roughriders_fans-2I drove across Canada once. Along the Trans Canada Highway, I stopped to refuel with gasoline and energy drinks in a rural Saskatchewan town. When I went to pay, I was told by the cashier that I better get home soon. She had no idea I was more than 2,500 kilometers away from there.

I must have looked as though she was speaking a foreign language. So, she tried to fill in the knowledge gap, “You know. For the game.”

Buzzed from the tiny vibrations you feel from driving for five straight hours, I still had no clue what she was talking about. She, somewhat frustrated at my obliviousness, mentioned that kickoff was in ten minutes. Then, it was like a light bulb went on over her head. Her countenance completely changed. “You’re not from around here, are you?”

I said I was just passing through, and she informed me that it was usually dead around this time because everyone was home watching the Roughriders play.

The Canadian Football League is barely an afterthought for me, but here was an entire community of people so interested in the outcome of their local team’s games, that the whole town seemingly stopped what it was doing to observe and cheer.

There’s this strange urge within many of us from Canada’s larger cities – where professional sports and alternative entertainment options are more abundant – to mock the CFL as something for those simple, salt of the earth types in the flyover provinces enjoy. It’s all very condescending and hints at a lack of self-awareness.

We all have simple pleasures and differing motivations for seeking out things that make us happy. For sports fans of any sort to project their preference as superior to another’s is ridiculous. It’s sports. Sports are as meaningful as you want to make it. There’s no easily understood reasoning for why we care about it, and there’s no way of explaining why one thing within sports should be more appealing than another. So, congratulations if your preference for the NFL doesn’t allow you time to keep up with the CFL. That’s great for you. It’s great for me, too.

However, for a whole bunch of people in Saskatchewan tonight, the CFL is very meaningful. The 101st Grey Cup is being held in Regina, Saskatchewan, between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the same Saskatchewan Roughriders who prompt their supporters in rural towns across the province to stay in, and not frequent little gas stations just off the highway. I hope nothing but the best for them.

Comments (7)

  1. What town?

    (hey wordpress, comments have to be a minimum length now? how absurd)

  2. Where was this picture taken?

  3. Sry gotta say that… This is one shitty post/short story ever. “So, congratulations if your preference for the NFL doesn’t allow you time to keep up with the CFL. That’s great for you. It’s great for me, too.”—————-LOL what a dick.

  4. one of the worst blog / short story ive ever read**

  5. While your quick stop in Saskatchewan may have opened your eyes to the importance of the Riders to the rural towns, you missed the point of the what the team truly means to our province. Living in a large city, you have a lot more options for entertainment, which is great! The reason that the we in the “flyover provinces” appreciate a team such as the Roughriders so much is because it creates a community that spans the entire province and across the country. How many of the other sporting events have you gone to where anyone you could high five, cheer, sing, hug and take pictures alongside? Not just at the game, but in the gas station on the commute to the game or at a restaurant after the game? It unites us as a province in that literally everyone is gearing towards the same goal: a rider win. I have been to several NFL games as have other members of my community. I won’t deny it was a faster paced football game with better players, but the atmosphere was nothing compared to that which is found in Mosaic Stadium. Just offering a different perspective from a “simple, salt of earth type person.”

  6. I’d say this is a very similar to the Green Bay Packers and their fans. Small town, nothing else going on. Football is everything.

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