By: Elizabeth Karchut
If you’re from Carleton University, Nate Behar is the football hero who helped the Carleton Ravens win an exhilarating, back-and-forth, down to the wire Panda Bowl verses their bitter rivals, the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
If you’re from the University of Ottawa, Behar is the man whose improbable catch put a dagger through the hearts of the Gee-Gee faithful and left the football team, who played 59 minutes and 55 seconds of tremendous football, in a state of shock.
And if you’re not familiar with anything said above, you probably didn’t watch the annual football game between Carleton and UofO on Sept. 20, 2014, the game affectionately known as the Panda Bowl.
(The game is named after Pedro the Panda, who was the unofficial mascot of UofO and is now immortalized as a trophy awarded to the winner of the Panda Bowl.)
But what was this improbable catch? First, let’s meet the football player behind it all.
It was Behar’s mom and dad who decided he should go into football and it’s his family who helps inspire him off the field. It’s also his self-motivation and his love of the sport that keeps him going.
“I would like to play as long as possible,” Nate said of his football future. “I would like to play pro football as long as possible with whomever will have me of course.”
Now back to “the catch.” In the dying seconds of the Panda Bowl, the Ravens were on the Gee-Gees’ 55-yard line with five seconds to go and were down by four points when quarterback Jesse Mills lobbed a Hail Mary pass into the air. A Gee-Gees defender jumped up, tipping the ball right into the hands of Behar, who said it “was just luck for sure.”
With ball in hand, Behar ran it into the end zone and in seconds was at the bottom of a pile of Ravens players with Carleton fans storming the field in hysterics. It was a game Behar cited as “the singular, most fun game” he has played.
It’s this type of “never give up” mentality Behar displayed that sparks images of the sporting greats, such as pro-golfer Tiger Woods and ex-NFL legend Jerry Rice, athletes Behar notes as another source of inspiration.
“I think the thing to take away from them [the athletes] is the various things that drive them and how deeply the desire has to burn inside of you,” Behar said. “How your entire life has to be moulded to your sport, a sacrifice most aren't ready to give." But a sacrifice, it appears, Behar is more than willing to make.
Nate Behar is part of the House Edge Sports Network, which is a network that aids in promoting and marketing amateur athletes in North America.