Far Too Much Football On One Day
It's the morning after. Have to tell you that I got whacked with a pillow in the middle of the night by my wife — and, I would wager, because I was talking in my sleep about football and football and football.
Yes, watching five high school championship football games in one day can do that and even send a person crawling up a wall. Not my idea, that's the way the provincial sports organization planned it.
I still don't get it. Judging from people who stopped me at the Rogers Centre on Wednesday, or the many more who called me to wonder what the reasoning was, the location and times for certain games, it would seem that I am not alone.
The National Capital Bowl (Ottawa vs. Peterborough), the Western Bowl (London vs. Sarnia), the Northern Bowl (Thunder Bay vs. Sault Ste. Marie) and even the Golden Horseshoe Bowl (Burlington vs. Port Colborne) — all played in Toronto? The Metro Bowl, well, I can see that for sure.
Attendance was very disappointing in each game, including the spectacle of the local gridiron season, which turned out to be a yawner. The Metro Bowl almost had as many penalties as points. If it wasn't for the touchdown in the closing minute of the game, with Markham in control 12-0, it would have been the second lowest scoring game in the 28-year history of the Metro Bowl.
Organizers will say that I don't understand and it was a thrilling defensive game. Yeah, right, with two explosive offensive teams. Maybe, the players were nervous by the raucous crowd, whose noise vibrated around an empty cavernous facility. I am surprised there was an admission charge when, just maybe, more people would have shown up if it was free.
Two of the games were blowouts, lots of scoring, and another almost put the handful of scribes (and lots of non-reporters cashing in on an opportunity to watch from the press box) to sleep. I have to feel sorry for the players who commuted from Thunder Bay and could only score seven points in their game. Well, it was an experience and there is no snow in T-O.
Maybe these games would have benefited from larger crowds if played closer to home, an idea that OFSAA did toss around, but sacked because they got the Rogers facility for free — a donation by the Buffalo Bills folks who are doing what they can to market the NFL game next week. Last I heard, lots of empty seats. Maybe some of the people last night got freebies.
Other than watching players try do their best in championship games, I did see a few odd things: Birchmount Park got a rare equipment penalty, the same team did a quadruple reverse trying to score — and fell short of the objective.
And spectators backing Burlington's Notre Dame, a team that capped a perfect season winning the Golden Horseshoe Bowl, had one of their own male fans stir the crowd — and send organizers flipping — when he dramatically removed his attire to reveal a skimpy piece of cloth called a bathing suit.
Oh yes, the food in the press box was much better than previous years. Lots of coffee to keep us awake. But pizza for five games? Enough.