THE Manitoba Rugby Union is planning to launch the Rugby Manitoba Hall of Fame later this year and Larry (Bigfoot) de Booy is expected to be among the first inducted.De Booy, who died on Jan. 16 after a fierce battle with cancer, was the Saracens Rugby Club's longest playing member at 35 years. He played that entire span in the First Division and served 18 years as captain. He was selected to 15 provincial teams and was captain seven times. Rugby officials said these records are unlikely to ever be broken in Manitoba. He also played numerous international matches.
The 6-foot-5, 230-pound de Booy earned his "Bigfoot" moniker not just for his size but for his playing style and motivational techniques.
"It is unlikely we could find a more fitting inaugural inductee. Larry was a very unique athlete and so well respected by all of the rugby community," said Gary MacDonald, a longtime friend and Saracens teammate. "To play a demanding sport like rugby for 35 years is unique in itself but to play at a first division level for that length of time is unheard of and a tribute to Larry's commitment to fitness. (A key) was his routine of ice baths to aid his muscle and tendon recovery, where he used some interesting medications like horse linament to aid recovery time. Larry received a lot of teasing about the aroma of this technique but it was hard to argue the results."
Zbig Jablonowski, another longtime friend and Saracens teammate, said de Booy's friends often joke about the injuries over 35 years.
"These included but were not limited to: broken legs, broken arms, broken noses, dislocated shoulders and thousands of stitches. And I'm not referring to Larry but to injuries Larry inflicted on competitors and teammates. I speak from personal experience!" Jablonowski said.
He added that the Saracens' 2009 rugby season will be dedicated to de Booy.