The Grey Cup is ours and we don't have much; embrace it
There are very few things in the sporting world at the truly and uniquely Canadian.
Sure, we get jazzed about the Olympics every couple of years in the “us against the world” kind of way and we remain the only country on the planet that pays rapt attention to teenaged holiday pucks and every now and then a team of some sort catches our imagination for a while, again as much for its competition against the rest of the world.
But for solely Canadian?
The big game goes Sunday – B.C. at home against Winnipeg and we’ve long given up the West-East nature of the thing, I guess – and I’m wondering if many – or any – of you care.
You should. Really.
Yes, there are American players who’ll dominate the game and it’s not the quaint celebration of a unique brand of gridiron we call our own but it is Canadian at its heart.
Our game. Our rules. Our cities. Our celebration of the only league (sorry NBL) that doesn’t bow to the whims of American Lords and master and television networks.
In various incarnations, I’ve been able to attend Grey Cups in Ottawa, Hamilton, Winnipeg and Calgary along with Toronto over the years.
Each has been fun in its own way, most have been truly compelling games, each had an energy to it that was, again, uniquely Canadian.
Just because, right now, the Argos and CFL are so far off the radar here really shouldn’t matter all that much, there are huge pockets of fans coast-to-coast who will plan parties, debate players, watch intently and I can practically guarantee you they’ll have fun.
Way back in the day, on a street in a city by a border that had among its residents a couple of families where Dads worked in the States (hello, Barky and Bags), there used to be a lot of give-and-take about the relative merits of Le Coupe Grey Cup each November. There’d always be some good-natured mocking but there’d always be a party and everyone would appreciate, for a day at least, what the CFL was to the fabric of the country.
Those days are gone, lost amid the glut of sports on TV, the Americanization of the athletic events we pay attention to. But the Grey Cup is still “ours” and that’s not a bad thing.
Give it a shot, even here in the centre of the universe.
Oh yeah, I’m sorry, Coach Steve. This’ll break your Double Blue heart but it does harken back to a time when the team here mattered, doesn’t it?
So the NBL’s in the news (story’s here, if you haven’t already seen it) with a first commissioner.
Now, I don’t know John Kennedy from Adam (no, I didn’t ask him if his middle name was Fitzgerald) but it strikes me that the league fathers again got it right in hiring the sports/business exec as the first overseer of the league.
It doesn’t seem he’ll be the one to impost any huge amount of basketball dictum on the seven teams in the league’s first year, which is fine. If Kennedy can make some business deals that bring in some sponsorship dollars and raise the profile of the league – the first thing he said about some kind of TV deal had to be music to the fans’ ears – he will have more than done his job.
I’m not sure how each of the teams is doing in its own market with its own media but anything more would be a huge boost.
And in keeping with the idea that the NBL needs to start in precisely the right markets, the idea of striking a series of regional business deals with a national company – think car, credit card, soft drink company with branches in Eastern Canada, Quebec and Ontario that are autonomous yet under one huge umbrella – makes entire sense to me.
As you know, I think the NBL guys and gals are doing a good job for the most part and hope they thrive. Seems this is a step in the right direction.
Speakng of …
Help, people to the east of me.
There’s a very good chance I’ll be wandering aimlessly around the GM Centre in Oshawa tonight before the big Power game (yes, we listened) and I could use a good restaurant recommendation near the arena if the 401’s not the mess I expect it to be and I’m there way early.
How in the world I missed this yesterday is beyond me.
So, RIP Freddy Mercury, who died 20 years and one day ago and generally tops the list – or is in the top two or three – as the most talented pure singers in rock history.
I’ll admit I wasn’t the biggest of Queen fans growing up, music was good but it wasn’t one of those bands you “had” to listen to all the time.
But there is no doubting Mercury’s singing chops, is there?
Would he be No. 1 in your mind?
I’d probably have him up there with Robert Plant, Burton Cummings, John Lennon and Bono. Does that make a good Top 5?
Mail. Please. Now. Serious issues with the number of questions this week, I can only hope you’ve been holding out for the last minute warning.
Total digression but if I hear one more Canadian store refer to today as Black Friday and offer untold sales and specials because it’s American Thanksgiving, I may barf.
Or perhaps boycott them. This is their in the States day. Let ‘em have it.