Sunday, June 26, 2022

Around the Slurpee Machine

It took a few days but the sun finally came up Sunday after the Saskatchewan Roughriders loss to the Montreal Alouettes.  It finally came up because it's been raining more or less constantly since my city saw bizarre flooding in various parts since last Monday.  "Sandra, I saw someone swimming to their car!" a high school piano student told me before laughing hysterically.  

If anyone looked like they were drowning, it was my Riders.  Ufdah, my mother in law would say.  Nothing went right Thursday night.  Nothing.  I mean, they didn't even win the coin toss.  It was that bad.  There's probably not much that I could say that hasn't already been said.  What the heck, let's rehash it anyway.

I want to be clear - these are not excuses.  More of a timeline of events.

My Roughriders had played Saturday in Edmonton.  They arrived back in Regina about 3am Sunday morning.  Monday was a rest day.  Tuesday was practice and although I wasn't there so I really don't know, I have my doubts that it was anything more than a walk through and meetings.  Wednesday was another travel day.  Game day in Montreal Thursday.

There was no way a team could be victorious against another team who actually was rested and had a full week to game plan and practice.  * shrugs *

I saw a comment on one of the Roughriders Facebook posts saying that they're professional athletes and they should have been able to play regardless of the schedule.  Sure, the schedule is the schedule and there's not much that can be done about it - EXCEPT, at the league level why are they doing this to teams in the first place?  Does anyone stop and think, geez that's a quick turn around.  Maybe not.  Maybe that commenter is correct.  Using this theory, what will it be like for a team to play on the west coast and then, whenever the Maritimes finally gets a team, turnaround in a short week and play on the east coast.

While we're at it - do we really like Thursday night games at all?  We don't even have a Thursday night football song anymore.  Where did Long Live the Night or that Relationship Goals guy go?  Poof.  I know in Rider Nation, we HATE Thursday night games especially at home.  They're too hard to get to after working all day and then we have to work the next day so most of us can't go anyway.

The only highlight of Thursday night CFL football is the sponsor.  7-11  Back in another lifetime, Hubby and I always went to the 7-11 on the corner of 22nd Street and 2nd Avenue in Prince Albert for nachos.  It's not there anymore.  Word around the slurpee machine and through the Twitter grapevine is that in Toronto the 7-11 has Argonauts collectable travel cups for your drinks!  Wait, or do they?  Steph (@shuds16) has been on the hunt in Calgary and hasn't found Stamps cups.  Jamie the Pot Stirrer (ABC Football Mod) stopped in another 7-11 location in my old stomping grounds and the staff hadn't even heard of these cups.  Good grief.  We have this potentially really cool thing for fans to get into collecting the cups aaaannnnd we can't find them.

The CFL - so close yet so far away.

How very Canadian eh.

So my Riders get a chance at redemption this Saturday July 2nd when the Gary Stern promoted Al's visit Mosaic Stadium.  Shaq Evans now has a fractured ankle and while the Riders have lot's of depth at WR who will they slot in as his replacement?  Dan Clark's replacement was thrown to the wolves Thursday but how will Logan Bandy improve after a full week of practice?  Will Cody still have the leg brace?  Will the players finally get the message about penalties and hold each other accountable to get them under control?  Will Jason Maas improve his offensive play call or keep waiting until the 3rd quarter to adjust?  Even Kaare Vedvik will be under the microscope since even his performance wasn't safe from scrutiny on the Post Game call in shows.  Nothing made me laugh harder when I heard people upset with the kicker.  After a complete team collapse - no one was safe.  Even poor Creepy Gainer might get the stink eye of judgement this week.

One thing is for sure.  The Saskatchewan Roughriders have learned a hard lesson.  I will be watching closely to see how they respond.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Welcome Back CFL

It's been a while.

We've made it.  We've finally made it.  The CFL season is upon us and all the drama of the CBA and pandemic and whatever other crisis seems to be behind us.  I've had a busy spring and lot's of drama of my own so I am more than prepared to dive into this 2022 season of Roughrider football and there's plenty to look forward to after all.

My Saskatchewan Roughriders are hosting the 2022 Grey Cup.  They were originally scheduled to host in 2020 and...well, we all know what happened there.  That certainly doesn't mean they are favourites to win by any means.  In fact, Winnipeg Blue Bomber fans, who have just received replica Grey Cup rings, are licking their chops and calling for a threepeat.  GAG.  Don't get me wrong.  There are a couple really great Blue Bomber fans out there and while I know there are bad fans in every fanbase across the league, there is something about these blue and gold fans that just grate on my last nerve and gets under my skin like no other.

Except Stampeder fans.  Yeah, some of those fan interactions are "fun" too.  I had one last week call me to my face a Gopher Lover.  Well, sir, there is no other team in the CFL I'd rather align myself with other than the Creepy Gainer led green and white.  So yeah, I'm a Gopher Lover.  I wear my pride whenever I can.  I honestly think he was just jealous and likes to try to get a rise out of me.  I did point out his QB threw a number of picks in the Stampeders preseason showing last week.

Anyhow, one fan who is terrific and we lost back in April was Tony Bryce.  Many knew him as AmericanCFLFan on Twitter.  Tony was a lovely man.  He was an Argonauts fan but honestly he just loved CFL football and many things related to Canada including the Blue Jays and Raptors.  He was proud of his Redblacks flag which had his name printed on it and his other CFL gear.  He often said he tried to like the Roughriders but the fans were just too much for him.  Every day Tony would send me a greeting and check up on me and I'd do the same for him.  We shared a friendship across countries and often shared our love of recipes, baking, cooking shows and travel especially to New York City.  I knew back in April when he was suddenly missing that something had gone wrong. I found out he'd suddenly taken ill and passed away.  It's taken me several weeks to put together these words in this blog because even though I never knew him personally I was glad to have come across him on social media.

We've lost a lot these past couple of years.  Some have lost friends and family members.  My family has lost three. There's no doubt the CFL fanbase will have changed.  In our current climate gas prices are constantly increasing and new choices are constantly having to be being made.  I hope I'm wrong but I don't see a lot of sell outs this year and you bet the Roughriders who have a record of sell outs will be criticized for low attendance.  Heck, they already were in preseason.  

Here are the things I'd rather talk about.  Will the Riders have a running game?  How will Andrew Harris perform as an Argo?  Bo Levi wasn't the QB last year who we've seen in the past - will he regain his stature?  How many sacks will surfing Charleston get?  

I'm not into making predictions of who will end up in Regina in November but my little green heart sure hopes it's my Saskatchewan Roughriders.  Let's make it a memorable season.  Let's enjoy the ride.  Even though I won't be at the game Saturday you can bet I will be repping my team Saturday (and most days honestly).  After all, once the CFL season begins there are no other colours in the wardrobe except for green and white. 

As always, Go Riders!