Volume 95, Issue 50

Thursday, November 29, 2001
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Every day is a great one for Walter Gretzky

Canada's other cup

Sprinting to track supremacy

Peaks and valleys

Canada's other cup

Standing O
Ryan Dixon
Sports Editor

In the first quarter I was mildly interested, at half time I was hooked.

By the fourth quarter I was drinking a Canadian with the red maple leaf resting gingerly on the shoulders of my flannel jacket.

There is something beautifully Canadian about the Grey Cup.

For those of you who don't know, the Grey Cup is the championship game of the football juggernaut known as the Canadian Football League. It's a game featuring two teams that may or may not have winning records with rosters jammed full of players who make more money as bar bouncers in the off-season then they do playing football.

Apparently, that's a recipe for entertainment.

There are people who would have you believe the CFL should just pack up their balls, take their three downs and go home.

But, the Grey Cup reminds us why we need the CFL. Aside from providing the fodder for many hilarious Simpsons jokes, we need Canadian football to teach us the lesson that less is always more.

Three downs is the way to go. Why the hell does the NFL need that extra down? All that ever happens is the quarterback hands the ball off to some poor schmuck who has the unenviable task of running head long into a pile up worse than those outside the Registrar's Office.

Usually, I'm left wondering if a team ran a play or if somebody just lost a contact.

Three downs force teams to go to the air and let the ball fly. So what if an elastic band has more range than most CFL slingers, at least they put the ball up for grabs.

And does the CBC inundate you with endless hours of analysis about how one team's tendency to eat chicken on pre-game flights versus the fish the other team prefers could play a major factor in the games outcome?

CBC sportscasters leave that to shameless American networks who run any Super Bowl excitement into the ground by never shutting up about the most useless of facts for two weeks before the game.

The good old CBC's not trying to kid anyone. They know they're lucky if anyone watches the actual game itself, let alone hours of anal analysis.

Even if you have a life and the Grey Cup is the only CFL game you watch all year, you're still in the know because nothing ever changes. There's only seven teams in the league and the players in the CFL are a lot like the cast of 90210 – they have no prospects beyond their current roles, making them endearingly familiar after 20 years in the league.

Ten extra yards on the field, a three minute warning and points awarded for substitutions – the decision to watch the Grey Cup couldn't be more red and white.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001