Friday, November 29, 2013

101st GREY CUP GAME!!


The 101st Grey Cup game anticipation started ramping up for me immediately after the Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the Calgary Stampeders by a score of 35-13in the Western Division Final game played in Calgary on the 17th of November. That win put the Riders in the Grey Cup game which is being hosted in Regina this year. This is the first time in the team's 103 year history that they will be playing in the Grey Cup game at home in Mosaic Stadium (Taylor Field for us old guys). Regina hosted the Grey Cup game in 1995 and 2003 but the Roughriders didn’t make it all the way to the big game in those years.

            The “I can hardly wait” phrases started as soon as the last seconds of the CFL’s Western Division Final game ticked off the clock, too. Try as we might, many of us are guilty of wishing time away with our sight so focused on a distant goal that we forget to live in the present. The older I get the faster time seems to go, too, so I make a determined and conscious effort to not push time forward. Regardless, it is a very, very difficult thing to do when events of this magnitude loom only days away. The waiting is interminable.

            As luck, if one could call it that, would have it, the weather decided to take over centre stage by bringing us January-like weather for Grey Cup week solidifying the rest of the country’s impression that we are in a deep freeze here in good old Sask-at-chee-wan about eleven months of the year. A reality we stubbornly refute while acknowledging that it’s too damn close to the truth! The nasty cold conditions seem to be keeping our minds off of the slowness of the clock as we creep along toward the game-time kickoff of the Roughriders impending destiny as Grey Cup Champions in the last Championship game that will be hosted in Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field.

             It is a well-known fact that the previous Grey Cup parties, and week-long celebrations of the Canadian Football League’s Championship Game in the host city of Regina, are arguably the best the league has ever seen. We sure know how to host a fantastic party for a bunch of “Gappers” (you know, there’s Manitoba and then a GAP and then Alberta, haw, haw, haw).

            Now, we’re at t-minus 5 hours: 31minutes: and 40…39…38…37…seconds to kick off and, as usual, the time has seemed to have flown away from seven long days ago. I am going to leave this article right where it is and go watch a few hours of the pre-game show and then I’ll be back with some closing thoughts after the game. Until later…

            Well, well, well…wasn’t THAT something! WOW! The Saskatchewan Roughriders are the 2013 GREY CUP CHAMPIONS! Again, WOW! Anyone who knows me at all will know that the following statement is a rarity…I am speechless. And a little teary-eyed.

            Of course, I cannot remain speechless forever so on we go. I’m usually not an “I told you so” kind of guy but let’s recall what I wrote in the September 19th edition of this paper shall we-“I, myself, am fully optimistic that the “13th Man” incident from the 2009 Grey Cup game will finally be vindicated in the 101st Grey Cup Game at Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field in Regina on the 24th of November, 2013, and that the true “13th Man/men-women-children” will have much cause to celebrate.” Told you so. You’re welcome.

            Hours old and the whole story has already become the stuff of legend. The freezing cold temperatures of Grey Cup week turn, overnight, into an unbelievably glorious day with sunshine and above zero temperatures and the Riders, despite a third quarter lull, leave little doubt in RiderNation that they will indeed be crowned Grey Cup Champions as they soundly defeat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at home in the last championship game to be played in their historic stadium in front of an overwhelmingly partisan green-clad home crowd. It has been over-stated and over-stated but you just can’t make this stuff up. What a storybook ending it was.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships,”-Michael Jordan (1963-).

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