There's a great prairie tradition. It's called the Labor Day Classic and if you've ever lived in Saskatchewan, you'll know what I'm talking about. The LDC happens on the Sunday of the Labor Day weekend when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers visit the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The game is always sold out and is the biggest game of the year in SK. Until this year... because in 2007, Labor Day comes in November in Toronto!
I love the idea that Winnipeg and Saskatchewan are in the Grey Cup. I doubt that it's ever happened before but it will feature one of the best rivalries in the league. It might not be so good for the CFL in terms of a TV audience, but I'm guessing that hundreds of farmers sold a steer or a truckload of something today and started driving east for the big game. It's entirely possible that Saskatchewan's 5th largest city will be at the SkyDome this weekend.
I realize that there are probably more important things to write about today but... THE RIDERS ARE GOING TO THE GREY CUP!! This means nothing to most people in BC or other places, especially since the Lions aren't going, but let me put this in context for you.
Through an act of kindness about 30 years ago a cousin took me to my first CFL football game. It was at Taylor Field in Regina. I saw the Saskatchewan Roughriders play the Calgary Stampeders. Something happened to me that day. I became (for better or worse) a Rider fan. This has been a long and tearfilled journey. Like most fans, I hoped, believed and was then disappointed. My father in law said that Rider football and farming have a lot in common, they both leave you wanting something more. I'd have to agree.
Yesterday, we did something that I always thought would be fun. We went to the CFL Western Final and as it would happen, Saskatchewan was playing BC. Zack and Tyler (our sons) came along with us. They are Lions fans (being born in BC and all...) I went to the game hoping but fearful. Once I got inside I decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it, regardless of what happened. My decision was quickly rewarded after an early touchdown by Saskatchewan and a sputtering BC offence that couldn't get it going. I was nearly delerious at half time with the Riders still in the lead. Barb and I were smiling and high fiving. The boys were... patient but still holding on to the dream of a Lions win.
As the clock started to wind down in the 4th quarter it was pretty clear that there would be no miracle in BC Place for the Lions. While about 40,000 fans left early, we celebrated a SK win! What's most remarkable is that Tyler somehow became an SK fan (bandwagon only I'm sure...)
Zack says he'll be cheering for Winnipeg. I'm not sure why anyone would cheer for Winnipeg...