I love Canadian Football and, I think, the Grey Cup celebrates Canada more than any other event. More importantly, it brings Canadians and their families together.
I look forward to the Grey Cup every year. My family always watches the game together. This is not negotiable. It might be the best family day of the year (even better than Christmas Day with my two-year old.... ok maybe second best) and every year a new memory is made in one of our homes. We always laugh, tell stories, and share memories. Now that Gracie, my two year old, yells 'Touchdown!' at exactly the right time, I'm sure we'll make some great memories this weekend. And Mom always makes a delicious seven layer dip. (This year our food is going to be the best yet. Check out Leilani's Grey Cup Grub blog for the Calgary Farmers' Market)
With this Grey Cup destined to be a memorable one for our family of Roughrider fans, I thought I'd share three Grey Cup memories that will stick with me for the rest of my life.
Please share your Grey Cup memories in the comments. I'd love to hear them.
Favorite Grey Cup Memory: 1989 Roughriders Grey Cup Win
My family was living in Regina at the time. Our family friends, the Werry's came over with their three kids that were close to me and my brother's age. The parents watched the game on a expensive 19 inch TV upstairs and the kids were relegated to the basement with the 11 inch black and white. With a few minutes left, we were losing by a few points. On the TV came two Mounties carrying the Grey Cup on to the field, preparing for the victory presentation. I remember my friend Brenda saying, 'They've got our cup.' I snapped at her not to jinx it. Sure enough, in the last seconds Dave Ridgeway kicked the famous field goal to put us ahead and the Roughriders won. That was the only time I remember the streets being loud outside our suburban home. That was followed on Monday with a big celebratory assembly at our elementary school.
Only Live Grey Cup: Edmonton 1997
By 1997, my family had been living in Calgary for a few years but still adamantly cheering for the Riders (that will never change). When the Riders won the Western Final, my Dad got on the phone right away to score is company's tickets. It was the coldest experience of my life. Edmonton is barely tolerable in thr summer, but it's totally, absolutely the worst place on Earth in November. I'd been to plenty of inhumanly cold games in Regina, but this day in Edmonton put them to shame. I had so many layers on that I looked like the marshmallow man and could barely fit in the sleeping bag that was still very much needed. Paul Brandt sang the national anthem and then sat just down the row from us; making me realize I was sitting beside his dad. At halftime, Paul Brandt said he was too cold and left. The look on his dad's face was complete disappointment; he stayed until the end. I guess the Grey Cup is also a special time in the Brandt family. Anyways, the Riders got killed by Toronto and Doug Flutie. Would I do it again every year? Heck yes!
Most Heartbreaking Grey Cup Memory: The 13th Man Debacle
Leilani and I were living in Taiwan at the time. Because of the fourteen hour time difference, I got up at 6am and paid $7.99 to watch the game in 4/3 inch box on our computer using this new thing call the internet. Since I didn't work until 1:30 pm, the timing worked out perfectly. I watched the game own my own (Leilani worked in the morning) as the hot sun came through the windows along with the smell of the ocean and fried noodles. It should have been a great day. Then the incident happen (I don't want to explain it, I don't want to cry, again). Suddenly, I was all alone a million miles from home. I couldn't vent with my brother. My mom wasn't there to comfort me. Grandma wasn't there to say 'drat, you idiots'. So, I went to my favorite breakfast shop and had a potato pancake with a fried egg on top and a cold milk tea. The old guy that ran the shop was always really nice to me but he didn't speak any English and i didn't know much more than 'potato pancake with egg and milk tea' in Chinese. There was no one to rehash with. No one knew my pain. I sat and stared at the scooters whizzing by and thought, I'll never get over this. I went to work and nobody mentioned the game - obviously no one saw it. By the end of the day I had forgotten about it and moved on. So maybe it was a blessing after all.
My prediction for Sunday: Tiger Cats 17 Roughriders 31
Follow me at @TimOlynik for my tweets during the game.