At long last - dad gets the call

Seaway News - - SPORTS - Thom Racine Sports

Al­low me to be self serv­ing and chalk it up to be­ing proud to write about a very tough sub­ject, but when no one and I mean no one, that I have ever asked or spo­ken to on this sub­ject, could give me one rea­son why Moe Racine should not be a mem­ber of the Cana­dian Foot­ball Hall of Fame, it is pretty easy to write about it, es­pe­cially this week.

For the past year, I have been writ­ing my fa­ther’s mem­oir, I had to write his story, for years peo­ple have asked me two ques­tions about my Dad. How does one fin­ish high school foot­ball in 1957 and walk onto a pro foot­ball team a year later. Peo­ple want to know about his life and a ca­reer span­ning three decades in the trenches with the Ottawa Rough Rid­ers. Up un­til last Fri­day, there was one glar­ing void in Dad’s ca­reer. The an­swer to the sec­ond most asked ques­tion - Why is Moe Racine not in the Hall of Fame?

That all changed last month, when the pow­ers that be at the Cana­dian Foot­ball Hall of Fame, fi­nally voted to in­duct Corn­wall’s Moe Racine to the Hall.

On Oc­to­ber 31st 2013, CFL Com­mis­sioner Mark Co­hon called my par­ent’s house.

“I had been in Ottawa for the day and when I re­turned, Donna gave me the mes­sage, I called Mark and he sim­ply said. ‘Moe - it is my great duty as the com­mis­sioner, to wel­come you to the Hall of Fame.’ “

Dad was stunned, a lit­tle shocked, it was a call, that, had he been wait­ing for it, he had stopped wait­ing for, a very long time ago.

When I fin­ished last week’s col­umn, about at­tend­ing the Cham­pi­onship High School Foot­ball game at La Ci­tadelle, at the end of the ar­ti­cle, I hinted... what could be next? As in, what new mem­ory could Moe ‘ The Toe’ Racine cre­ate next. As we stood watch­ing that game, we both knew that Dad was fi­nally in the Hall of Fame, al­though it would be another week be­fore the an­nounce­ment was made. That day, we wanted to both be there at the place, where it all started 56 years ago.

In Au­gust of 1958, then Stan­dard Free­holder sports writer Frank Orr penned a few lines about Moe Racine’s try out with the Rough Rid­ers in Ottawa.

“Right now Moe Racine stands on the thresh­old of a great foot­ball ca­reer with the Ottawa Rough Rid­ers. He re­ported to the Rid­ers train­ing camp for Cana­dian play­ers to pick up some point­ers and im­me­di­ately caught the eye of Frank Clair.

When the camp broke up, Moe was asked to stay with the team.”

Frank knew some­thing that day and when I spoke to Mr. Orr re­cently, he said, “Ev­ery­one who played with or against Moe or sim­ply watched him play, knew, that if he went to the CFL, he would play.”

Play­ing twenty- two years of foot­ball was not some­thing my fa­ther thought of back in 1953, al­though he knew pretty early in his pro ca­reer, that Frank Orr was right, he could play at the CFL level.

Another not so known fact is that by mak­ing the jump and not go­ing to col­lege, it ac­tu­ally hurt him in his de­vel­op­ment and with his salary. I know that Dad had a choice to at­tend sev­eral schools af­ter high school, but when the train­ing camp ended in 1958 and the Rough Rid­ers asked that big kid from Bel­mont Street to sign his name, it was a long way from peel­ing pota­toes with his brother Gilles, for his brother Bernie’s French Fry wagon in the late 1940’ s.

Why did it take so long? It mat­ters not any more - I, as you know, am very proud to call you Dad.

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