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Runners Unified by Dye

Photo provided by Mitchell Heyink.

by: Kevin Ye Su

Sports and News

If you have walked across campus recently, you might have noticed a couple of things. First, people with moustaches. This is kind of expected, as Movember (annual growing of moustaches to raise men’s health awareness) just recently ended. But, you might have also noticed something else. Multiple athletes with bleached blonde hair, mainly from the cross country and track and field teams. Why is that?

It is a clear symbol of team unity.

“Essentially, our decision to dye our hair was something that we wanted to do to provide some sort of tradition and bonding amongst our team,” said Mitchell Cauchi, runner for both the Lancers cross country and track and field teams. “We were kind of looking to show how much we would do for each other.”

This practice fosters team bonding and showcases an athlete’s commitment during difficult times.

“Not only do you become super close when you willingly and voluntarily put yourself through the pain that we do, but we also lost our coach in April so we really had to become tighter and provide each other with a helping hand,” Cauchi said.

Photo provided by Mitchell Heyink.

This hair dying ‘phenomenon’ usually happens when team unity matters most: during championships, something that the men’s cross country team competed in earlier last month (November 9th).

“To look like a collective group at nationals, we all decided that bleaching our hair blonde/gold would look very flashy and show some school spirit as our team colours are blue and gold,” said Mitchell Heyink, another runner for both Lancers cross country and Track and Field teams.

Colin Inglis, entering his third year as head coach for the Lancers track and field program and first for the cross country team, noted that this practice on the men’s team dates back to an earlier time before he became head coach and expressed his support for it.

“If we have a goal of accomplishing something, whatever it may be, by them all doing something together it shows another form of commitment towards that end goal,” said Inglis. “It only unites them more towards their common goal.”

Of course, Windsor is not the only team to follow this hair dying practice. It is a relatively popular thing to do.

Kameron Bell, linebacker for the Acadia Axemen in Wolfville, Nova Scotia (more than 2,200 kilometers away driving from Windsor) noted the importance of team unity. His teammates dyed their hair for playoffs this past football season.

“As sports teams always talk about how they are a family, dying our hair and making us all look the same makes us feel like more of a unit,” Bell said. “This showed how committed everyone is to the team.”

Heyink believes that teams dye their hair to show some team spirit and even use it as an intimidation factor.

But, the reasoning behind the Lancers dying their hair this year happened by chance, as the original plan was for the team to grow mullets. When the cross country team qualified for nationals, only five out of seven runners were willing to run the championships with that particular hairstyle. Joshua Martin, though, said that he would dye his hair if the team qualified to nationals. All seven runners (plus the two spare runners) collectively decided to dye their hair.

Photo provided by Mitchell Heyink.

This scenario perfectly represents how the hair dying practice fosters team unity. Runners were not forced to grow mullets, and the decision for the entire team to dye their hair came up organically.

The team’s “look good, race good” mantra can’t be overlooked when we see the results. The Lancers cross country team had an impressive performance during championships, finishing fifth in the country after being ranked seventh. Whether the team’s hair colour affected the results or not, it made the team become closer to each other – which was the original purpose.

“It was a great experience that we all will remember. Many other teams and even the commentator mentioned how awesome our hair was,” Heyink said. “Every member of the 2019 squad will be back next year, so it safe to say that the Lancers cross country team will have their hair dyed for the 2020 national championships on their quest for a gold medal.”

 

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