Looking back at my time as a student at Queen’s University, my memories of playing football resonate with me the most. Playing as a linebacker for the Golden Gaels, I still remember the adrenaline rush that came with chasing opponents across the field and moving with a sense of urgency, while the crowd watched with anticipation. Such movements on the field required me to engage not only my body, but also my mind, teaching me the value of perseverance and determination in the face of daunting odds.
I think all athletics have the power to teach students great work ethic and discipline. Athletics teach you how to work together to achieve certain goals and to win. At the same time, you also master the art of accepting failure, ultimately learning to grow and evolve from it, both as an individual and as an athlete.
University life has its fair share of stresses and challenges. Physical activity enables you to unwind during these stressful times and helps create a balance in life, all the while improving your fitness and mental health. Team sports, in particular, create lifelong friendships that you might not have formed otherwise. The camaraderie and bond that is developed in the locker room offers a strong source of support during difficult times. And the support system stays with you long after you leave Queen’s and become alumni.
We, on the QUAA board, recognize the power of athletics and recreation in creating strong ties between students and alumni. Whenever we get together, we look forward to watching a game together to cheer on the Gaels. It is what connects the alumni family with students, creating a special bond among them. The live streaming of most football games through QTV and the creation of sports booster clubs have also enabled alumni to stay connected to athletics on campus, allowing the tricolour spirit to live on forever.
I hope to see this spirit rejuvenated this Homecoming when students and alumni will have the opportunity to come together in October, creating new memories and reliving old ones. Joining my extended Queen’s family in a packed stadium is always the highlight of Homecoming weekend for me. Even when I was a player on the field, I was always taken with our alumni’s enthusiasm. The powerful images of Richardson stadium erupting in an Oil Thigh when the Gaels scored a touchdown, and of being surrounded by jubilant alumni singing and dancing arm in arm, will forever be etched in my memory!
In this digital age, the importance of coming together to meet, talk, laugh and cry in person cannot be underestimated. We have the spirit, the culture and the special venues to do this. Sport is the catalyst but also the glue that binds us together. As the great Queen’s football coach Frank Tindall was known to say, “It’s hard to rally around the math class.”
George M. Jackson, Artsci'85
President, Queen's University Alumni Association