DOWN MEMORY LANE: “Sports at RMC in the Post-War Era”
By 3201 Austen (Aus) Cambon, Cadet Wing Sports Officer, RMC 1953-54
Editor’s note: RMC reopened in 1948 after being used in a different way through WWII. This “start-up” era imposed unique circumstances upon athletes, coaches, and administrators. Teams in various sports were constructed “from scratch” and had to be molded for RMC’s re-entry into intercollegiate sports competition. We asked 3201 Austen (Aus) Cambon to help us look back in time at this somewhat forgotten era. Austen’s background in sports includes having been a sports reporter for North America’s oldest newspaper in his hometown of Quebec City where he also delivered radio sportscasts twice daily and worked with a professional broadcasting hockey in the heady days of Jean Beliveau playing for the Quebec Citadels. At RMC Aus was the Team Manager for two varsity teams, played on another, and ultimately served as Cadet Wing Sports Officer. We are pleased that Aus has agreed to provide some of his memories of this era starting with an introductory piece which follows. Ed.
I wore a scarlet tunic and pill box early on. As a page boy in the summer at the Chateau Frontenac Hotel in my hometown, Quebec City. I would never get to wear the real thing at RMC. The scarlet tunic and pill-box combo would not return to the College until the year following our graduation. Some traditions took longer than others to be re-established following WW11.
We were just the third class to enter the College after its star-up in 1948. Upon reaching the Parade Square at RMC in the Fall of 1950 one could say that most of us were, as used to be said, “wet behind the ears”.
It took us only a matter of minutes for us to understand that we were in for a life-changing experience as our seniors began the process of welcoming us aboard while at the same time making it clear that they were in charge. Nice guys but tough-minded.
The traditions of old were back in place at this point. We rowed whalers, swam in the lake, ran at the double on the Square and we drilled and drilled and drilled. We learned the meaning of “good order and discipline”, respect for authority, time management, and so much more. The Recruit Obstacle Course was a memorable challenge. We somehow managed to eventually be sufficiently qualified to be welcomed into the Cadet Wing. Whew!
In those early days of Year One for our Class of ’54 I am certain I gave no thought whatsoever to what our seniors would be doing after their graduation, nor what we might all be doing after graduation either. Through sports, I got to know so many great chaps “up front and personal”. Within the senior class and even within my class (Class of RR’52/RMC’54) and other classes there were future high-ranking leaders of our Canadian Armed Forces, several exceptional leaders who would be decorated for valour on the battlefields of Korea, future captains of industry, future professionals in all fields and a whole lot of good men who would serve our country as good citizens and community leaders.
Going forward we’ll take a look back at our era with the hope for feedback from readers to add to our recollection of sports at the College back then.