Say it ain’t so

By Andrew Ross

Before I start, I just want to make something clear. I don’t have anything against Dean Fisher, David Kooperberg, Brad Neve or Denis Zhukov. That said, I will make my point bluntly: the nomination process for Male Athlete of the Year is a travesty and a sham. How can it be otherwise, when one of the most deserving athletes on campus was not given so much as a nomination for the prestigious award?

Rick Say, a University of Calgary swimmer, is that most deserving athlete. He has been wronged; robbed; bamboozled.

Here we have a young man of few words. A young man who represented our nation at the Olympics. A young man who won race after race against the seemingly unbeatable team from University of British Columbia. A young man who won four medals at the CIAU championships this year. A young man who earned the "Best Male Swim of the Meet" award at those same CIAU championships. A team player, well-liked by his fellow swimmers. Yet a nomination for the Male Athlete of the Year award never came.

I must ask: what were they thinking? There is no excuse for this negligence. Say is eligible and qualified. There were only four nominees for Male Athlete of the Year, yet there were six for Female Athlete of the Year. So it wasn’t a case of more deserving athletes than nomination spots.

Could it be the committee is biased against swimming? Swimmer Kristy Cameron’s Rookie of the Year award makes that theory somewhat dubious. Perhaps they worried his acceptance speech, had he won, would have run along the lines of "This award is damn cool. That’s all I’m gonna say about that." Quite possibly. That concern is not unfounded, but that shouldn’t have precluded Say from a nomination.

Did they automatically discount him because the team came in second at CWs and CIs? This is certainly an unfair basis to reject him as a nominee. None of the respective teams of the other nominees won at CIs either.

If this university is not willing to recognize the achievements of all of its athletes–not just those who compete on dry land–then we cannot expect to attract great athletes in the future, and our rival schools will continue to recruit the best talent.

The last entry under "other odds" in the Night of the Dino predictions in last week’s Gauntlet was "our swimming writer goes on a rampage because swimmer Rick Say didn’t get nominated for anything, 1:1." Damn right (if you call this a rampage).