"It's not a game, it's an event." Coach Jim Errington almost couldn't stress enough the capacity and sheer greatness of the sport that is football. "It's huge."
On Jan. 16, the Howe Sound Sounders football club held its annual team awards ceremony. The evening was reserved for thanks, reflections, some easy mingling and, of course, recognition of players who performed admirably.
Coach Rob Ryan kicked off the evening with a speech complimenting the team and reminiscing on his time with them.
"The work ethic was unbelievable," said Ryan to the players sitting wide-eyed in front of him. "You represented this team and its school very well."
The speeches that followed continued in a similar fashion. Vincent Fecteau described his experience coaching the Sounders as "rewarding," and emphasized, "I enjoyed every minute of it."
Errington closed the speeches by giving a shout out to the Howe Sound cheer team, who made their debut this season and he stressed the importance of everyone who contributed throughout the season.
"Everybody here contributed something," he said. "You're a part of this forever."
The evening then proceeded with the giving and receiving of awards. Each player on the team was presented with a medal for their participation.
"Football is a team sport," reminded Fecteau. Even so, the players who rose above were awarded accordingly.
The first award presented was "Most Improved," received by Grade 11 student, Dean Van Tassel. Awards for "Defensive Player," "Offensive Player," and "Lineman" of the year were also given out, received by Justin Genovese, Rolan Mendoza, and Adam Stangowitz, respectively.
"It wasn't easy for us to choose," was a phrase that seemed to come up a lot in the presentation of awards. But, by the end of the night it was clear that there was one player who stood out from the rest. Recipient of three awards, Josh Watts proved to be the heart of the game last season.
Prided for his displays of enthusiasm, discipline, and sheer love for the game Watts was awarded "Most Valuable Player," "The Golden Helmet," for the personification of a warrior, and the "Dwayne Constantin Award."
Watts becomes the first player to win the Constanin award, a new honour to recognize the Squamish-based logger and big-time supporter of local football, who died in a workplace accident in October 2012. It will now be awarded annually to the player who is judged to be the heart and soul of the team.
"It makes me feel like I'm part of something bigger," said Watts after winning the awards. "It's not just a sport, it's a way of life."
Howe Sound finished with a record of three and three in Tier 2 regular season action in 2012 and then was eliminated in the playoffs by the Frank Hurt Hornets back in November.