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2013 Grey Cup; talked about for decades to come


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There was a lot of stories leading up to the Grey Cup.  How Kent Austin, current head coach of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, was the quarterback for Saskatchewan when he lead the team to the 1989 Grey Cup Championship over that year’s Hamilton squad.  How he returned in 2007 as head coach for the Riders, and helped lead them again to victory against Winnipeg.

Andy Fantuz, former receiver with Saskatchewan, now playing for Hamilton.  Henri Burris, a former Rider quarterback, now under center with Hamilton.  Luca Congi, former kicker for Saskatchewan, now using his leg for the Tiger-cats.

Those stories were talked about, but there are others now that the game is done, and the Riders are the 2013 Grey Cup Champs.

Rider quarterback Darian Durant is the ultimate professional.  He works hard and takes a very serious leadership role for his team.  Many have said it’s hard playing in Saskatchewan because the province and the team are so connected.  A small market means you’re under the microscope every day.  But Darian took his criticism in stride and didn’t let it overwhelm him.  He was a third string quarterback in 2007.  In 2009 and 2010, he lead the Riders to the Grey Cup only to lose each to the Montreal Alouettes.  But he now shares something close to Rider great Ron Lancaster.  No other quarterback since Lancaster has lead the Riders to more than one Grey Cup.  Lancaster was the Little General in 1966, 1967, 1969, 1972 and 1976, winning it in 1966.  Durant’s been there four times, starting three of those games.  Durant deserves as much respect as Lancaster has received in this province.

There’s even more stories.  The local players, born and raised in Saskatchewan who dreamed of playing for the hometown Riders.  Guys like Chris Getzlaf, Neil Hughs, Brendan Labatte, and Ben Hennan.  To win it all is one thing, but to win it in front of their home fans is a completely different feeling.

And there’s the story of Kory Sheets, who was brought down to earth by his teammates, to set ego aside and do what he does for the team.  Not only did he win the MVP for the Grey Cup, but he set a Grey Cup record for yards rushed with 197.

There’s Geroy Simon, the veteran, who had been in the Grey Cup three times before with the B.C. Lions, but never had caught a touchdown pass.  This year, he caught two.

And there’s the Riders head coach, Corey Chamberlain.  Corey is most likely the youngest head coach ever to win a Grey Cup.  He’s also only the third black head coach to win a championship in football at the professional level.  Mike Clemons of the Toronto Argonauts became the first black head coach to win a Grey Cup in 2004.  Four years later, in 2008, Tony Dungy was the field boss for the Indianapolis Colts as they defeated the Chicago Bears for the Super Bowl Championship.  Now, in 2013, Corey Chamberlain becomes only the third black head coach to win a professional football Championship.

In Saskatchewan, this Grey Cup will be talked about for decades to come.  There’s still people who talk about 1966 when Ron Lancaster and George Reed won with the Riders as they helped beat Russ Jackson and the Ottawa Rough Riders.  People still talk about 1989 when Dave Ridgeway booted the winning field goal with two seconds left to defeat Hamilton in a shoot out.  And they still talk about 2007 when Kerry Joseph used his arm and his legs to lead the Riders to victory.

Now, we can talk about Durant, Sheets, Getzlaf, Dressler, Simon, Bagg and all the others who stepped up and won the 2013 Grey Cup.  We’ll talk about it for a very long time.

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2013 in Sports

 

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Wednesday Morning Random Times


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It’s time… at some point

There comes a time when you’re waiting to do something that you’re not really that fond of.  It doesn’t matter what it is, but it’s something you have to do.  Work at a job you don’t like, go to a place where you don’t feel safe, be with people you feel uncomfortable with.  These aren’t decisions you want to make because you feel you’d be better off not doing them, they’re things you have to do because of the social contract that is pushed on everyone that we all be productive members of society.  Having a job is one of those things, going out and socializing seems to be another.  I can understand the former because you need money in order to live, but the latter really isn’t that important to some people.

