It’s Grey Cup week! Our national championship, once also known as the Grand National Drunk, always used to unify the country in a spirit of rivalry and revelry. Grey Cup parties were highlights of the pre-Christmas social calendar.
I grew up in Winnipeg, but my family was from Saskatchewan. It was great to be a Roughrider fan during the Ron Lancaster – George Reed era, and all the more so when we could hold it over those hapless Winnipeg Blue Bombers supporters.
There was a time when the Eastern and Western Conferences of the CFL didn’t play a fully interlocking schedule. Fans identified heavily with their own team, of course, but at Grey Cup they came together to support the representative of their own conference. It was East vs West, and all the intensity that we now misspend on politics was laid out where it really mattered: on the frozen football field.
It was a more innocent time in many ways, with less-sophisticated media and a better sense of fun.
Canadian football has developed and improved, and the Grey Cup game is usually a brilliant showcase of how exciting it can be. I always enjoy it.
But I love the hokey nostalgia just as much—I can imagine myself attending the game in a raccoon coat and a porkpie hat with an upturned brim, clutching a flask in one hand and a bamboo cane with a WEST pennant in the other.
It’s the Argonauts against the Blue Bombers on Sunday. I’m looking forward to a good game, with great snacks and of course a little something to wash them down with. And I’m cheering for the West—even if it is the Bombers.