When my Grade 9 students found out that I was a Minnesota Vikings football fan, I was really challenged to explain why. You see, being in the shadow of the Detroit Lions, anything other than a love for Honolulu Blue and silver required an justification.
My answer was pretty simple; I was a fan of the Vikings going back to when Bud Grant was the head coach. He brought many of the things that he had the Winnipeg Blue Bombers do.
Winnipeg what? Sigh.
It led into a nice discussion about the comparison of the Canadian Football League and the National Football League. It was tough for them to believe that there was all that much difference even though our school team played under Canadian rules and had a field that was the right dimensions!
I guess they kind of went along with me when I explained that the Canadian game was more wide open with the wider field, three downs, twelve players, etc. Either that or they just gave in to a teacher with the hope of good marks. It isn’t a completely different game; there are many players who come from US universities to play.
If there was any doubt the Grey Cup on this past Sunday could be used as a perfect example. And, it was so Canadian. From the snow to the game to the entertainment to the dog sled, to the Governor-General … This was all about us. Even in the middle of a snow storm, you had to throw the ball, although catching it could be a challenge at times. I can’t recall when I enjoyed a game more.
And I’ve seen a lot of them.
I can remember back when both the CBC and CTV broadcast the game. It wasn’t a case of a single broadcaster like it is now. It truly came across as Canada’s game. It is a shame that it isn’t on either of the major over the air networks. Thankfully, I do have TSN and so enjoyed it.
It’s a shame too that so many of the major headlines are about Shania Twain’s half-time performance. Granted, she was spectacular but there also was a pretty good football game on either side. We were treated to the longest pass and longest turnover in CFL history. And, the 105/150 on the brim of the Argonauts’ hats is pretty unique. I always wonder what happens to the red ones that would have been given to the Stampeders had they won.
The announcers indicated that there are discussions again about moving the season forward to avoid the challenge of weather towards the end of November. I’d sure hate to see that happen; just dealing with the elements reinforces that this Canadian game is, well, Canadian.