I saw the most horrible thing ever on Saturday, and it had nothing to do with Halloween.

I went to the Eskimos versus Winnipeg game at Commonwealth. The horror, the horror …

It wasn’t so much the game, which was one of the worst sports events I have ever witnessed. Yes, it was incredibly frustrating that Eskimo coach Richie Hall apparently didn’t even think to put in competent, proven QB Jason Maas when the extraordinarily inept Jared Zabransky was throwing four interceptions (which, at least, hit a target, which is more than I can say for most of his passes). It wasn’t even that the Eskimos didn’t just run the ball all game long, knowing that Zabransky can’t throw a ball, but he can run like a lunatic. (Fittingly, the Esks won in overtime on two running plays by Daniel Porter). No, crappy games happen. But combine a crappy game with cold weather, ear-splitting troglodyte rock and roll music over three-plus hours, and it becomes a true horror story.

I used to be an Eskimo season ticket holder, but I gave them up some years ago when their game presentation got so aggravating, I couldn’t enjoy the games. Saturday’s game was the first I’ve been to in a couple of years, but sad to say, nothing has changed. The Eskimos still insist on treating their dwindling fan base to a high-decibel assault on their ears, and their intelligence.

Why do the Esks insist on playing “music” at every break in the action? I guess they’re trying to add some atmosphere to a pretty quiet building, but the music is generic, screaming guitar, ‘raise a little hell’ brand crap that is played nowhere outside of redneck bars. Not only is the music uniformly terrible, it is LOUD, VERY VERY LOUD. What in God’s name are they thinking?

Then there’s the PA announcer, whose name I do not know. This shill insists on selling every Eskimo first down as it it was the game winning touchdown in the Grey Cup…”Porter takes it up the field for two yards, and it’s a FIRST DOOOOOWWWWN ESKIMOOOOS.” Then there are the endless pleas to “MAKE SOME NOISE FOR YOUR DEFENSE”, along with various other high-volume encouragements.

Hey, pal, we’re not idiots. We do not need to be yelled at.

I guess, maybe, if the game has been good, the endless assault on my ears would have been tolerable. It might not have bothered me that a 72-year-old woman won the right to try and punt, pass and kick for $100,000 (hey, lady, why the hell did you enter a contest you could not possible win and rob someone who could have won the right to play?). It got cold, too, which it wouldn’t have been if the Eskimos had the brains to hold the game in the bright sunlight on a Saturday October afternoon, instead of the chill of a late October night.

Hey, I love the Esks and the CFL. But until they throw out their game presentation and start all over again, giving their fans a little credit for intelligence, I’m not even going to take a free ticket. I’m done.


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