Greg Vavra recalls Calgary Dinos glory days in becoming hall of famer
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“Two things that stood out that year,” said Vavra, now 59, of the Vanier Cup season in 1983. “One was the (record) game against Saskatchewan where I threw for 627 yards and six touchdowns — that was one that opened some eyes to what we were doing in the west. And the other one was the way the Vanier Cup played out (in a 31-21 victory over the Queen’s Golden Gaels in Toronto). We had a strong offensive performance and couldn’t score touchdowns and fell behind with about three minutes left in the game. And that last drive again opened some people’s eyes to the fact that we could play — that we could rise to the pressure and not fall away from it.”
Coach Connellan, who was also inducted into the hall of fame as a Dinos legend, knew he had the right guy at the controls that day.
“The most amazing part was that we didn’t make any great catches,” Connellan told Postmedia when recalling the game a few years back. “But we didn’t have to. We made the easy catches, and that’s all we had to do. Greg made it look easy.
“We made adjustments at halftime, I turned to Greg and said: “You call the plays, OK?”
Vavra never doubted the will of the team.
The QB still has nothing but love and admiration for his fellow champions, praising them for the reason he’ll represent the ’83 Dinos — along with the previously inducted Connellan — in the hall.
That induction ceremony, which was originally slated for the summer but postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, will likely happen in August 2021.
“I had a great deal of confidence in the guys I was surrounded with,” Vavra added. “I can name our starting 12 guys 37 years later. They’re mostly all still around, and most of them are still in my life and very good friends with them.
“That group was special. It was special because nobody cared about individual achievement. We hated to lose. We knew we were too good to settle into mediocrity, and the collective will of the entire team made that team special.”