It’s Gray Cup weekend. But to a CFL fan, it looks like Christmas.
Oh, wait. This is almost Christmas.
Instead of a holiday season, we’re always talking about the football season and the last Gray Cup to play on the calendar since December 11, 1937, when the Toronto Argonauts defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in an incredible offensive display. .. 4- 3. It was the day the infamous “Argo Bounce” was born.
I remember that 25th Gray Cup at Varsity Stadium well. OK, just kidding, but I’ve been in the league for four decades and for the first time in quite some time, not as a broadcaster but as an observer, writer and spectator. And like most CFL fans, I’m looking forward to the 108th championship.
That’s because we’ve been waiting for this moment for over two years – 749 days to be precise.
There was no Gray Cup a year ago. There were no games. The CFL has become the only professional sports league in North America to close due to the pandemic. And as the stadiums were silenced, rumors surrounding the future of Canadian football grew louder and louder, leaving many players and fans wondering if the CFL would return.
But we’ve heard those voices before. If you’ve been around this game, if you’ve followed the rebounding CFL football, you know the financial tightrope that a number of teams have had to walk in order to survive. Netflix or Prime couldn’t make a series with the drama this league has had to endure. Ted Lasso may have struggled to find a way to “believe”.
Yet somehow, despite all the internal and eternal forces that threatened to destroy an often creaky foundation, the house still stands. In a year full of sports comebacks, this could be the best.
In many ways, the CFL is a lot like George Chuvalo. The great legend of heavyweight boxing in Canada. The adorable champion, despite thousands of shots over many years, has never been knocked down.
So how does the Chuvalo Football League stay on its feet, season after season, decade after decade, even after a global pandemic? It’s not so much the how as the why.
Why? Because no matter how many times the CFL faces a challenge, and trust me, they have a lot of them right now, the league is finding a way to get back to what it was, even in 1937. That’s something you can’t describe. It is something that you can only feel. And that feeling comes on game days. Great Canadian days of play. Days when rivalries are heightened, memories are created, original rules unfold, amazing things happen and something you have never seen before gives you “feelings”.
That’s what I had when I called the season opener in Winnipeg in August, featuring the same two teams, the Blue Bombers and the Tiger-Cats, which meet in Hamilton on Sunday.
I can’t remember all the details of the game, which the Bombers won 19-6 – thank goodness for YouTube – but I won’t forget that feeling before kick-off with the sunset, the lights going on. light up, loud music and canadian football fans gathered in a stadium again for the love of their team and the love of the game. something in my eye, as I said the only two words that could come to mind: “Welcome. “I had the” feelings “.
Four months later, they are back. Football season. Holiday season. For a CFL fan, this game could be the greatest gift of all.
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