There wasn’t a whole lot of head protection when Don Butt played for the St. Vital Mustangs Football team.
Fifty-seven years ago, the only thing football players wore to keep their heads from being smashed in was a fitted leather headpiece.
"I’m surprised there weren’t more head injuries," says Butt.
And lack of proper equipment wasn’t the only challenge the team faced. A lack of proper playing space also made the game a bit more hazardous.
"I was running for my glory, running for a touchdown and I almost broke my foot in a gopher hole," he said.
Since then, the club has made a lot of changes.
And from Sept. 13 to 15, the club is hoping players who have experienced such changes over the years will come back to celebrate Homecoming Weekend, formerly called Family Fun Weekend. The weekend is especially significant, as this year marks the club’s 65th anniversary.
"The Mustangs have always considered themselves and everyone that passes through the program as family and we try to foster and encourage this as much as possible," said Gail Bialek, the club’s registrar who has been involved with the club for over 10 years and whose children have played for the Mustangs.
"Over the years Homecoming weekend has grown from simply watching football and barbecuing to include activities for children, beer gardens, social evenings, pancake breakfasts, silent auctions, and more," she said.
"We strongly encourage every single player, parent, relative, and alumni to come out, have some fun and cheer on our teams."
The event welcomes an average of 1,000 people over the course of the weekend. A full schedule of events and game times is posted on the St. Vital Mustangs website at www.mustangsfootball.ca
Butt is hoping a lot of older Mustangs alumni will hear about the event and show up to support it.
"Football kept us out of trouble when we were younger. I’m hoping it will continue to do that for the lads these days," he said.