A bond between teammates is a relationship incomparable to any. Sports gives people the opportunity to create connections with peers that last a lifetime post game. The time players get on the field together is limited, and many athletes don’t play alongside each other for long. Friends may commit to different schools, and transfers can happen: anything could come up.
Every so often you’ll see a group who’ve been fortunate enough to play alongside one another for many years post-high school and into varsity sports. Inside the locker room of the Gee-Gees Football team, six players have been able to play alongside each other for seven years. Khadim Cheicke Mbaye, Omba Dimanche, Shako Dimanche, Ricardo Lubin, Marc-Elie Jace, and Loic Kayembe have been wearing the same colours as one another for a while now.
All six individuals are representing the province of Quebec. The squad is battling it out on the defensive side of things for the Gee-Gees. Before finding a home in the nation’s capital, the group found themselves either competing or playing with each other throughout the city and school leagues. Lubin played against Kayembe, Shako and Omba Dimanche in the Montreal city league while Mbaye and Jace played together in the school league. As the years went by the decision to join the CEGEP in Montmorency became clearer. The current Gee-Gees brought a level of hard work and victory into the program. “We brought it back to a winning program, and we went to the playoffs… a standard to Montmorency of winning and hard work,” said Lubin.
The relationship has grown into an on-field advantage according to most of the group. “Having Khadim and Ricardo behind me just makes the game a lot smoother,” said Kayembe. “I can just look at them and know - okay it’s on and we need a big stop.”
They are aware of their unique situation and are enjoying every minute of it. “For real, I think it’s something special… it’s not common to be able to play this long with some people,” said Omba Dimanche.
Unfortunately, the group knows that it’ll have to end soon enough. That day will eventually come and the jerseys will be hung up. However, that isn’t stopping these friends to enjoy every minute of the time that’s left. “It would be sad to think I will not be playing with my guys because right now I see them more than my real brother and sister,” said Shako Dimanche.
Statistics will eventually fade from memory, but it’s the quirky moments from spending nearly every day together for the past seven years that will stand firm.
Feature by Robert Greeley