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Tom Pearce, Josh Havey and Bryan Thiessen

Despite a 25-game losing streak, football players (l-r) Tom Pearce, Josh Havey and Bryan Thiessen weren’t quitters. They finally scored some winning games in their senior season

Perseverance rewards Clan football trio

May 28, 2009

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To be a varsity athlete requires a high level of commitment. They devote hours to practices, strength training and conditioning, physiotherapy to rehabilitate nagging injuries and, above all else, studying.

The reward for this sacrifice of time and hard work, for most SFU athletes, is success on the playing field: a victory or a championship.

But for three football players convocating this June, the payoff was a long time coming. Bryan Thiessen, Josh Havey and Thomas Pearce suffered through the longest winning drought in SFU history, a 25-game losing streak entering their 2008 senior season, and they all asked themselves the same question: Why am I doing this?

"[Quitting] came to mind a couple of times," says Thiessen, who graduates this June with a criminology degree and plans to join the RCMP.

"I thought about what the point of it all was. We all had to think about what football actually meant, about what school meant. And weighing all the options, quitting wasn’t feasible."

By not giving up, Thiessen and his teammates were finally rewarded with one of the best seasons in SFU history. The 2008 Clan defeated UBC twice, including a dramatic last-second field goal to claim the Shrum Bowl. They knocked off three top-ten ranked opponents in the regular season. And they qualified for the Canada West final after beating Saskatchewan on the road for their first playoff victory since 2003.

"Having a successful senior season was a reward for working our tails off during those three hard years," says Thiessen "It was nice to go out that way, it justifies the process.

"I would tell my teammates, and anyone else, that you can never give up, because you can never predict what is going to happen in life. If you quit, you will never have the opportunity to succeed."

"We learned a lot through the ups and downs," adds Pearce, who graduates with a BA in history and geography. "The turnaround this past year made all of the lean years worth the pain and suffering."

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