The Nate McRae memorial trophy was presented to the winners of the McRae Memorial Rudgy Tournament at the 70th Annual Glengarry Highland Games on Sat., Aug. 5. Courtesy photo
MAXVILLE — Nate McRae of Finch would have loved to have seen this event which bared his name at the 70th edition of the Glengarry Highland Games on Aug. 4-5. McRae passed away this past April with a rare form of brain cancer but his passion for the game he loved would live on as the Glengarry Highland Games brought back the game of rugby. McRae loved the sport and once said to his mother, Tammy, that the game was “a hooligans game played by gentlemen.”
His nickname was “Scotsman” and he loved anything historically accurate such as medieval times, Vikings, weapons, war strategies, and also loved being and working on the farm, and nature.
The 23 year old was a loyal, hilariously funny guy and could sing those old rugby songs. He was a fan of the Tragically Hip and the Trailer Park Boys.
The Rugby “7s” competition took place on the Saturday of the Highland Games and featured both boys’ and girls’ teams from around the area including the Cornwall Crusaders Girls Rugby Team, which McRae held in high regard. McRae played rugby for a Brockville U18 team before moving closer to home with the Cornwall Crusaders. McRae also excelled at archery during his high school years.
One of his friends and and former teammate Alex DeWitt was the main organizer of the event along with McRae’s parents Steve and Tammy. The Vice-President of the Glengarry Highland Games Lindsay McCulloch was so impressed that he declared rugby to be a part of the games moving forward. The grapevine says that there is interest for the tournament from other communities for next year’s event.
The tournament began near the tent area but the boys’ and girls’ finals were held in front of the grandstand. According to his mother Tammy, “after the game a lot of the players got together for camaraderie and told many great stories about Nate and said he was a unique big-hearted guy who would help anyone, and funny too.”