However, the wait before is kind of a killer.  You think about the fact you have to get ready, whether you want to or not.  And at some point you just decide “it’s time, let’s go”.  It’s that aspect where you steel yourself as though preparing to do something you’re not overly fond of doing.

For some of those things, you can decide not to do them.  For others however, such as a job, a doctor’s appointment, getting groceries, those things you need to do.  Just take a deep breath, relax and take the first step.

The week that comes

This week is one that I’m really wanting to go by slowly.  Granted, it’s a busy week at work, so slow is a rather subjective term.  It’s been anything but slow.  The past two day zipped by rather quickly.

One of the reasons, if not the only reason, is that this Sunday is Grey Cup Sunday.  And the Saskatchewan Roughriders are in the big game.  In Regina.  It’s historic because it’s a rare thing when the venue hosting the Grey Cup can also claim to have the home team play in the Grey Cup.  It’s been fortunate that in the past three years the home team has been in the big game.  B.C. Lions won in Vancouver two years ago.  Toronto Argonauts won in Toronto last year.  The last time the Riders won the Grey Cup, it was 2007 in Toronto and they played the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

When the game takes place, it’ll be Sunday, so it’ll be the end of the weekend.  I’m really wanting the week to pass slowly, take in the stories surrounding the Grey Cup, and enjoy the moment.

The Riders have only won three championships, which isn’t a lot in their 100+ year history.  And this is the 101st Grey Cup.  But I enjoy any time when the Green and White get to the big game.  Lately, in the past six years, that’s happened four times.  2007, 2009, 2010 and now in 2013.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Life, randomness

 

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Canada Day: Opening of the CFL


Week one of the Canadian Football League starts up around the Canada Day long weekend.  While we had thunder storms a lightning here today, it didn’t put a damper on festivities nor did it stop the opening of the CFL season, which began Friday night.  The winners in week one were B.C., Edmonton, Calgary and the team I’ve been rooting for since I was a kid, Saskatchewan Roughriders.

This is the 100th Grey Cup, and as always it seems to hold a greater connection for Canadians than even hockey.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2012 in Fun, randomness

 

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Do you wear stripes a lot?


I don’t wear stripes at all.

I don’t even wear polka dots.

I’m pretty much a solid colour kind of guy. And by that, I usually mean black, red, green or white. Sometimes, I get a little crazy and I do a colour combo of two of those. Sometimes, three. Though never combining red or green.
Some colour combos include green, black and white. This combination happens to be the commonly used colours in the Saskatchewan Roughriders team paraphernalia.

Others include red, black, white and a splash of gold, which so happens to be the colours of the Ottawa Senators, the NHL team I happen to cheer for.

There’s also red and black, which happens to be the colours of the Outlook Ice Hawks Senior Hockey Team that I happen to do the Public Service Address announcements for during their home games.

Often, I wear white and red, which will contain a maple leaf somewhere in the design scheme. This, naturally, shows the devotion I have to the country I was born in. Yes, we Canadians can be proud of our home and native land, and I just so happen to be one that will show it more than just on July 1st or during the Olympic Hockey tournament.

So there you have it, in a nutshell, just a few of my fashion tastes.

Ask me anything

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Fun, photos, randomness

 

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To dome or not to dome


The talk early this year in Riderville has been about a few things.  Would the Riders defense be as potent without the likes of John Chick and Stevie Baggs who took contracts with Indianapolis and San Diego respectively, and the retirement of Eddie Davis?  It’s now five games in, and aside from an embarrassment against Calgary in week four, it’s not too bad.  Although, the Riders have given up the largest number of points per game.  Fortunately, the offense has been putting up numbers.

The other talk has been about a new stadium in Regina.  Moasic Stadium at Taylor Field is old, let’s face it.  It’s been there for years.  The same location has been the site of football in Regina for at least half a century.  There is a lot of history there, but there’s also some problems.  The stadium will have to under go several renovations to bring it up to snuff.  So the question is, is it time to build a new stadium in Regina?  And is it time to make that a domed stadium?

