Canadians Have Cold Balls

Well, folks. This weekend marks the 94th Annual Grey Cup.

What? You don't know what that is?

It's football. Yeah.

No, not like Soccer. Or "futbol". Like American Football.

We do SO have football up here. We have our own league.

Why do we need our own league? Well, it's simple... we uhh... well... that is to say...

Well, we just do. Okay? And it has nine eight teams: The Lions, The Tiger Cats, the Stampeders, the Eskimos, the Roughriders (not the Rough Riders, they were a different team), the Blue Bombers, the Argonauts, and the Alouettes.

No, there aren't any teams east of Montreal. No, I don't know why. I also don't know what a blue bomber is, so don't ask.

And we have our own rules. Sort of. We have one fewer down than the NFL. And a slightly longer field. Slightly wider, too, I think. Yes, that does make for a lot of punting. Also, there's no fair catch rule, so if you catch a kick, you're likely to get clobbered. And the football is a slightly larger diameter than in the NFL (hence the slogan).

Anyway, this weekend marks the one weekend football fans in Canada try to make more of an effort to watch domestic football. That is, if they can fit it into their busy Sunday of NFL-watching. Sometimes the Grey Cup even gets a mention during those games (I've heard... I'm always busy watching the Grey Cup).

I jest, of course. The CFL is quite popular north of the 49th parallel, and not just to NFL cast-offs and troublemakers. Despite chronic financial issues in team cities and an inability to compete with NFL salaries (average CFL salary: $55k Canadian*), the league manages to stay popular and relevant in Canadian society. I was a CFL fan myself until I met The Lovely Wife, who thanks to Drew Bledsoe and his at the time Patriots got their claws into her. She's transformed me somewhat. I do, however, have a very good friend who hasn't missed attending a Grey Cup in several years, but I suspect it has more to do with a weekend of drinking with his friends than the promise of freezing his tushie off at a football game. I really ough to weasel my way into that crowd.

The Grey Cup this year pits the BC Lions (8-1 regular season) against the Montreal Alouettes (5-4 regular season) in chilly Winnipeg (outdoor stadium + prairie province + November weather = "silly"). The game starts at 3PM Eastern on Sunday, so if your favourite NFL game is a blowout, tune it in. If you're not in Canada, get on a plane and come to my place and we can watch it there. I'll have miniature meatballs (don't go there) and popcorn.

* it's not uncommon that CFL players hold other jobs in the off-season. My junior high in Winnipeg had (now CFL colour commentator) Chris Walby as a substitute teacher (for shop class, mind you) on more than one occasion. Let me tell you, nobody popped their juice box when he was lunch monitor.

Day 17

Posted bythemikestand at 9:29 AM  

2 stepped up to the mike:

Tanya said... 8:14 PM, November 17, 2006  


Delurking to say that we live for the Grey Cup. I have my ribs defrosting as I speak and plan to cook up a wicked batch of tasty crock pot ribs for the Big Game. And wash them down with some imported beer. Very un-Canadian of us, but hey, we're snooty.

The only bummer is that I'm sure an Ottawa team will never ever have a chance to compete for the cup I'm stuck "cheering" for Montreal this year and Hamilton if they ever pick it up in future.

themikestand said... 2:47 PM, November 18, 2006  

Snooty is okay when you're faced with big-two beer :)

And what time should I show up? Sounds like you're having a bigger party over there.

I have no idea who to cheer for. Montreal, I suppose.

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