This is the 10th in a series featuring Canada's ex international rugby players. Please join the Dog River Howlers page to see all of them - www.facebook.com/dogriverhowlers
Alan John Charron
76 caps with Canada from 1990 to 2003 (was slated for 1st cap in 1989 against Ireland but screwed up my ankle and thus withdrew on eve of squad assembly)
4 Rugby World Cups as a player 1991, 1995,1999,2003 ) (one as part of the management team RWC 2007), inaugural Rugby World Cup of 7's 1993) Hong Kong 7's ( 2 or 3 times?) ? 7's caps.
Blade, Big Al, Allah, Barbarian, Alistair, Alphonse, Stretch, My Charrona, Johnny, AC, Loch Charron
Ottawa, Ontario July 27th 1966
Early rugby :
Hillcrest High School, Ottawa.
University : Carleton University (played only one match for Carleton- a mid week game due to the fact all other games clashed with Ontario club matches )
Club : Ottawa Irish
Rep sides: Eastern Ontario, Ontario,
Age grade: never played for area, province or country at age grade.
Later rugby :
Clubs - Ottawa Irish, Professionally: Moseley (Birmingham, UK), Bristol (UK), Pau (France), Dax (France)
Select sides:, Louisiana Exiles, Eastern Ontario, Ontario, North American Wolverines, Canada Rangers (7's- Early Howler concept team in which Karl Fix was part of set up), British Barbarians (5 times), World 15 versus Argentina (celebrate their centenary)
Without question the Ottawa Irish and the players I watched and played alongside in training and in games. Fantastic players and guys both on and off the field. They played an open style that was fun and entertaining to be a part of and taught me so much. Too many people to mention but they know who they are and their influence on my career. Other influences were my father (wanted nothing more than to make him proud) and the older and bigger kids in my neighbourhood where I grew up. I was a young skinny short kid who was allowed to play ball hockey, baseball, full on contact football without equipment if I could keep up. I loved nothing better than to keep pace with the older, bigger athletic kids which forced me to work hard from start to finish in order to hold my own. When I finally grew at age 17 I kept the same mentality about working hard and smashing people with a small man's chip on his shoulder but now with the added bonus of a having a growing bigger frame to do it.
One of the biggest influences as I got older which I used as motivation was anyone who I perceived to doubt me or questioned my place on a team as I would love to do nothing better than prove them wrong and show my worth to the team by my play on the field.
Most memorable rugby game(s)/experience(s)/memories:
So many at the club level which I cherish. Winning the National inter branch championship with Eastern Ontario against a Crimson Tide side loaded with current, past and future Canadian National team members. At the Provincial level to finally win National Championship over BC with Ontario after years of getting smashed and to do it alongside club mates and good friends made it special and to do it two years in a row. Canada beating England in BC 1993 ,Wales in Cardiff in 1993, France in Ottawa 1994, Scotland in Vancouver 2002 as captain, beating the Springboks at Lansdowne Road with the British Barbarians in 1994. Four Rugby World Cups as a player with RWC 1991 and 1995 being the most memorable and special . Winning my first cap against Argentina in 1990 and in my last against Tonga in RWC 2003 all in Canadian victories (albeit having left on a stretcher before the final whistle in both matches!)
Best reoccurring memory is without question the distinct honour of representing my country while wearing that Maple Leaf jersey and standing on guard to sing and listen to the Canadian National anthem with your mates. To this day it still gives me goose bumps. I also loved the feeling of joy and satisfaction of having sacrificed so much to play for Canada and to be in the dressing room after a win and then out later that night with your teammates, coaches and staff to celebrate. Man the beer tasted that much colder and sweeter. Great times and memories of fantastic times and friends for life.
How did rugby effect/influence your life:
The bigger question might be how has it not. For a sport I had never heard about before attending high school it has been a major influence of who I am today. A day has not gone by in the last 30 years that rugby does figure in it in some shape or form. Though I may have some aches and pains to this day from playing the game (who doesn't?) but I owe so much more to the sport then it owes me. I have not held a job since I was 20 years old that I did not secure due to a rugby connection. Also the majority of my friends and contacts stem from playing rugby, I have had the good fortune to have travelled to over 25 countries and many multiple times, lived for close to 6 years overseas playing rugby professionally . To have met dignitaries, royalty, stars from all walks of life and by consequence ironically become a 'z' list celebrity myself to the point people want my autograph and have their picture taken with me!! Humbling without question. Of course the biggest effect and influence was the chance , to represent ,play and captain my country here in Canada as well as around the world.
Current involvement in rugby:
Since I retired from international rugby I have had my hand involved in rugby in some small or big way. I assist when work and family time allowed in a variety of rugby asks in the community over the last ten years. Happy to speak at various rugby and fundraising functions, pass on opinions, advice via internet columns, e-mail requests and social media. Since 2012 doing work with our Canadians alumni and now as of January 2013 I am now in a paid position working for Rugby Canada in a fund raising capacity along with Tom Woods and Gareth Rees to generate much needed funds to allow as best as possible our current senior members of our national men's and women teams to be the best that they can be when representing our country .
What are you doing now (residence, work, family etc):
I live in a beautiful house in a great neighbourhood in Ottawa with my lovely wife of 20 years Annette and my pride and joy nine year old son Rylan. Other than living overseas for close to 6 years I have lived in 5 different places all within 5 minutes of each other in the same area in Ottawa close to family and friends.
Input/suggestions for Canadian rugby and or young players:
It doesn't matter what level you play at , give it your 100% in everything you do in training and playing in the match. Rugby is a great sport and it is much more enjoyable when you are fit and mentally prepared . You should play every game you get chosen to play in to the very best of your ability with 100% commitment as pay back to the coach and selectors in actually selecting you to play. Train and Play in a manner that proves them correct. If you are not getting picked, then don't cop a bad attitude but train even harder and longer,- be a good teammate and be outstanding in everything you do and make it so hard for them not to consider you for selection in the future . Nothing better than proving people right or proving people wrong- but it comes down to you. Train like everyone is watching even when they are not and play as if everyone is seeing you for the first time..even if they are not. Make the most of your opportunity- the door is held ajar only for so long before you need to open it completely and walk/run through i