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National b-ball champs remember the court

Aaron Hall | Interrobang | Sports | September 19th, 2005

Family reunions are generally uncomfortable, mind numbing, and tend to seem exceptionally long for everyone involved.

This was not the case for one former Fanshawe family. The two-time National champion Fanshawe Falcon men's basketball team of ‘79-‘80 and '80-'81 got together this past July to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their accomplishment.

Instrumental in organizing the event were former players Al Ratcliffe and Vito Frijia. Frijia, owner of Southside Construction in London, arranged for each player, coach, and administrator of the championship teams to receive a special commemorative memento to forever remember their team's accomplishments.

The memento was a piece of the old gym B floor, with an engraved plaque on the front, and a picture of the team. There is also one featured in the display case located in the Athletic Department.

Not only was this team successful on the basketball court, they also gelled well in their free time. In a March 25th 1980 article by Jim Cressman of the London Evening Free Press, the notion of family and friendship was mentioned several times by the now former Fanshawe athletes.

“We have a bond that makes everybody equal,” said Frijia back in 1980. “There's no difference between a guy who's a starter and a guy that sits on the bench. And that's the way it should be.”

Mike Lindsay, Manager of Athletics, and Karen Monahan, Fanshawe Alumni Officer, both agree that this team has a special bond.

“In all of my years in sports I've never seen a team be so close off of the court,” said Lindsay.

“The team is still very tight and the majority of them make a point to go on an annual fishing trip,” said Monahan.

Monahan and the rest of the Fanshawe Alumni department were very helpful in organizing the logistics of the event, creating an itinerary for the returning athletes to follow.

Events involved with the weekend included; a basketball game between the players, a social outing at Ratcliffe's home, a campus tour by Fanshawe President Howard Rundle, a celebration dinner, and a golf outing at Forest City National Golf Club.
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