By Jenny De Guia
They huffed. They puffed. And, in an unbeatable 16.65 seconds, the University of Calgary blew the competition away to pull off an incredible first-place finish at the United Way of Calgary and Area’s first annual Plane Pull.
Along with speed skating queen and Olympic Oval Associate Director Catriona Le May Doan, 15 athletes from the Dinos football, speed skating and field hockey teams braved the elements — including the threat of lightning — last Sunday to lug the 180,000-lb. UPS Airbus A300 a staggering 50 feet.
When it was over, the university emerged victorious over second and third place finishers Nexen (17.01 seconds) and UPS (17:07 seconds).
Twenty-four teams and their fans turned out for the event at the UPS hangar at the Calgary International Airport. More than $30,000 was raised for the United Way of Calgary and Area, which supports hundreds of social service agencies in the community.
With the competitive spirit built into their DNA, the University of Calgary athletes undoubtedly came to win. But they gained something equally valuable; the rare opportunity to put cleats and skates aside and compete for their school as one team.
“I think it’s important that we have these opportunities for all the athletes to get to know each other and work together, so that in future events like this, we can support each other,” says Dinos linebacker Cory Roboch.
“The United Way is all about supporting our community,” says Dennis Sumara, United Way campaign co-chair and dean, Faculty of Education. “Today, we’ve shown how strong our campus community can be when we work together to accomplish a goal.”
The University of Calgary’s 2012 United Way Campaign kicks off Oct. 1. More information on how you can get involved in this year’s campaign is available on the University of Calgary’s United Way website.