3155 DS Miller
Volunteer boxer in 4th year
The second memorable event that stands out in the final year involved boxing.
Boxing was compulsory only for first and second year cadets. Third and fourth
year cadets were exempted from this barbaric sport unless of course they were
addled enough to enter into competition for the “fun of it”. In early February
McCrimmon, Stewart and Kostiuk paraded into my room and proposed that I enter
the boxing tournament due to begin in two weeks. I threw them out of the room.
The proposal was crazy, even blasphemous. To think that I as an out-of-shape
fourth year could possibly meet a toughened first year recruit was ridiculous.
At Royal Roads I weighed in at 176 pounds and made the light heavyweight
division. I now weighed 185 pounds and would be in the heavy weight division. I
would be killed. Over the next few days these “couriers of bad news” initiated a
relentless campaign aimed at getting me to change my mind. They pointed out how
decisive my victories at Royal Roads had been. I had speed and agility recruits
lacked. And there was two weeks to get into shape before the tournament started.
I could do it they vowed.
I relented. I cannot in my wildest imagination now understand why I folded; the
only possible reason was to get these so-called friends off my back. I
immediately entered into a training program that involved very little sparring
practise but was heavy on endurance. There is an indoor track in the old gym and
every day for two weeks I ran 30 minutes to an hour.
On the designated day I walked up to the ring and was astounded to see my
opponent for the first time. His name was Shaugnessy, he was a recruit and he
was big! I knew I was finished before it started and the first few seconds
proved me right. He was in first class shape, he was powerful and he came at me
like a locomotive at the opening bell. My only instinct was survival. I wove and
ducked and backed while desperately trying to deflect his rain of blows. There
were three-two minute rounds in the fight and each minute felt like eternity. At
the end of the first round I was breathless and tired; at the end of the second
round I was breathless and very tired. Somehow I was able to fend off the most
dangerous blows of the third round to avoid annihilation. By this time my legs
were like rubber, my arms were so heavy I could barely get them up for
protection and I was utterly exhausted. The bell signalling the end of the third
round was the sweetest sound I had ever heard. I made my way back to the Stone
Frigate, crawled up the stairs, had a shower and collapsed onto my bed in a
state of utter exhaustion. At this point my “three friends” entered to
congratulate me for a stellar performance. Instant mayhem ensued. I flew at them
with threatening gestures and considerable invective and suggested that if they
didn’t get out of my sight instantly there would be more blood spilled.
Of course these were my Air Force buddies and eventually all was forgiven, if
not forgotten. I believe it cost them more than a few beers to enter into my
good graces again. Ken McCrimmon was best man at our wedding a few months later
and John Stewart was an usher. Bob Kostiuk gave me new pilot training when I
joined 444 Squadron in Germany sixteen months later.