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Massiah’s Message ~ Living in Rider Nation

Posted on November 20, 2013 by Maple Creek

You know, as I was writing the headline for this column I thought of that famous James Brown song for the Rocky movie with Dolph Lundgren, ‘Living in America.’ I just substituted America with Regina. It’s stuck in my head since this week the entire province is going to gravitate to Regina for the 101st Grey Cup.

I’ve never been so glad that it’s cold enough for hockey after I watched the Riders defeat the Stampeders last Sunday. It was like the Stamps didn’t show up for the game, but you have to also take into account that it was -17 C out there.
I love football, which is why I had to temporarily break up with football after the Stamps lost with the pathetic score of 35-13.
Anyways there was a lot of bitterness between sports fans living on the north side of town on game day last week. Heading over to a neighbour’s house for the game at about 3 p.m. I arrived to a nice green and white sign which stated ‘Riders Fans Only’ pasted to the door. Of course being a brave soul I still entered the home, knowing that I would be once more entering a den of Rider fan insanity as the lone Stamps fan around.
It was strange entering the game party, because there were louder sports fans than I. After all, I’ve admitted to jumping up, flailing around and screaming at the TV screen when the quarterback drops the football.
I screamed at John Hufnagel, the Stampeders head coach, as Kevin Glenn was taken out of the game and Drew Tate was put in. I raged that they should really by putting in Bo Levi Mitchell – like I have so much experience coaching professional football.
Whenever I go watch a game with some local Riders fans I truly can appreciate the fans’ love of the game. Well at least these fans because they are a special type. They scream, dance, jump up and down, and force you to give them high fives even though you aren’t cheering for the same team.  So there I found myself in the second quarter disputing a call alongside a Maple Creek Riders fan. It was funny in a way since we were both adults screaming like kids and sometimes randomly yelling nonsense or long vowels at the TV just to prove that we got in the last yell.
I think pro sports change the average fan, that’s what’s so fun about watching a game. At your kids football game you might not be painting ‘Go Riders Go!’ on your chest, but you must have seen those guys on Sunday at -17 C. You think that by cheering from your couch or by yelling so loud you disturb the neighbours, that you somehow will subliminally help your favourite team to achieve victory.
For example, I ran over to the United Church’s supper mid-game when Calgary had only two field goals. All of the Riders fans at the Armoury were whispering around me, ‘Did you hear the score?’ Almost as if to spare me from the pain, but when I got back the Stamps had got a touchdown. It was great, I actually contemplated leaving again, just in case that little act of superstition on my part may have helped the team.
Now that the game is over and I’ve drowned my sorrows for a couple nights, I’m going to focus on this last football game, like almost every sports fan in this province.
Honestly I’m not quite sure who I am going to cheer for. This morning I thought, ‘Well I could cheer for the Riders,’ since I cheer for them when Calgary and Montreal aren’t playing or when they play against Edmonton. I admit I find it funny how quickly after I expressed that sentiment I was hushed by a Calgary cousin of mine who stated ‘Cheer for Henry Burris’ the Ti-Cats’ quarterback who was until recently a member of the Stampede city.

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