North versus South

I have my preferences, but I generally don’t join in the chants, the most polite of which is “South side sucks.” IMG_20180831_1923503

There has been rivalry between the fans sitting in the opposite side of the stadium for decades. When it started the field was known as Lansdowne Park. Then it became Frank Clair Stadium and is now TD place. Whatever the name, the animosity remains.

I think it started in the 1970s, when the south side stands were expanded. The football fans who sat there tended to be younger it seemed. Wetter too – the south side had no protection against the elements. Last night I sat on the north side. I’m a big fan of staying dry. There was no rain in the forecast – but I couldn’t have known that when I bought the tickets.

I remember what may have been either my first or second Canadian Football League game, between Montreal and Saskatchewan, round about 1960. Football is an all-weather sport, and when the rain came down the game went on. Montreal’s stadium had no roof. IMG_20180831_2111010As a five-year-old I didn’t appreciate the experience of sitting in a driving rain watching a game I really didn’t understand all that well. Halfway through the third quarter my father asked if I wanted to leave, and I said yes. In the ensuing years I don’t think I have ever left a professional sporting event early, no matter how lopsided the score. But rarely have I felt that miserable.

In Ottawa I have at times sat on the south side, usually when I had no choice. A few years back I was privileged to sit in the south side stands for what turned out to be the final event there, a soccer game. A week later they were condemned as unsafe and had to be torn down.

The new south side stands are much nicer. You can see the field from the concession lines, which is a nice design feature. You still get wet if it rains though.

I’ve always been a big CFL fan. With only nine teams, you can get to know all the players IMG_20180831_2143096and get a real feel for the league as a whole. The football is also much more entertaining than the NFL variety they play to the south.

Maybe that’s the real origin of the chant. It is not really directed at the fans sitting across the stadium but is instead a commentary on a type of football.

Given that, I’ll stick with the north side. American football has always bored me.

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