Football in Canada, especially on the Prairies, is not kind.  Saskatchewan, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary all boast outdoor venues, none of which has the option of a roof to cover up during bad weather.  The Riders, Eskimos, Stamps and Bombers have all played home dates in rain, snow, sleet, had games paused during a blackout, and in Edmonton’s case, mud.  Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton is one of the last football venues in North America still played on grass.

You might think that any one of these four cities would warrant a new domed stadium to make things much more inviting for the fans.  Well, there are some arguments for such a move.  The BC Lions have BC Place Stadium, which currently is undergoing renovations, so the team has to play home games at the smaller Empire Stadium.  And people have loved it.  The weather has been great, and you get a view of the mountains in the background while attending a football game.  In Toronto, there is Rogers Centre.  Home of the Agronauts and the Blue Jays.  Back in the day, when it was called Skydome, the retractable roof was great.  It’s still an impressive site, and with football and baseball always happening, Rogers is a stadium fit for a large metropolitan center like Toronto.

Then there’s the Big O.  Olympic Stadium was to be the crown jewel of stadiums in Canada.  But financial problems, and an Olympic games that put the city of Montreal in so much debt that they are still paying for it, became an eye soar.  At one time home to the Montreal Alouettes and the Montreal Expos, it was often stated that they wondered when the roof would get finished.  The stadium was built for the 1976 Olympics, and people still wondered in the 1980’s when the roof would finally be put in place.  When the Als folded, only the Expos remained, and it was embarrassing to see only 5 to 10 thousand people show up for a ball game in a 60,000 seat stadium.

Fast foward, the Als returned to the CFL, and decided to move into Molson Stadium, a smaller outdoor venue.  It’s been a perfect fit.  The last two games and playoff games are always played in the Big O, and they’re always close to or at sell out.

Now lets return to Regina, where the winters can be harsh and summers can be blistering, combine both seasons with a wicked wind.  You’d think that a dome in Regina would be a no brainer.  But there’s money to consider.  Who pays for it?  There has been agreement that the city of Regina, the Riders and maybe even the province could kick in some funding.  Now to get the federal government on board.  But for a project like this, the tax payer, because that’s who’s paying for it in the end, needs to see a quick turn around.  Sure, the Riders will play there.  But that’s nine games.  What else?  The University of Regina Rams, and the Regina Prairie Thunder of the Prairie Junior Football Conference would have a new place to play.  And, of course, there’s the high school teams in Regina that could benefit.

A new stadium in Regina could also attract some major events.  Remember the Rolling Stones playing at Taylor Field?  It was one of the most sought after ticket events of the last few years, because the Stones never played anywhere in Saskatchewan during their entire musical career.  For the longest time, after Saskatoon built Saskatchewan Place (now called the Credit Union Centre), big name talent was flocking to the city.  AC/DC, Def Leppard, Alice Cooper, Bon Jovi and more.  Those names still come to Saskatoon, and very few go to Regina.  Sure, Regina hosted Bon Jovi recently, but other acts are few and far between.

A dome in Regina would make sense economically.  Plus, there’s already several groups that have come forward to help with the project.  One of those has been several Tribal Councils in Saskatchewan.  First Nations bands in Saskatchewan are some of the most keen business people around.  Many reserves have gone from sparse and run down, to much more affluent.  There are, of course, always exceptions to every rule.

So with so many interested people looking at a new stadium, I guess the only questions left are when would we see an official announcement either way, where would it be build, and would the Riders end up becoming like the Minnesota Vikings once they got a dome and dwindled into NFL obscurity.

Until next time…

…keep ’em flyin’!

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2010 in photos, Sports

 

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That’s three!


Yes, this is the Saskatchewan Roughriders, not the Calgary Stampeders.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are the only unbeaten team left in the CFL in this early 2010 season.  After a 24-20 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos.  It was kind of an ugly game, as the Riders just couldn’t seem to kick it into gear until the magical fourth quarter when they seem to pull it out.  A great thing (well, a couple of great things) Wes Cates running for 83 yards on one play to give him 112 yards on the day.  If Cates stays healthy, he’s looking at a 1,000 yard season, maybe even more.  Doug Berry brought in a great play when the Riders ran a reverse deep in their own end, and Rob Bagg picked up over 40 yards on the play.

