So it’s come to this … the nightmare Grey Cup. Calgary versus Toronto. The Centre of the Universe versus The Centre of the New Universe. Old school snobbishness versus new school arrogance. Ugly and uglier.
As an Edmontonian and an Eskimo fan, today’s 100th Grey Cup could only be made worse if somehow the Toronto Maple Leafs has found a way to weasel into the game. I’m excited about the potential for the game, but sickened at the match up.
I’m truly torn. My best-case scenario is a double loss, with neither team being declared the winner. I realize that the odds of a double loss are, what, maybe 50-1? So I’m bracing myself for the certainty that one of my two most hated cities/teams/ideologies will win Earl Grey’s “battered old mug” (sorry, just had to use that cliché). I know many Edmontonians find themselves in the same boat, so let’s take a look at both teams, and see if we can find a squad to “support” today.
Pros: Good for the league if TO wins, and everything in the CFL is about what’s good for the league. I like Chad Owens, and I’m a bigger Ricky Ray fan now than I was in his last couple of years here. And beating Calgary is sweet, even if it takes Toronto to do it.
Cons: Team with such terrible fan support doesn’t deserve a championship. “World class” city won’t appreciate the trophy. I am much enjoying Toronto’s decades of ineptitude in all sports — baseball, hockey, basketball, soccer and football — and I really don’t want to see that end.
Pros: Calgary IS in Alberta, and I’m an Albertan, so… I like Jon Cornish; always a supporter of good Canadian talent, and the fact that his mom is married to a woman (he calls them “my two moms”) is one of the best 21st century sports storylines anywhere. And he mooned Roughrider fans in Regina, which is both asinine and gutsy at the same time. I also like Nic Lewis, despite his appalling taste in Twitter ‘humor’. (Seriously, Nic? O.J. Simpson murder jokes? That is so-o-o 1990s.)
Cons: It’s Calgary.
So you see my problem. With both teams representing cities I am genetically predisposed to dislike, the tipping point comes down to players. And as you have read, I like players on both teams (Calgary storylines are better), and have no great dislike for anyone. So, incredibly, it comes down to which team has players I like the best.
Calgary has more players to watch and like, but I love the Ricky Ray story. Cast aside by the Eskimos in one of the great shock trades in Edmonton history (I recall some guy named Wayne getting traded by the Oilers a few years back), Ray winning a Grey Cup would be strangely satisfying. I’m an Eskimo fan — always have been, always will — but the team’s recent decent into mediocrity, coupled with its very un-Eskimo like front office fiascos, makes me want to see the organization get a good ‘smarten up’ kick upside the head, even with the creepy Eric Tillman gone.
So, that leaves me with one choice. With great reluctance, I will be cheering — very quietly — for Toronto.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go throw up.