Grey Cup Madness

CFL vs NFLI know what you are thinking, “Man is he late to the party. The Grey Cup was months ago.” Yes, I realize that but after watching the Superbowl, I got to thinking about how the CFL seems to be held up as the NFL’s poor cousin. I wrote this piece the day after the Grey Cup and then lost it in Cyberspace- space… space… space where no one can here you scream. Sure everyone can read about your scream and see hundreds of pictures of your feet along with those of your besties, but I digress.

Where was I besides showing my age? Oh yes, The CFL and the NFL. The thing is, I don’t see one as inferior to the other. There is a place for both. So this is my little recap.

I want to start off by saying I’m a baseball fan first and foremost. That said, I try to follow most sports, soccer and Basketball being the exceptions. So you could safely say that I am a peripheral CFL fan. I watched the most back in the 90’s when Paul Masotti, Mike O’Shea, Doug Flutie and Pinball Clemons played. Same can be said about my NFL viewing. When Doug Flutie stopped playing, I stopped watching. Thankfully, Sportsnet and Sportsdesk go a long way to keeping me in the loop.

The 100th Grey Cup was an event I didn’t want to miss. I socked in some wings and Jalapeno poppers, loaded the fridge with beverages and settled in front of the tube for some football. Guess what? The program coordinators, across the pond at Bell Can-India, decided, in their infinite wisdom (note the heavy sarcasm) that they would break the sports channels into two packages. One with TSN and one with Sportsnet (“Rogers” he says and promptly spits to rid himself of the foul taste that word leaves behind).

Here is a little writers trick, we now come back to the start of the blog where I mentioned that I am a Baseball fan. Blue Jays, to be precise. In order to watch said Blue Jays, I have to have the Sportsnet package. I also said that Bell charges separately for both packages and, in order to save a few pennies, I opted not to buy the TSN package, not without a heated phone call to Bell, mind you.

“But”, I thought to myself, “Surely a game of this magnitude for Canada, will be shown on CBC, CTV or one of the other channels.” Boy was I naive.

So I bundled up my snacks and a few beverages and trucked over to my buddy’s house where several other of my friends had the same revelation. There we settled in for an historic event and a few laughs.

Well, first Burton Cummings confused us with his rendition of the National anthem, then the half-time show featured a selection of artists that confused us even further.

I’m sorry, I’m really not trying to stereo type, I’m trying to illustrate a demographic. Yes I did take Marketing at Durham Collage and quite frankly, it bored me to tears. Getting back to my point. My buddies and I scanned the audience as the cameras panned around, looking for evidence of the mass amount of 13-16 year old demographic that the half-time show was obviously aimed at. We didn’t see any.

I understand that the powers that approved this particular brain fart may have been trying to draw a new generation of viewers. But I think the half-time show of the last game of the season is the wrong time to do this.

Ok, the NFL has been guilty of this lately, as well, in hiring the likes of Elton John,  Madonna and Beyonce. They are all well respected and popular artists but having them perform at a football game is akin to having heavy metal played at a church service. Essentially it was inappropriate for the venue.

Ok, maybe I am getting too close to stereo-typing but hear me out.

So there we were actually discussing why Justin Beiber and not a more iconic Canadian group like maybe The Tragically Hip or a Guess Who reunion or Blue Rodeo, Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, The Spoons, Bryan Adams etc.

It’s not that the Beeb’s music isn’t good, but it is just not as accepted by an older audience. Did he deserve to be booed? As much as I am not a fan of his music, no, he didn’t deserve it. Was it expected? Yes it was, but the booing should have been for the organizers that thought it would be a good idea in the first place.

The boos should have been for CBC for not airing this historic game for all Canadians to see and for TSN for assuming that everyone has paid the extra money to watch their channel.

The reaction to the booing has been amusing to read. They have used a hot and touchy subject like bullying to perch their soapbox on to defend their singer. In no way can a crowd voicing their displeasure for a particular artist or that artists style of music be construed as bullying. Justin would play, later on that week, in a stadium packed to the rafters with his adoring fans. Tweens that have paid money because they want to see him sing. The audience at the Grey Cup weren’t there to see him. They obviously didn’t want to see him either. They were there to watch a football game and, unfortunately for him, his regular adorers weren’t.

