The Varsity Blues football team walked off the field with a 61-13 victory over the University of Waterloo. The game marked the eighth and final contest that U of T would play in their 2014 season. Finishing with a 2-6 record, one that was less than satisfactory after last year’s return to the .500 mark, the Blues missed out on playoff action once again.
But as the team enters the offseason with hopes of staying in shape and finding a way to revamp the program before the start of next season, they’ll have to do it without two familiar faces that have manned the defensive line for the past five years. UTM’s Jordan and Justin Marra will be leaving the Blues, graduating and moving on to greener pastures at the end of the school year. The brothers have been a cornerstone of the Blues program, gaining an iconic status as the only twins on the U of T team.
The brothers leave at a time when the program is still reshuffling. The Varsity Blues have been out of the playoffs since 2003, and the goal that was established when the Marra brothers entered the program still has not been attained. “When we came to U of T we wanted to be a part of the group to return the Blues to the playoffs,” says Justin. “In that regard, we are disappointed.”
But the brothers are happy with the experience that being a part of the football team gave them. “We can say that the team has become more of a family and more competitive than when we first came in,” Justin recalls.
The brothers agree that the hardest part of leaving the program will be leaving the people. “We will remember the relationships that were built through hard work and sacrifice,” says Justin. Justin and Jordan are two players who belong to the “freaksquad”, the playful name given to a group of Varsity Blues football players that are UTM students. Being a part of the freaksquad was a brotherhood within a brotherhood for the Marras. “The freaksquad is defined by adversity, overcoming hours of commuting every day to play football, putting in extra hours in the weight room, and holding the members of the squad together as a unit,” says Justin.
With the departure of the brothers, the Blues lose two of the team’s most respected leaders, but the brothers aren’t concerned with their roles being filled on the field and in the locker room. “There is already a young core of developed leaders at UTM,” says Justin, who was quick to mention players like Lukas Gavac.
The brothers wanted to thank all the coaches they’ve had throughout their careers from their time in Burlington Minor Football Association through high school and to U of T, where they were able to work with coach Greg Gary and athletic director Beth Ali.
In their final game against the Waterloo Warriors, the Varsity Blues celebrated the brothers’ career by giving them commemorative plaques with their pictures on them. After being involved in the game for 15 years and taking part in 23 seasons of football, the Marras are proud of all their successes over the years, and look forward to taking a break from football to attend teachers college. With the days of wearing the Varsity Blues sweater behind them, the Marras plan to move to the sidelines as future football coaches.
And even though they won’t get to play the game they love the same way, the satisfaction of having football in their lives is the greatest gift they could ask for.