“I’d like to see them do well,” he said. “It’s my hometown, it’s still close to the heart.”
Unfortunately for Oram — and the players on Steers Insurance Corner Brook United FC, for that matter — the team did not do well. They stumbled to a 1-21-1 record, far back from the rest of the pack.
This third season of the team’s latest incarnation was supposed to be a year to take flight, but they never could get off the ground.
Oram knows the struggle is real when it comes to playing for a Corner Brook-based team in provincial Challenge Cup action. He’s been there and done that.
“Honestly, it’s a grueling travel schedule,” he said. “Trying to play and trying to travel every second weekend.
“I did it, and it’s tough.”
He points to injuries to key players on Corner Brook, such as Tiuri Lomond and Lyle Griffin, as daggers a team built around youth simply did not — and probably could not — survive.
“I still think they had some positives,” he said. “But losing a couple of good, young players looking to take that next step is tough for any team, really.”
Oram believes Corner Brook were victimized by some agonizingly close losses, especially at home, and despite the best efforts of leaders like Pat Fewer and Colin Lynch, they couldn’t get back up off the mat.
“Overall, I think they had good structure,” he said. “We played them in Corner Brook in a Sunday game (a 2-0 Mount Pearl win on Aug. 6), and they were taking it to us the first 20 minutes.”
It couldn’t have been easy for the team to keep its morale up, continue jumping on that bus over and over, and seeing very little reward for the entire season. Some might wonder why they would do it at all?
Oram, however, hopes Corner Brook continues to be a presence in the league going forward. He believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and one would only need to look at Conception Bay South — an expansion team that came in the same year as Corner Brook, and struggled even worse in its first season — to prove it.
“C.B.S. were in the same boat,” he said. “This year, they picked up a couple of players and picked it up and it was beneficial for the whole league.”
Besides, if Corner Brook left the provincial Challenge Cup scene again, Oram would lose a few games that he circles on the schedule the minute he sees them.
He says, especially when he comes back to Corner Brook to play as a member of the visiting team, the guys on his side know they’re some of the most important games to him all year.
“I still got that piece of me and they know that.”