Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/5/2009 (2917 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
For others, it's their last chance to play organized football. Period.
But for Allan Turnbull of the St. Paul's Crusaders, Sunday's 2009 Rona Senior Bowl at Canad Inns Stadium has a more personal significance -- it will likely be the last time, ever, that he plays on the same team as his twin brother, Reg, after what has literally been a lifetime of playing together.
"Sunday is not about recognition for me -- or my brother," Turnbull said at a pre-game news conference on Friday. "For us, it's about it being the last time we'll strap on pads in a high school environment. This will be the last time for sure that we ever do that together.
"And for that matter, it will probably be the last time we ever do it any sport. So it will be, well, you know..."
Special. Sure it will be special. Just as it will be for the other 78 elite high school and midget football players selected to compete Sunday in the annual showcase of the best young football talent in the province.
The game, which is put on every year by Winnipeg High School Football, Manitoba Midget Football, Football Manitoba and Winnipeg Blue Bombers alumni, always attracts scouts from junior football teams, as well as universities and even some U.S. colleges.
Representatives are expected from all three this year, said former Blue Bombers centre Dave Vankoughnett.
Vankoughnett, a 2006 inductee into the Bombers Hall of Fame, said he got his big football break playing in a game just like the Senior Bowl back home in B.C.
"I was fortunate enough to play in that one and got some scholarship offers out of it," said Vankoughnett, who went on to play college football in the U.S. before going on anchor the Bombers offensive line through the 1990s.
Vankoughnett will coach the Thunder team on Sunday, while former Bombers running back Michael Richardson will coach the Lightning team.
The Turnbull brothers, who will play for the Thunder on Sunday, were key members of the Crusaders football juggernaut during their time at St. Paul's, with Allan playing linebacker and Reg playing defensive end. Allan Turnbull had offers from UBC, but has elected to play for the University of Manitoba Bisons next fall. Reg Turnbull is still considering his options.
The brothers have also played other sports at a high level -- including hockey and rugby -- but the pair are perhaps best known to Canadian curling fans as the sons that TSN curling analyst Ray Turnbull refers to on curling broadcasts as 'In-turn' and 'Out-turn.' (Reg is In-turn, Allan is Out-turn.)
Their father says the two boys have played numerous sports over the years and have been on the same team every time.
"It's been like that since they were six years old," Ray Turnbull recalled Friday.
"This probably will be their last game ever together. It's kind of hard. I'm getting old. But you bet your life I'll be there on Sunday. I wouldn't miss it for the world."
While the Thunder will have had just three practices when they step out on the field on Sunday -- and the game is ultimately more an all-star showcase than a competitive football game -- Allan Turnbull said he will still be playing to win.
"Who plays any game to lose," said Turnbull. "We will definitely be playing to win."
Game time on Sunday is scheduled for noon. Tickets are $4 at the gate.