Saturday 24 November 2012

Vacation, all I ever wanted

It is about 24 hours to go until the kickoff of the 100th Grey Cup game. The Grey Cup and the festivities around it are easily the greatest sports related party in Canada every year. Overall, only July 1st in Ottawa probably is the only party that tops it.

Heading just down the road to Toronto probably is not too much of a vacation, but the atmosphere is always incredible. It doesn't matter if your favourite team is playing, or not. You show up. You wear your team colours with pride, and bask in the love of 3-down football. Plus, there are lots of familiar faces that you'll remember from previous Cups, whether you've traveled across the country, or just down the highway. I'd rather sit in the nosebleed section during the Grey Cup than at the 50 yard line of a Super Bowl.

Plus, you have a horse in the lobby of the luxurious Royal York hotel. Think you'll see that in New Orleans? Not a chance.

Once you  fall in love the game, you'll learn there's really only one Uncle Miltie.

Seeing 41-year old Damon Allen celebrate a victory, and being named game MVP along the shores of the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, in a dilapidated Frank Clair stadium. An overtime classic in 2005. When Milt made an on-field appearance in 2006 at the Cup, the entire stadium was chanting for "1 more year". Even non-Winnipeg fans. Seeing Saskatchewan fans lining up to have their picture taken with Santa Claus at the Toronto Eaton Center in 2007. The sudden change in atmosphere among an entire stadium after the penalty at the end of the 2009 Grey Cup in Calgary. Bachman Turner rocking a halftime show in Edmonton in 2010. An entire stadium singing We Are The Champions in Vancouver last year. Lions fans celebrating the game without trashing the city, mere months after the Stanley Cup riots.

What awaits this year?

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