Tuesday, November 23, 2010


2010 Grey Cup

Last Sunday’s semi-final between the Saskatchewan Rough Riders and the Calgary Stampeders was played on the frozen tundra of Alberta, in the meanest weather conditions. At times, the mercury was registered at minus twenty degrees, give or take a few degrees with the wind chill factor.

Now we have not experienced those conditions in these parts so far this winter, but I am sure they are on their way. Naturally the game was affected by the weather. But the teams had practised all week in those conditions, gearing up for the big game.

Always a matter of inches, and a few lucky bounces, it is indeed rare that an important game between the Stamps and the Green Riders would disappoint. Not on this occasion either, for that matter. A tremendous punt from the Stamps’ Burke Dales was misplayed by returner Ryan Grice-Mullen. The ball rolled, and was cajoled into the end zone, and it looked as if the Stamps would pick up an easy six points on the fumble recovery. At the very last second, Saskatchewan’s Jerrell Freeman dove onto the ball, saving the day; otherwise, the Stamps would have regained the lead, with momentum.

The final score was 20-16 for the Riders, indicative of the play.

The football Getzlaf brother, Chris, had an outstanding day, pulling in important passes from Darian Durant, including a touchdown to seal the deal. (The hockey brother, Ryan, has had an impressive career with the Anaheim Ducks.)

The scribes and the fans of the Toronto Argonauts made threatening noises in the week before their contest against the Montreal Alouettes. They were ready, and they were hungry. They had beaten the Alouettes twice during the regular season, and they were tired of being perennial bridesmaids at the end of the season.

Someone forgot to tell the Alouettes that they were supposed to lose. They came out of the tunnel at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal ready to play. They led 17-0 before the game had passed the nine minute mark. They dominated every aspect of the game. They had 48 points at the end of the game, the Argos 17. Sometimes called a shellacking.

Coach Barker of the Argos summed up his team’s performance in this manner: “There are no excuses. This was a ‘we-are-not-at-their-stage-right-now issue’. We have to work our way to that point.”

About the only way that the Boatmen will get to that stage is when several Montreal players retire. As long as Anthony Calvillo is at the helm, the Alouettes will dominate. He has a bevy of outstanding receivers, complemented by a great running back. Avon Colbourne tore through the Argo defence, amassing 163 yards on the ground.

As a result, the great Canadian tradition of the Grey Cup Game is set for this Sunday in Edmonton. It will be the ninety-eighth time that teams have played for the silver jug.

The Green Riders and the horde from Quebec are ready to go. The Riders have a little revenge and redemption on their minds. In a goofy, quirky, and badly handled ending to last year’s final, Saskatchewan had too many men on the field for the final play, opening the door for the Alouettes to win the game.

That will not happen again this year. You will find designated counters working feverishly to make sure there are no extra bodies on the field. Twelve aside, in Canadian football, thank you. Kickoff time is 6:00pm. If you are heading out to Edmonton for the game, throw on an extra pair of Long Johns!

James Hurst
23 November 2010

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