BY Jeff Schneberk
I can’t believe it’s CFL football season already. It seems like it was only yesterday when I was glued to my TV set (almost every night) as the NHL playoffs literally takes over. It was like that a little bit during the regular season, too. Because of the ‘shortened season’, a lot of teams were playing 3-4 games per week, including the weekly telecast of Hockey Night in Canada.
The winter went by really fast. We go through the transformation of hockey to CFL football. It only recently dawned on me that my hometown team, Hamilton, will be playing every single game this season on the road this year. I used that as motivation for one of my first blogs (https://jeffonlineblog.wordpress.com/) as I looked at the stadium that will be the Ticats home field for the season as construction is underway for their brand new stadium that’s actually in Hamilton. Anyways, we are exactly halfway through Week 2 of the action and it still feels weird saying that. Winnipeg edged Montreal in tonight (Thursday’s) opener and the BC Lions host Toronto and they are murdering the defending Grey Cup Champions with only 3:11 left in regulation time and Argo QB Ricky Ray can’t get anything going.
Coming later in the weekend, the Calgary Stampeders are in Saskatchewan to play the Green and White Roughriders at Taylor Field/Mosaic Stadium and the weekends with my Ticats playing Edmonton at the Alumni Stadium in Guelph.
What I enjoy the most is scanning all of those headlines on http://www.tsn.ca or http://www.canoe.ca. Back in the (small) town that I used to live in 8 months ago, this was the time of year those guys (and girls) lived for. When late June comes around, all the green and white comes out. The local minor football association takes to the field getting ready for the next 3-4 months of the minor football and the high school football seasons. But this is definitely the time of year when those guys have the most fun. Football is huge on the Canadian prairies; almost (not quite but almost) as big as hockey is anywhere. The one thing I recall most about CFL/football on the prairies is that it dominates. Even tonight (Thursday), it is a safe bet that most of those kids that made up the minor football association, are likely sitting back watching Week 2 as I write this. Their passion is quite endless. It doesn’t stop on Thursday nights either; Friday’s were nuts for Wendy’s CFL Friday Night Football on TSN, and there would sometimes be as many as 4 more games on Saturdays and Sundays. As the season progresses, there is even more attention from the Saskatchewan boys, paying more and more attention to how the other teams from the West are making out, as well as the potential playoff matchups for the ‘hometown’ Riders. Not quite the attention the NFL always gets, but not all that far off, considering the size of this town.
This is however, the part of the CFL season I invest myself in the most as every sport (NHL, NFL and NBA) other than baseball is in its main offseason, but with an 18-game schedule and two bye weeks, just about anything that happens in a summer in the CFL, ends up going un-noticed.
Canada Day weekend was a very entertaining opening weekend for the CFL as usual, but once there are other options on the TV Sports schedule, I tend to ignore CFL, at least until October, when each game starts to actually mean something.
For more ramblings on the happenings of Canadian and American football, follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Game7overtime