A “NOOOOOOOO!!!” usually brings up thoughts of the widely-parodied scene involving Darth Vader in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. But there can be sincere “NOOOOOO!!!” moments as well, and sometimes they even happen on game broadcasts. That was the case with Queen’s University (in Kingston, Ontario, Canada) football radio announcer Jesse Bell on Saturday, as he let out a “NOOOOO!!! NOOOOO!!!” on his CFRC (the campus radio station) call of the Gaels’ last-second U SPORTS loss to their long-time rivals, the Western Mustangs:
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“[Evan] Hillock drops back to pass. He’s airing it out, it’s going to be long. NOOOOOO!!! NOOOOOO!!! [Silence.] Touchdown, Western.” The silence and then the matter-of-fact “Touchdown, Western” really makes it. The further context is that the Mustangs were ranked second in the country while the Gaels were ranked seventh, and Queen’s looked to have the win sealed up before this touchdown with 13 seconds left. And Bell weighed in in the comments there, saying “My finest moment, buuuut also my most embarrassing moment 😂. Thanks to @prsvre_ for boosting the work we do with @cfrcfootball. If you love the passion, give us a follow. I promise you’ll not find any other broadcast as wild as ours!”
This spawned Twitter discussion as well. As CFL Reddit account noted, this was quite the announcing moment:
.@CFRC should be funded for the next 3 years off the strength of this clip alone.
Iconic. Inspirational. No notes. pic.twitter.com/3VCgBpjnvz
— r/CFL on Reddit (@cfl_reddit) September 18, 2023
That tweet drew a lot of comment, from Canada and beyond:
Give my man a raise. https://t.co/WlQRNf0EBA
— ?? Marshall Ferguson ? (@TSN_Marsh) September 19, 2023
I cannot stop watching this clip ??? https://t.co/TrCNyqFlnF
— Geoff Connor (@oskeewaawaa) September 19, 2023
THE VISCERAL REACTION HAS ME DECEASED ??? https://t.co/TT7k7ILjdL
— Stevie ❤️??? (@ohhistevie) September 19, 2023
Me in the back seat at the mcdonalds drive thru when my mom gets me honey mustard with my nuggets instead of barbecue
— r/XFL on Reddit (@redditXFL) September 19, 2023
I expect the office theme song to start after this..https://t.co/XPj79VeHOI
— Corey Allan (@Corey_A_Proctor) September 19, 2023
The agony of defeat/ thrill of victory always makes for amazing radio clips? https://t.co/s8jL4IlvLI
— Wade Zanchetta (@Wadezanc) September 19, 2023
This definitely does fit in to a long line of notable radio reactions. The CFRC account also chimed in with praise for Bell, and with a link to the full broadcast if people want to experience that moment in more context:
Our @queensgaels Football Announcer Jesse Bell loves our team and always brings the thrill and emotion. Feel the burn from last week's game, 49 minutes in: https://t.co/OA0kE6YwJj #goGaelsgo! pic.twitter.com/T2BqTtCune
— CFRC RADIO (@CFRC) September 18, 2023
That’s perhaps even a more passionate “NOOOOOO!!!” than Vader’s:
The Gaels have been playing intercollegiate football since 1882, and have been facing the Mustangs since Western’s intercollegiate football program started in 1929. In football, Western University (based in London, ON, and formerly known as the University of Western Ontario) has won eight Vanier Cups (most recently in 2017 and 2021) as Canadian university champions and 32 Yates Cups as Ontario champions (most recently in 2021 and 2022), while Queen’s has won four Vanier Cups (most recently in 2009), 23 Yates Cups (also most recently in 2009), and three Grey Cups as overall Canadian football champions from the era where university teams still played club teams (with those wins coming from 1922-24). So there’s a long and bitter rivalry here. And that ties in to how passionate Bell got about this call.
While this is the only regular-season meeting between the Mustangs (now 4-0) and Gaels (now 1-2) this year, they could face each other in the postseason. Queen’s lost to Western in both of the last two Yates Cups. The Gaels will be hoping for more this time around, especially with Queen’s set to host the Vanier Cup for the first time ever this November.
Disclaimer: the author of this post graduated from Queen’s, and can still sing the Oil Thigh.