Marketing, nowadays, has less and less to do with what people actually want and more to do with what they are told they want or what the out-of-touch marketing execs think the people want.

I did feel sorry for Justin Beiber (Ok, well maybe not that much) and for Carly Rae Jepson. Both artists really tried to entertain. Marianna’s Trench, on the other hand, fell flat on their faces and Gordon Lightfoot? Well, he got the respect ovation because, truthfully, I couldn’t understand a word he said. Then again, that worked for Bob Dylan… in the 60’s! Kudos to him, though. I, for one, felt he was more in line with the audience wanted to see and expected to see at such an historic event.

What do I think the appropriate half-time show should have been for the 100th Grey Cup? A Guess Who reunion, Rush, Bryan Adams, maybe even The Spoons, BTO, The Tragically Hip. They could have done a tribute to Canadian music from various time periods and still kept Justin Beiber for the end. A short piece to represent today’s music.

The game itself? Great game, exciting plays, lots of alumni, a real treat. While it may never be the NFL, who really wants it to be? It’s just fine the way it is. Because, after all, we Canadians have three downs, wider fields and most importantly, bigger balls.


About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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6 Responses to Grey Cup Madness

  1. Dude, I’m going to throw out the disclaimer that I don’t watch sports at all, and have never seen a Grey Cup and only one Superbowl back in the late 80s (and even that was under protest and I actually left the room to do homework…yes, I found it that exciting).

    Having said that, you are showing your age. Yes, I’m sure no one in their right minds appreciates the Beeb. That should go without saying, but look at the bands you mention. The Guess Who (who broke up in the 70s…let’s never speak of their reunions), Rush, who are still relevant, Bryan Adams (who’s last hit was…when 1995?), The Spoons. Okay, seriously? The Spoons? As much as I had a deep and abiding love of Sandy Horne…my God that woman was hot…I gotta say no. BTO, see my comments about the Guess Who, but tack a few more years on before the breakup. The Tragically Hip…yeah they used to be good until they started going for most boring band in Canada. Seriously…you’ve got a drummer…give him a beat.

    Now, again, I’m stressing that I’ve never ever watched a Grey Cup, but I have to assume the viewers are likely baby boomers, so maybe some of those bands might cut it. But could you at least move it up closer to the 80s and 90s? Where’s Tom Cochrane? Where’s Saga? Where’s Loverboy and Honeymoon Suite and Glass Tiger? Alannah Myles and Lee Aaron? Come on, admit it…hearing Metal Queen one more time would be fun.

    Or, moving to the 90s, the Tea Party, Matthew Good, The Odds, I Mother Earth, Bif Naked (God, I love Bif Naked), Our Lady Peace and Big Wreck? Or, hell, even Thornley. Or Alanis Morissette.

    Or, entering this millenium, Theory of a Deadman, The Trews, Evans Blue or Default?

    Seriously, there’s so many Canadian artists and bands out there. As long as we all agree to never let the Barenaked Ladies or Nickelback take the stage, we’re fine.

    • Dale Long says:

      HAHAHA! I was just going for an example, and Lee Arron would totally rock. But I did stop short of Nickelback. Even they would have been more appropriate.
      Why you gotta hate on the Guess Who, man?
      What I was trying to convey, is they could have done so much better for such a milestone.
      And yes, I’m old. That and I have old music tastes, always have. Buddy Holly was my favourite when everyone else was rocking to Billy Idol.

  2. While football has passed me by since my high school days when we actually got the afternoon off to cheer on the Red Devils, I can still relate to your rant, Dale. When did we individuals give all our power away? Dylan Thomas’ Do Not Go Gently Into That Dark Night is my mantra mostly because I’m securely ensconced in that huge segment of baby boomers. We speak up and, yes, complain loudly. We like to get our way!

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