CENTENNIAL CLASS OF 1976/CLASSE DU CENTENAIRE 1976
À l’approche de l’entrée de notre promotion dans la Vieille Brigade, plusieurs souvenirs remontent à la surface. Je vais tenter d’en écrire quelques uns; certains en français, certains en anglais.
As the date of entry of our Class into the Old Brigade approaches, many memories resurface; I will try to write some of them – in French or in English.
RECRUIT TERM AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 1972: CIRCLES
The recruits used to do “circles” as a penalty for poor performance; sort of a menial punishment that senior Cadets could impose on recruits only during recruit camp, for example for a poorly made bed (I actually got a circle for “Extraneous lines on your pit” – CFL Hugh McEwen was a master of the English language), for dust in your sink (how is that possible when you use it everyday to shave and wash?), railroad tracks in your shirt, or some other such travesty of discipline. Senior Cadets could “award” a number of circles equivalent to the number of bars they wore: two, three, four or five. A circle (and I ran many) was a quarter-mile run (once around the track) in no less than 90 seconds. Circles were run in the morning before class. If you had a circle to run, you had to get up, put on your shorts, t-shirt and issue-runners (in those days, they issued flat-footed runners like Converse All-Stars, which we commonly called gravity boots) and form up in three ranks to be inspected by the Senior Cadet Duty Officer at 6 AM. Your shorts had to be pressed (!) and your runners white…or you could be awarded more circles. Sometimes it was very cold in September mornings and I remember many times my kneecaps bobbing up and down while I was being inspected, I was so cold.
Circle runners would form up in front of LaSalle building, in the dark under the light of the lampposts. After inspection, the group would start running in three ranks around the track under the watchful eye of the Duty Cadet Officer. Now, the maximum number one could run in one day was four circles so that Cadets had time to get ready for class at 8 AM. However, if the formed group did not run the circle in less than 90 seconds, it did not count: the entire group would have to go around one more time. So the guys who only had one circle to run that morning would usually try to be at the front of the group so they could set a quick pace and not have to run more than once around the track. Those who had four to run wanted to conserve energy and run no faster than 90 seconds so you would hear a lot of “Hey! Slow down in front!”
Once you were finished running the required number of circles, you had to present yourself to the Cadet Duty Officer who usually stood on a bench back in front of LaSalle. You had to report to him (College number, name, initials, Squadron, Flight, etc) standing perfectly at attention, and explain that you completed your X circles until he said “Carry on!” then run back to the barracks for a two minute shower and change for breakfast where you continued to sweat for an hour.
To be continued