Saturday, November 27, 2010

Respect Your Opponent


CFL Toronto Argonauts - Montreal Alouettes

"You shall judge a man by his foes as well as by his friends." - Joseph Conrad

Although I've mostly talked about my Saskatchewan Roughriders this week, there is another team competing for the Grey Cup tomorrow night, a damn good one…

Led Anthony Calvillo, undeniably the best quarterback in the league and a brilliant head coach in Marc Trestman, this season's Montreal Alouettes feature explosive slot back Ben Cahoon, two-time Best CFL Lineman Scott Flory and an unparalleled offense killer in linebacker Chip Cox.

Any one of these guys could be a game changer. But they're only some of the 9 Alouettes in the starting line-up who have been selected to the 2010 CFL All Star team. This is a force to be reckoned with…

The way the world works these days, people are often dismissed out of hand as Left or Right, Hot or Not, worthy or un of consideration. We've become conditioned to judge based on our own ideologies, our biases and what is valued within our own realms of work and society.

Too often we end up thinking that the rest of the world operates (or ought to operate) the way the flowers who inhabit our own little hothouse do. We forget to give the Devil his due --  and inevitably he comes to collect -- upsetting all the beliefs we thought were immutable in the process.

There were no undefeated teams this CFL season. The football Gods did not relentlessly side with star players over less talented rivals. In this game of perfect timing and well-oiled machines, there were still opponents aplenty who bested those who didn't give them their full measure of respect.

Every single team in the league boasted players who were nameless before moments of spectacular athleticism, guys who suddenly had to be considered by next week's opposites, whose newfound respect changed the plays on the chalkboard, altered strategy and made the game even more interesting and unpredictable.

It's been that way for more than 100 years in Canadian football. There isn't a single team in the league who hasn't hoisted the Grey Cup, known dynasties or created stars out of players everybody else had given up on. Players who fans everywhere remember generations later.

It takes two great teams to play a championship game and those teams owe much of who they now are to the men they faced in the battles that got them to this final battle. Your enemies make you as much who you are as those who stand beside you. They deserve the same appreciation you accord your friends.

So let's close this week of football celebration with a tribute to all the teams who built the Grey Cup into the special Canadian tradition it has become.

Have a great Grey Cup. May the best team win. And may the one that loses earn your undying respect.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jim, thanks for a great series of posts this week. I have always been a cat lover and so the Ticats were my team as a kid. Two of my favorite memories were attending in Ottawa the first of what was then a two game total points semi-final which the Tabbies won 45-0, making the return game in Hamilton just a celebration. The other was meeting Bernie Faloney one year just hours after the Cats lost in the Grey Cup; he spent about three seconds, maybe two, saying hello as he jaunted after a young woman he was pursuing, who I guess gave him more consolation than a 10-year old fan.
Barry Kiefl