Well, another Grey Cup has come and gone. Congratulations to the Montreal Alouettes on their victory, but I’m not here to talk about that.
I’m aware it may not be considered fashionable to say this, but I enjoy watching the CFL. When I lived in Toronto for a year, the first live sporting event I went to was an Argonauts game against the Hamilton Tiger-cats. Right from the word go, I found the game to be extremely entertaining. However, I also had my first experience of an ongoing problem that the CFL has to deal with: a lack of respect.
This was the first home game for the Argos after Damon Allen broke professional football’s hallowed record for passing yards in a career, overtaking Warren Moon. Regardless of where Allen played ball, it was still a pretty big deal, but you wouldn’t have guessed it if you looked around the Rogers Centre. The stadium was only half-full for this momentous occasion and those who were there didn’t seem particularly bothered.
My concern wasn’t helped by three ‘fans’ sat behind me, who spent the whole game criticising the CFL. In particular, they kept comparing it to the NFL, basically saying how superior the U.S. version is.
Now this may or may not be the case, but if I wasn’t on my own (having just arrived in Canada three days earlier), I would have been tempted to tell them to take a hike and go to Buffalo or Detroit for a game if they loved the NFL so much. I’m guessing the punks didn’t have the money and were just looking for something to do, but hopefully you can appreciate my frustration.
What’s my point in all of this? You’d think I had one, wouldn’t you? Okay, okay, I do. My point, or rather my question is, ‘What can the CFL do to get more respect within the world of professional sports?’ I’m glad I asked. Here’s what I propose: