with their appearance for teh lulz. Maybe it's about demonstrating respect for the sport (by rejecting conventionally attractive looks), maybe it's about solidarity with one's teammates, or maybe it's even about ending on here.
Either way, #LookGoodFeelGood.
This years winners are a duo from Windsor, sporting a fine pair of mullets. Business in the front, party in the back. Congrats to co-winners, Brendan Simone (left) and Josh Zilles (right).
|ru guys like models or something? (photo: Meg Gregoire)|
Team TitleThis one was a pretty close call for me. As in the reals, a closely contended race on the team front. I had to bust out the photographic evidence to be certain. I did a recount (jk I can't count). There was a tie-breaker. In my books, that's the quality of the 6/7 guy, however. And so, after many years atop the M&M podium, I must regretfully say that the Calgary Dinosaurs (fossils? too much?) were only good for 3rd. Pennock, Travaglini, and Daniel were good, but the rest of the team came up a little short.
|Taio Cruz's Dynamite is an all-time great pop song tho. (photo: USports Canada)|
|Close, but no cigar (photo: USports Canada)|
Up in the number one spot we have Windsor, bolstered primarily by a strong contingent of mullets (<3). Unlike the other teams, there was 100% buy-in on foolishness: Martin, Zilles, D'Alessandro, Simone, Cauchi, Rioux, Heykink, they all had it going on. And that folks, is how you win.
|Put ur hands up 4 |
Individual TitleNow for the real deal awards. Unfortunately, the athlete I very much wanted to the third place award to (unknown Manitoba runner) was elusive enough to lack a confirmed mustache presence on any social media, university publication, the dark web, etc. and also avoided all race photos. Tragic.
In his stead, I present Royden Radowits of Alberta, whose mustache was pretty dece, but more importantly, photographically available.
|Front of pack=photos=awards (photo: Kevin Mackinnon/Canadian Running Magazine)|
As alluded to earlier in this piece, there has been much hubris about the presence of over-aged athletes in the university ranks. Detractors claim that the more mature students usurp the glory that should rightfully belong to students following a more traditional scholastic path, and worry that recruiters may be incentivized to give all their roster spots to such students.
I for one, am a bit dismayed about the possibility of stacking teams with men old enough to have proper facial hair. I can't believe that no one has brought up this very grave concern. Imagine! But I am not concerned enough to slash Matt Travaglini of Calgary from the podium. Much too good.
|Way she goes boys. (photo: McMaster Marauders XC & Track)|
|New Brunswick, an underrated province. (photo: UNB Varsity Reds)|
Well folks, midnight has come and gone, and for better or worse it's time to crank this thing out. Grievances, praise, and Ig Nobel Prizes in journalism are accepted as always through improper channels.