Monday, November 24, 2008


The Grey Cup-A Great Canadian Tradition

For almost one hundred years, ninety-six to be precise, the Grey Cup game has proven to be a significant event in the nation. Most of the time, it involves a Canadian football team from Western Canada, and one from the East. The rivalry is never bitter, but it is important.

Calgarians came charging into Montreal from the west to support the Stampeders this year for the event. The Alouettes had earned the right to play for all the marbles to represent the east by defeating the Edmonton Eskimos in the Eastern final. Edmonton in the east, you ask? Just assume the cartographers have a little poetic licence in this regard.

After all was said and done, the Stampeders snatched a 22-14 victory, hoisted the silverware above their heads, and planned the parade. They captured the Grey Cup this year; however, the game was in doubt, in essence, until the gun sounded to end the tilt.

The best quarterbacks in the CFL took the field at the Olympic Stadium. Henry Burris wore the red and white for the Stampeders. Anthony Calvillo was at the helm for the Alouettes. Clavillo was selected as the league’s Most Valuable Player earlier in the week. Burris was the runner-up. He didn’t like that. He was almost gracious playing second fiddle to the great Calvillo, but understandably miffed. He went into the Grey Cup game with something to prove.

And prove it he did. He scrambled, he ran for important first downs, he fired strikes to his receivers. He completed his first eleven passes in the game, and gradually took the noisy fans out of the game. More than sixty thousand rowdies had packed the bowl in Montreal.

The Stampeders scored 19 of the last 20 points in the game, a true credit to the players, and to the coaching staff. They made the necessary adjustments at half time to create the opportunities to win the game. Burris heaved balls to Copeland, Rambo, Lewis, and one important toss to Brett Ralph for the only touchdown for the western side. It was an important strike, coming near the end of the first half.

With less than four minutes remaining in the game, the Alouettes trailed by five points. Sandro DeAngelis lined up his fifth field goal, and neatly parted the uprights. That gave the Stamps an eight point advantage, making things most difficult for Calvillo and crew. The Alouettes did throw a scare into the Calgary crew late in the game; however, time ran out as they approached the Calgary side of the field.

DeAngelis was awarded the title of Most Valuable Canadian Player of the Game. Burris, an American import, truly deserved his MVP award. Tears streamed down his cheeks while he gracefully accepted his accolades at the end of the game. Emotionally spent, the ten year veteran recognized the significance when they blasted Queen’s “We are the Champions” through the speakers.

Both John Hufnagel of the Stamps and Marc Trestman of the Alouettes have just completed their first year of coaching with their respective teams. It would not surprise me one bit to see their teams in many championship games in the next few years.

A great finish to the great Canadian tradition-the Grey Cup.

James Hurst.

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