Gauss in this struggle to win

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:17 AM ET

Harry Gauss intends to win.

The victory would be the most important triumph of his life.

Then he intends to come back this summer and coach his soccer team.

Gauss is the longtime coach and general manager of London City of the Canadian Soccer League.

A week before Christmas he underwent a 12-hour operation to remove an egg-size tumour in his brain. He's been recovering ever since.

Tomorrow, he begins further treatment, going through both chemotherapy and radiation.

"I'm in the fight of my life but from where I was, I feel great," said Gauss, acknowledging that as someone well known in the community, many people want to know how he feels.

"I feel very comfortable. I'm not afraid. Compared to where I was, everything is a bonus."

Gauss, 54, looks great. He still speaks a mile a minute, rolls out soccer story after soccer story and hasn't lost his biting sense of humour. He talks little about his operation and the two days he spent in an induced coma, preferring to simply accept what is and get ready for what's to come.

He does tell a story about something he remembered from the time he was out of it right after his operation. Gauss said he kept hearing a song from the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers playing over and over in his head.

"That's a true story. I'd never heard the song. The song played over and over again in my head. I didn't even know who the Red Hot Chili Peppers were," he said with a laugh. "I must have been in hell."

The Gauss family has been a driving force for soccer in this community. While many other people would have, and have, given up attempting to sell the sport, Gauss continues to push forward. He's fiercely independent, preferring to march to the beat of his own drummer.

For three weeks Gauss refused to acknowledge he had a health problem. One morning he woke up and had lost the ability to read. He drove to Toronto for a CSL meeting and made a date to meet North York Astros owner and friend Bruno Ierullo.

"Four hours later he called me," Gauss said. "He said, 'I thought you were coming over.' I couldn't remember where he lived. The good thing is now that this baseball-sized thing is out of my head, my memory is better."

Gauss said he had the "ostrich syndrome."

"I'd never been in hospital, never been sick. I just thought it was going to go away," said Gauss. "When I went into hospital, I honestly thought the fairy was going to come along, sprinkle some fairy dust on it and everything would be fine.

"It was really stupid on my part. People who cared told me to get it checked out. I'm telling everyone if you think something is wrong, get it checked out."

Gauss is ready for the treatment that will begin tomorrow. One thing he won't talk about is the fact the particular type of chemotherapy he's undergoing isn't covered by OHIP.

Anyone wanting to make donations can do so at a TD Canada Trust branch in South or Central Ontario or through the Canadian Soccer League. The website is hopeforharrygauss.com.

Gauss is looking forward to the summer. Even though officially he's been the head coach of the team, with his game-day duties he hasn't had a lot of time to be on the bench.

"My passion is coaching. I haven't had a chance to do what I love for over 20 years because there are so many other entities to it. Coaching is what I want to do and that's all I'm going to do," he said.

The plan is for Gauss to turn over most of the administrative and managerial duties to son Ryan, who already handles the London City Lady Selects. Harry's older son Sean, will run Gauss's London City Pro soccer store on Horton Street.

Gauss's attitude is undeniably positive. It's not the first time a brain tumour has touched the family. Almost 10-years ago Gauss's son Paul, 19, died of complications from a brain tumour.

"I'm not afraid. There's no point," Gauss said. "I'm only in control of what I can do. I saw what Paul went through and until then, I never knew what actual strength was all about."


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