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Canada goes to war against the U.S.


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Master Cpl. John Celestino thought of his country, his fellow soldiers and pulled for everything he was worth.

What started out as friendly tug-of-war between the 26-year-old army reservist from Windsor and an unidentified American National Guard member at a base in Indiana on St. Patrick’s Day turned into matter of national pride for more than two minutes.

And when it was all over, an extremely exhausted Celestino emerged the victor.

The video went viral.

“It started off as just being a game, something fun to do . . . but as I was pulling I thought how important this was to the guys from Windsor and . . . Canadians,” Celestino, who played football for the University of Windsor for five years, told the Toronto Star Monday.

“That’s definitely one of the hardest things I have done in a long time . . . it was a long two minutes,” said the part-time workers at Leon’s furniture in Windsor. “You can see at the end of the video I couldn’t even stand up because my leg muscles were too exhausted.”

Celestino, who has been a reservist with the Windsor Regiment for nine years, was on an exercise with the 31 Canadian Brigade Group at Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh, Ind., a training base for the state’s national guard, along with a 275 other Canadians.

“We were sitting around at the end of the (day’s) exercise waiting for the buses and we saw this group of Americans there playing this game and we were watching them and cheering them on and stuff when I decided to try it,” Celestino said.

The game he refers to is a kind of tug-of-war where two soldiers with their backs to each other are tethered together and the goal is to pull the other over a predetermined line.

“You start off with a lot of energy but I got more tired as it went on. I had to remind myself to breathe at one point,” he said.

Celestino said it was very close battle of wills and strength. “I just had my head down looking for that line,” he said.

After it was all over he got lots of “attaboys” from both his fellow soldiers and the Americans soldiers with the Indiana National Guard.

Celestino says he regrets not getting the name of his competitor from Wisconsin, whom he thinks has since been deployed to Afghanistan.

Capt. Tristan Hatfield, a public affairs officer with the 31 Canadian Brigade Group, said the video was making the rounds.

“We were surprised an excited to see how much interest it actually generated,” Hatfield said, adding the response to the video on YouTube were, for the most part, very positive.

Knowing "Celly", he is as strong as an ox (smarter than one also). His dad is a former lineman from the CFL and who is the former 31 Brigade Commander (also as strong and smarter than an ox)