On Monday afternoon, in front of a capacity Ron Joyce Stadium, the McMaster Marauders began their 2012 football season.
There to help the team start their season was Jerry Brown, a 2012 Olympic silver medalist who helped Canada to the podium in the men’s eight rowing.
Brown, an offensive lineman for the Marauders from 2004-2007, made an appearance to perform a ceremonial kick-off at his alma mater.
Marauder athletics holds significance in Brown’s journey to the athletics, as Brown credits the football program with giving him the tools to succeed at a world class level in rowing.
“The Marauders gave me a training foundation… it set me up with a discipline in training that I brought into rowing that I wouldn’t have been able to do without that kind of exposure to an intense training program.”
The No. 7 seat man from the silver medal team only began his rowing career four years prior to becoming a decorated Olympian, but starting a sport late is not a new concept to Brown.
Before coming to McMaster, he had not even played football before but the McMaster coaching staff aided his transition.
“I didn’t play football in high school so I came into the program and I spent two years just training hard, putting my head down, and it set me up with a discipline in training that I brought into rowing.”
Brown also gave credit to members of the coaching staff for instilling a work ethic in him.
“All of these guys build your character and you go through experiences; training hard, hardships, winning, losing and everyone just rubs off on you and shapes you a little bit.”
Larry Riley, entering his 19th season on the sideline for the Maroon and Grey, was Brown’s offensive line coach for his career.
Riley played a major role in Brown’s career and the Olympian had high praises for Coach Riley.
“Jason Riley helped me out through some tough times in university. On a personal level, Jason was always very good for helping me get through some of that.”
Brown’s teammate, Doug Cheem, also hails from McMaster and the pair shares a pride for Mac athletics.
“Doug and I are both extremely proud to be Marauders and it’s great to come back. We’re always talking about the Marauders.”
Jerry Brown is a walking example of how taking part in Marauder athletics is more than just a five-year experience; it is a journey that begins in Hamilton and continues on for the rest of an athlete’s life.