The great number eight; a line that will follow one Dinos football player in particular as he finishes his tenure at the University of Calgary and his career as a Dinos varsity football player. He plays with talent, desire and heart every time he steps onto the turf, and he makes heads turn, laying bodies out everywhere.
"He" is fourth-year linebacker and defensive captain Agustin Barrenechea, affectionately known by his teammates and friends as "Goose".
"I got the name in grade one, I think," says Barrenechea. "No one could pronounce my name, so they just called me 'Goose'."
The 6'1"¸, 235-pound Argentinian-born defensive powerhouse recorded an outstanding year with the Dinos. His most notable accomplishments were recording four sacks, 54 solo tackles--good enough for eighth in all of Canadian university football--and being named to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Second All-Star Team.
On top of that, Goose was nominated for both the Hec Crighton Trophy for Most Outstanding Player and the President's Trophy for Top Defensive Player not being a Defensive Lineman.
"What I will remember most are the friendships I developed and just being fortunate enough to play and spend time with my teammates," concedes the modest Barrenechea. "So much work both on and off the field goes into football by so many people that goes unrecognized. The coaches, trainers, equipment managers and others all work very hard--hats off to them."
Playing football was a childhood dream for Barrenechea and he isn't ready to hang up his pads and helmet yet. He was drafted 30th overall in the 2003 CFL Entry Draft by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. He wants to pursue football opportunities, but for now he is just taking things as they come and hoping for the best.
"The decision is out of my hands right now as to whether I'll play with Hamilton," explains Barrenechea. "I'm doing everything I can to continue my career by training hard and contacting teams so we'll just have to see what happens."
During Goose's time with the Dinos, he kept setting the pins up and knocking them down, reaching self-imposed goal after self-imposed goal.
"I really wanted to make the squad and have an impact at first," recalls Barrenechea. "Then I wanted to contribute on special teams, then I wanted to progress to a starting position and help take the team as far as possible--I was fortunate enough to reach each of those goals."
Barrenechea made such an impact on the team that he was awarded the honour of being defensive captain in only his second year as a Dino, keeping the title until the end of this season. A remarkable achievement to say the least.
"I think I earned my role as captain because I brought something to the table," he comments. "My first year being captain was tough, but the pieces fell into place. Pretty soon there was no added pressure and I had a lot of fun in the role."
Goose's intensity and smarts definitely encouraged other players to step it up. He was a lead-by-example type of player with a noticeable presence on the field. Unfortunately, Goose never won a Vanier Cup with the Dinos, but he has left a lasting impression.
If professional football isn't in the cards for Barrenechea, surely the Geological Sciences degree he will be awarded this year will take him places. Teaching sparks his interest or you may see him on the front page of the paper one day saving a kid from a burning building, as firefighting intrigues him as well. He also lends a hand in the community by assisting with the Cowboys of Calgary's Bantam Football League and helping out at camps for the Calgary Colts.
Whatever happens, we wish him the all the best.