The annual Athletic Banquet will be presented on Saturday April 4, 2015 at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel. This event run annually as a joint venture between the SCAA and the Department of Athletics and Recreation, celebrates student success through sport. The Athletic Banquet and it’s awards ceremony, annually recognizes those who have had success as Athletes, contributed as leaders, and allows those who are closest to the program to celebrate their success.
This year we celebrate not just the success of current Student Athletes, but we take time to reflect on the past 50 years of creating memorable moments in the lives of our Alumni. Over the past 50 years, UTSC Athletes have won numerous annual banners for overall program success in the University’s Intramural program. UTSC Athletics and Recreation programs have produced exceptional Male and Female Athletes of the year and UTSC teams have won far too many Championships to list. Through this history two constants have remained, UTSC produces exceptional Student leaders through sport and the Athletic Banquet is the very best forum to recognize their achievements and celebrate their individual success.
Renee Ridout is a athlete at the Varsity, Intramural and Interhouse level. She is an advocate for Women on Campus and a leader in the Department of Athletics and Recreation program. She has written a article for the Underground news paper that speaks to this years Banquet.
It’s that time of year again where UTSC’s student-athletes get to celebrate athletic and academic achievements for the year, leaving the sweats and track suits behind for a more formal attire. The UTSC Athletic Banquet is just around the corner, getting geared up to celebrate another successful year in athletic accomplishments and where student-athletes get to show that they too have an elegant side. However this year’s Athletic Banquet is somewhat special as it commences the 50th Anniversary of UTSC’s Department of Athletics and Recreation.
In 1965, the Department was officially established introducing an enduring and growing community and a legacy of programs including our very successful intramural programs and leagues. Embarking on a path of developing a long-lasting student-athlete community, Taimo Pallandi, UTSC’s first Athletic Director, had a vision for athletics on campus. For 26 years Pallandi worked on creating a place for student-athletes at UTSC, including celebrating student-athlete achievements at the traditional UTSC Athletic Banquet. One of the main awards given away at the Athletic Banquet is the Professor Taimo Pallandi Award which is “Awarded annually to a Scarborough College graduating student who best represents the values which Professor Pallandi held most high: academic excellence, leadership, performance and fair play.”
The UTSC Athletic Banquet has come a long way from its first debut in the Meeting Place as a small gathering of student-athletes, coaches, and staff/faculty. Today the Athletic Banquet is one of the biggest events held annually by the department of Athletics and Recreation and Scarborough College Athletics Association (SCAA). Now located at the Eaton Chelsea, Athletic Banquet sells out each year, overflowing with student-athletes, staff, faculty, coaches, and alumni to recognize not only achievements in athletics but also to celebrate being a part of “something bigger than yourself”.
To understand the significance of this event, I discussed with Assistant Athletic Director Randy Thomas. Randy has been to 35 Athletic Banquets in his lifetime, and not just as an Assistant Director, but also as a student-athlete, an alumni, and a coach. Randy said for him the Athletic Banquet is an event where we commend not only athletics but also the idea of being a student-athlete and achievements both academically and athletically. Awards given away at the Athletic Banquet aim to acknowledge these values, such as the Taimo Pallandi Award, the Spirit Award, the Heart Award, the Stripes Award, athletes who are inducted into their sport’s Hall of Fame, the Female/Male Athlete of the year and intramural team championships. Randy states that at the Athletic Banquet students (and alumni) get the chance to celebrate being apart of a team and representing UTSC. He insists that the Athletic Banquet offers the opportunity to do more than celebrate achievements, but it’s a place where we rejoice with friends, make lasting friendships, and “stand in support of those who did something”. The Department of Athletics and Recreation works hard to create a place where all are welcome and where student-athletes can thrive, and this is represented through the Athletic Banquet.
Looking forward to this year’s Banquet, Randy emphasizes Athletics and Recreation’s goals are to celebrate the year, speak to what has made this campus great over the past 50 years, and to look back on the history of Athletics and acknowledge what has made this program important. Randy is thrilled for this year’s banquet and carrying on the tradition. Randy has always enjoyed the excitement around this event and hopes that it conveys one of the main missions of UTSC Athletics and Recreation by “leaving the program better than you found it”.
Through this motto, the Department of Athletics and Recreation has developed a strong community of students, alumni, and community members and has become a home to many, including past SCAA president Alex Adamo and current SCAA president Katrina Pilatos. Alex said “The best part about being apart of UTSC Athletics and Recreation had to be the relationships gained. There isn't a single relationship that I've maintained after graduating that wasn't forged within the walls of the gym.” Alex also mentioned that the best memories he made took place at the annual Athletic Banquet. Katrina adds that this year’s Athletic Banquet will be unique because “we have the great honor of celebrating with the Department of Athletics our 50th year which is a great achievement.” Katrina is proud to belong to the UTSC Athletics and Recreation family.
This years UTSC Athletic Banquet will be taking place on April 4th at the Eaton Chelsea. You can purchase your tickets from the SCAA office in TPASC. Tickets start selling for $40 each on March 9th and there will be a group discount for $35 each when purchasing tickets for 6+ people. Get them before they sell out and let’s look forward to ringing in year 50 with a bang!
Article By: Renee Ridout