LANGLEY — Plans for the resumption of the best football rivalry game in the province of B.C. were not actively underway when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March.
Put it all together, and the fall of 2020 marks the 10th straight season that the Shrum Bowl, that formerly annual crosstown clash between Simon Fraser and UBC, will not be played.
To bring perspective to the importance of the game in our provincial football community, Varsity Letters will present a two-part podcast set to run this coming Monday and Wednesday featuring a pair of players who took part in the 2010 Shrum Bowl.
UBC Thunderbirds’ quarterback Billy Greene, the Holy Cross product who in 2011 was honoured as the Hec Crighton award winner as the top player in Canadian University football, kicks things off Monday.
He will be followed on Wednesday by Simon Fraser running back Bo Palmer, the graduate of North Vancouver’s Windsor Secondary, who left the SFU program in 2012 as it’s all-time NCAA-era rushing leader.
Both not only hoisted the spoils of Subway Bowl B.C. championship wins, both also enjoyed spectacular careers with their respective university teams.
To tease the series which is set to begin Monday, here’s Greene, in an excerpt from his podcast interview, talking about the influence UBC’s first two Hec Crighton award winners — quarterback Jordan Gagner and running back Mark Nohra — had on his desire to keep getting better:
“I remember seeing film of Jordan and thinking ‘I am never going to be that good’, and I remember Mark Nohra, he was one of our coaches when I was at UBC. Hearing all about the amount of work they put in? You’re just like ‘I want to be mentioned with those guys’ so you learn to put in the work. The night I was recognized, it was great because it was in Vancouver, my family was with me, and it’s a moment that can never be taken away from me. It was the cherry on top, but I would trade it for the Vanier Cup. Anyone who says they wouldn’t trade an individual award for a team championship is lying.”
Palmer, whose podcast airs Wednesday, helped launch SFU’s NCAA football journey, and under head coach Dave Johnson, played the final game of his Clan career in 2012 with a chance to put Simon Fraser above the .500 mark on the season.
Palmer stressed how hopeful he was that the current SFU team was on the right path back to becoming a force within the conference.
“Once we made it into the NCAA (2010), that first year we got blown out in a couple of games but we were still in it to a respectable extent,” Palmer said during his podcast appearance. “Then in 2011 and 2012, we started building a lot of success. By my senior year we finished 5-6 and we lost two games by a combined seven points, so we could have very easily have been a plus-.500 team. There was a lot of positive momentum over my final three years, and by my senior year, we were ranked No. 14 in terms of offensive production, and that was out of almost 200 (NCAA D-2) schools. We were really moving forward in a positive manner.”
The passion both players bring to their football lives in B.C. is unmistakable, and both agree that bringing back the Shrum Bowl as our showcase game in the better days to come will be a way of celebrating our vibrant football community.
Look for the podcasts both Monday and Wednesday, right here at VarsityLetters.ca, or wherever you listen to podcasts, whether that be Spotify, Apple Music or other locations.
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