Kicking Off Grey Cup 2016

The Grey Cup game is being held this evening in Toronto, the annual championship of the Canadian Football League (CFL). ‎I had thought about going, but decided to opt for the pleasures of watching on television instead.

Being at a national championship in any sport is special, and I was very tempted to make the trip to Toronto, but it would have meant taking a day off work. If I had never been to a Grey Cup game I would probably have done it, but I have already experienced what it is like to watch a late November football game in the snow and cold. Television does have its charms when your feet are cold.

I consider myself a sports fan, but nor a sports fanatic. I follow the adventures of the local team, but, unlike many people, I don’t have a huge emotional investment in their success or failure. I do pay closer attention to the CFL‎ than most sports though. It’s a small league (nine teams) and a short season (18 games) which makes it easier to keep track of everything that’s going on. The rules are subtly different from its American counterpart, and I think it’s a more entertaining game. Strike that – I know it is a more entertaining game. The Grey Cup is usually pretty exciting; the Super Bowl is boring.

Tonight’s added bonus is that the Ottawa RedBlacks are in the game. They may have the worst team name in professional sports, but in their three years of operation they have built a winning tradition. This is their second consecutive year as the Eastern representative in the game.

The experts give them no choice. Their opponent, the Calgary Stampeders, are perhaps one of the greatest CFL teas of all time. They were 15-2-1 for the season, and one of those losses was the meaningless last regular season game where the usual starters were given the game off. Keep them from injury before the playoffs I guess. While the RedBlacks managed to finish first in their division, they actually had a losing record during eh regular season. On paper Calgary is better than Ottawa at pretty much every position.

But as the saying goes, they don’t play the games on paper.

I’m going to go out on a line and make a prediction. Ottawa will find a way to win this one. This is a team that battled through adversity to get here, I think their desire will make them successful.

And that is my collection of sports clichés for the day. Kickoff is in a few minutes. I’m going to go and watch the game on TV. I hope it is snowing in Toronto – that would make me feel better about my decision not to go in person.

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