Well it’s official. Winter has started in Canada. Know how you can tell? Snow Flurries – perhaps. Temperatures that start with a ‘minus’ – maybe. The official start of winter is the building of the rink in the front yard. Yep. you know it’s official when you drag out the boards, hammer in the stanchions, and fasten the end boards in the quintessential Canadian experience – the backyard rink. Bring on the cold weather!
You know what else in Canadian – the Grey Cup. Congrats to the Saskatchewan Rough Riders who dominated the game.
So what is it about Canadian football that is different from the glitzy marketing machine of the American game? Sure, there is the wider field dimensions, 12 vs. 11 men per side, a bigger ball, and a few other assorted rule differences. But here are the real differences between a CFL championship game and a Superbowl game.
1. Cheerleaders in snowsuits, gloves, and warm hats – just like their mothers always told them to wear in the cold. Won’t sell calendars but is truly Canadian.
2. A halftime show that features – get this – flying snowmobiles!! Sure, super group Headley was playing (and were great by the way), but it was the flying snowmobiles in the background that were the all-Canadian show.
3. Team Horses that walk into a local hotel, right up to the front desk. How cool is that. The Stampeders rode their horse Justin into the Beer Bros. bar, a Bank of Montreal and the Ramada hotel on Thursday as part of Grey Cup week festivities. (not to mention that only in the CFL are there ‘team horses’!)
note this tradition started way back in 1948 at the Royal York in Toronto no less. Calgary fans imported their infectious Western football hysteria and it has continued ever since. Gotta love it.
4. Part of the opening ceremonies include branches of the Canadian Forces of course – nothing unique about that. However, part of the Forces include the Canadian Rangers. The red sweat-shirted troop are a volunteer force operating exclusively in the far north, with a significant portion of the force made up of Inuit, Metis, and other First Nations men. Reconnaissance, search and rescue, and military presence is handled by a group of hardy men that know how to survive in conditions so harsh that you and I might last 5 minutes.
And of course, Dilbert on sports…..