The Eskimos played a lot of dropsies, though, as one catch that would have been a TD was dropped in the endzone, and the Esks had to settle for a field goal.  Another was a pass and run play from Ricky Ray to Fred Stamps.  It wasn’t a drop, however, as Tad Kornegay stripped the ball and the Riders recovered, putting the final nails in the coffin on game number three.

Next week, the Riders are on the road in Calgary, riding a three game winning streak.  The Stamps are coming off a loss to the Toronto Argonauts, in a close battle that the Argos pulled out late in the game.  Really, that game could have gone either way.  How close?  Final was 27 to 24 for the Argos.  Have to see how it goes, but I’d say the Riders look sharp.  However, you cannot underestimate Henry Burris and the explosive Calgary offense.  I’m waiting for them to blow the lid off and put in an aerial attack one of these days.  The Esks now at 0-3, their worst start in 45 years play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  Buck Pierce for the Bombers is sitting out this week thanks to a knee injury against the Hamilton Tiger Cats and Steven Jyles will start.  Either Edmonton picks up the win, or drops to 0-4, which will bring up a lot of questions for the people in The City of Champions.  Meanwhile, Winnipeg could even their record at 2-2.  Have to see.

Other CFL action, the Montreal Alouettes hold their home opener after three weeks on the road.  The Ti-Cats are in town to see if they can prove that they are in the same class as the Als.  The BC Lions will try and get back in the win column as they are in Toronto to face a much improved Argo team lead by first year quarterback Cleo Lemon.  Lemon played most of his football career in the States and this is his first experience with the Canadian game.  We’ll have to see if he’s the next Doug Flutie.

In the meantime, I found this gem on Youtube, celebrating the Riders 100th Anniversary.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2010 in Sports, video

 

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Wow! Just… wow!


How was your Canada Day?

Mine was interesting.  It started with a slow start, but knowing there were a couple of exciting things to see.  It ended with some exciting fireworks, but sadly, I forgot my camera.  Because I was too busy going “Wow, just… wow!” after the opening day game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes.  The game started off bad, but then something happened.

The most explosive back and forth battle in the CFL occurred.  The third highest scoring game in CFL history, with the final score being 54 to 51 in favour of the Riders.  In double overtime.

To say that the game was incredible is one thing, but it included a moment of deja vu.  In last year’s Grey Cup, the Riders lost on a too many men penalty.  It happened again, but this time the Riders had time to score.  And they did.

After Montreal booted a field goal, the Riders marched the ball down the field and capped it off with a pass to Weston Dressler.  As Dressler said in the post game interview, the Riders were just laughing when the penalty call was made, and Dressler looked to Durant and said “we gotta score again, let’s get it done.”

This opening game for the CFL season was broadcast on the NFL network, and what a game to open the season.  The comments on the NFL network board were amazing about the game that got the ball rolling, so to speak.  An interesting side note:  Weston Dressler and Prechae Rodriguez both scored touchdowns last night.  Dressler, who won the 2008 Rookie of the Year in the CFL, was up against Rodriguez who played for the Hamilton Tiger Cats in ’08.

Others to score during last night’s game for the Riders; Wes Cates scampered into the endzone from ten yards out.  Cates hit the opening game of the season with over 100 yards rushing, here’s hoping he can eclipse last year’s rushing totals.  The Canadian Air Force continued to dominate as Rob Bagg and Andy Fantuz both grabbed touchdown passes.  Bagg’s came on an 87 yard pass and run into the house, while Fantuz’s had to go to video replay to see if he was indeed past the goal line when he caught the ball.  Chris Getzlaf added points on two point conversion rounding out the air force.  Darian Durant also scored on a short quarterback option play.

If this game is indicative of the rest of 2010 for the Riders, then the Riders are looking to repeat in the West and challenge for the Grey Cup again in their 100th year.

Oh yeah, it was Canada Day yesterday as well.  There was cake, and fireworks.

And… wow!  Just… wow!

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2010 in Sports

 

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