Mushing season may be about to begin, but football season for me ended Sunday afternoon. Yah, I grew up in Saskatchewan and come from a long line of proud Rider fans. No, I am not one. I am a Stampeder fan, a die hard Stamp fan; the kind of fan who can recite the roster off the top of my head going back to the early 80's; who someday is naming a dog after Ken-Yon Rambo(because he's a great receiver and that's just a fabulous name!); who's brain is full of useless trivia about Stampeders players no one else can remember(Did you know Marshall Toner was the UofS male athlete of the year in multiple sports? Do you even know who Marshall Toner is without using Google? Didn't think so); who's parents called early today cuz they knew I wouldn't answer the phone after 2pm; who's most treasured possesions are a collection of autographed pictures and a practice football signed by the '86 team that my Mother somehow managed to get me for Christmas that year. Yup, she was the coolest Mom ever for that one! 21 years later, I still think it's amazing that she got me that ball!
I could probably type ten pages of why we lost today; I could blame Henry Burris for not showing up, for his inconsistency, for his damaged left shoulder; or Tom Higgins for sitting Brian Clarke as a healthy scratch; or for releasing damn near every veteran on the defensive line during training camp; I am still bitter that both Abdullah brothers were gone this year; maybe the defensive co-ordinator should have been fired months ago; for not using Joffrey Reynolds today; Maybe Ben Sankey should have come in; but in the end as it been all season, the Stamps did themselves in with penalty after penalty(Trey Young, you got lucky when the ref missed the retaliation call). Would they have got into Sandro D'Angelis range if the on-side kick had worked with 53 seconds left? It's unlikely, but this is the CFL and anything's possible; that's the great thing about the CFL! And Sandro does have one heck of a leg on him!
Potentially the greatest offense in CFL history, a receiving core with depth other teams can only dream about and for the third year in a row, watching games on CBC with the rest of the country in late November. One man will wear the blame for that. Tom Higgins lost his job today. The team just hasn't made it official yet. He knew he lost his job earlier this week when it was leaked to the media that John Hufnagel was already hired. That's not fair. I like Tom; I've defended his coaching strategy for years, but this is pro sports and eventually all coaches get fired. Tom Higgins is a class act and it's unfortunate he hasn't been treated with the same class by the organization. Good Luck, Tom.
I was a Stamp fan in 85 when we went 3-13 and almost folded in the off-season. I will be a Stamp fan in 2008 with a new roster to memorize--makes yelling at the TV so much easier. You know Burris can hear me if I yell loud enough, right? But for the next two weeks, I am returning to my Saskatchewan roots. GO RIDERS. If you are going to beat my team, the least you can do is win the Cup.