A duo of epic proportions

By Kris Kotarski

After forward Rajiv Mathur and defender J.P. "meal-money" Khouri decided not to come back to the Dinos’ varsity soccer program next year, they made alternate plans.

"We’re going to go across North America on a motorcycle," says Khouri. "And this Beetlejuice-looking guy will be in the buggy."

"With the little goggles on,"
adds Mathur.

It’ll be another journey for this duo, who despite their obvious differences are nearly inseparable. On the field, Mathur blazes past defenders with incredible bursts of speed (Mathur was once a varsity sprinter), while Khouri shuts down opposing strikers with his gritty defence. Off the field, the teamwork is even better as our two heroes manage to help each other in all sorts of situations. But it hasn’t always been like this–the two started out not getting along at all.

"I’m not going to lie to you, the first time I met J.P. I hated him," says Mathur.

"You’re a clown," he says grinning at Khouri. "You’re still a clown."

"And little did this Beetlejuice-like prick know that one day we would forge an almost Gretzky-Kurri like partnership that would work not only on the field, but transfer into a formidable relationship," says Khouri.

"That’s really what our university career has been about," adds Mathur. "Building and forging relationships."

While Khouri is still unsure what he’ll do after university, Mathur plans to teach elementary school putting his Masters of Teaching degree to good use.

"We’re gonna have to start growing up, not fooling around as much," says Mathur. "I’ll be teaching little kids so I guess I’ll still get to fool around.

"It’s gonna be weird when September rolls around. I’m gonna have to grow up. I won’t be going away for pre-season, I won’t be hanging out with the guys. Soccer season is short–we’re like a family for those two months, and [next year] it won’t be like that."

But even though the guys are sad to be leaving, they have enough memories to last a lifetime.

"Soccer is good in that the guys on the team are fun to hang out with," Mathur remarks. "There’s the competition, but at the end of the day the things you’re going to take away are the friendships."

"It’s been a pretty good road we’ve traveled together," smiles Khouri. "We’ve played together for three years."

Their favourite memory? Mathur thinks about it for a minute and but Khouri quickly says, "Tell ’em about ‘glass jaw.’"

They erupt in a fit of laughter but Mathur composes himself and tells the story.

"It was a cold and chilly night in Victoria," he starts. "Young, naïve, innocent rookies are out on the town. We still had curfew that night, about 1:00 a.m.

"I’m babysitting tonight. 2:30 a.m. rolls around, and there’s still two guys [with] me, ‘Diggler’ (Andrew Zakaluzny) and Matt Houston. Diggler is prancing around the bar like a reindeer, waving at everybody [and] Matt is going around grabbing asses. I’m just sitting there watching, knowing that we’re out an hour-and-a-half past curfew.

"Eventually, Matt comes stumbling up to me holding his eye."

A woman punched out Houston and he wanted Mathur’s help in gaining revenge.

"I had Matt in a headlock and a screwdriver in the other hand, trying to hold him so he wouldn’t get in a fight. And Diggler is still prancing around the bar."

Khouri, now laughing uncontrollably, adds:

"For the rest of the year, and possibly the rest of his life, he’ll be known as ‘glass jaw.’"

It’s these kind of good times the guys will miss. And after years in university and years playing soccer, they want to pass along their wisdom.

"I have a lot of advice to give," said Mathur. "All you guys out there, watch General Hospital, it’s not that bad of a show."

"When you’re going out to the clubs, you have to have your game face on," adds Khouri. "Bring your ‘A’ game."

"And for you soccer players out there, learn the Fort Mac stepover," adds Mathur. "You don’t have to be from Fort Mac to do it, it works for everyone."

Dinos fans will miss these guys, who despite their easy-going nature play hard for Head Coach Andy Gibbs. And of course, if nothing else, the fans will miss the stories, each more interesting than the last.

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