Boycott Looms at This Years Charles River Race

{Boston Globe - April 2, 2007} A boycott of this years "Run of the Charles" is unfortunately beginning to look like more and more like a reality. And the script is becoming all too familiar once again - the University of Hartford and its' notorius team captain dave demanbey are once again at the center of the controversy.

We caught up with dave and teammates this week training for the race (See dave and teammates training at left. Notice the unorthadox training methods that have always been a trademark of dave and the University.) Shawn O'Callahan, who paddles for Boston College, has been one of the most vocal, "If the Commitee doesn't do the right thing and disqualify The University of Hartford for this years race I am going to personally lead the rest of the teams in a boycott of this years race." It remains to be seen if Shawn has enough power to sway which has always been a very supportive field.

Hartford started some ill feeling among other teams in 2001 when it introduced its' mascot Howie the Hawk as one of its' paddlers. "I didn't mind the bird thing", quipped Angel Brighton of team A.G.I. Cement. "But when they started running over other boats with that monster concrete canoe of theirs - thats when everyone started to get pissed." The University in 2002 teamed up with their engineering students to produce a twenty-two foot 333 pound canoe. The boat actually proved to be rather quick in the water, but instead of receiving praise for such an incredible engineering feat the University has instead been the brunt of much animosity. Rightfully so. dave & company used the boat to ram opposing canoes. We don't have a definitive count, but most experts claim at least a dozen boats were sent to the bottom. "I still have nightmares about the big white devil closing in on us and sending us below the waves in what seemed like a moment", said Anne Shapley holding back the tears. "Nonesense", said team captain dave. "The commitee never charged us with any wrong doing. So maybe we accidentily ran into a few boats along the way. So what. We did always wave and give a big smile to all the swimmers."

Team captain dave demanbey was brought up on charges for possibly throwing the Ironman Triathalon competition in Hawaii by placing tacks in crucial areas of the bike route, causing the leaders in the race flat tires and eventual fifth and sixth place finishes. Lack of evidence resulted in an equital, and yet another escape for dave. Despite his constant antics, most people who meet him develop an instant like for the guy who is always ready with a smile, and never has a bad word for anyone. Like him or hate him, he will be at this years race. So will the University of Hartford. We wish them luck at an event that has become as much a part of Boston as any other event - The 25th running of the Run of the Charles.