GREY CUP WEEK AT THE LEGION: PART ONE
The finalists have been decided! And now the countdown begins to Canada's National Party -- Grey Cup Weekend.
This is where we show the world that the word "Football" has nothing to do with a round ball, knee socks and the magic sponge.
Nor does it have any relationship to a postage stamp sized field and taking four downs to do what real football players can accomplish in three.
It's time for the Canadian Football League Championship Game and all the hoopla that surrounds it.
This week at the Legion, we're taking a break from heady insights into Canadian drama to join a celebration that rolls from coast to coast to coast. That's mostly because my beloved Saskatchewan Roughriders have won a rematch with the dog-ass Montreal Alouettes and (frankly, after the season we had) I'm giddy with relief.
But like any good party the first order of business is deciding what to wear.
Since this year's game will be played in an outdoor stadium in Edmonton the last weekend of November, the wardrobe choice is simple -- a really thick skiddoo suit.
Whatever your team colors, turn up painted in them instead and by the end of the first quarter, they will be replaced by blue and your nipples will be permanently perky until sometime around July.
No, as any Royal watcher getting primed for Princely nuptials will tell you, what's most important for an occasion of this magnitude is your hat.
While NFL fans opt for ridiculous cheese heads and Viking horns, Canadian football fans have always chosen to define themselves regionally. Calgary has Stetsons, Hamilton has hard hats and most years Toronto Argonaut fans are known by their brown paper bags with two holes for eyes.
When I was a kid going to Saskatchewan Roughrider games, the official hat was a sweaty green Co-op or John Deer ball cap with the team's "S" logo sewn or Sharpie'd over whatever was printed underneath.
But then branding and marketing took over. Fortunately, not the corporate kind, but the sort that comes from the addled minds of fans whose dedication to the Green & White knows no creative limitations.
There was a time when I, held hostage in Toronto, would have killed for the green and white rising sun Kamikaze headscarf that was Rider-fan de rigueur when we triumphed over the Tiger-Cats in Grey Cup '89.
By the time we won our next Cup in 2007, the official headgear had become a watermelon carved into the shape of a football helmet. A swell looking rig to be sure although it filled up with fruit flies on warm days and froze to your head on the cold ones.
This season, Saskatchewan fans decided to meld their love of the Roughriders with the official game beverage (six to twelve Pilsners) and they began to origami beer boxes into game day cowboy hats.
So whether your beverage of choice is Western Canadian Pilsner or Quebec Bras D'Or or Black Horse, the requisite haberdashery for Sunday's tilt is the box it came in -- suitably reconfigured.
And you Brits contemplating what kind of chapeau might best represent your own national pride come Will & Kate's big day might want to consider eschewing the design mavens and donning a fashionable and much more economically feasible Double Diamond or Watney's Red Barrel instead.
If you don't know how to turn a beer box into a cowboy hat, an instructional video is appended below.
And for those who come here for screenwriting insight, you can't create much better regional dialect than the accompanying narration (ie: "Just shit-can that piece", "This part which was un-molested" or "Make an all the way through hole").
Get busy, because we'll have more Grey Cup fun tomorrow and every day this week.
"Go Riders" (or "Allons les Alouettes" if you must)!