Saturday, November 04, 2006

Oh Alberta, don't hate Saskatchewan,
never meant no harm to anyone

- Oh Alberta, Elliott Brood

Gopher-gate has been all the talk around the water coolers here the last few days. Tomorrow is the Western Conference semi-final game in the CFL (Canadian Football League, for the uninitiated), in which the winner of the game between the Calgary Stampeders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders, played in Calgary, will advance. The Stampeders always travel with a horse and whenever they score a touchdown, the horse takes a victory lap around the field. The Roughriders have a similar creature called Gainer the Gopher, who, in a move that shocked the world and threatened the very stability of our nation, has been refused admittance to the field at McMahon stadium tomorrow.

Now you have to understand that Roughrider fans are among the most zealous you will ever encounter, and because Saskatchewan is traditionally a province of out-migration, Rider fans are located throughout the country and they never, ever lose their enthusiasm. So you can imagine the controversy this pronouncement caused. It even went to the level of provincial premiers, with Ralph Klein of Alberta stating that Alberta works hard to maintain its rat-free status and that vermin such as gophers are not welcome either, and with Lorne Calvert of Saskatchewan countering that on the very rare occasion that the Stampeders score a touchdown, they are not prevented from having their horse go around the football field, even though that can be quite a mess to clean up.

Oh it's a dog fight!

The Grey Cup game will be held in Winnipeg this year on November 19, and if you have ever been to Winnipeg in mid-November, you will know that it is not the most hospitable place in the world to sit outside to watch a football game. People are going to be pissed on brandy and bundled up in snowmobile suits. Sort of like when my brother went to the Grey Cup last time it was held in Winnipeg, but that, my friends, is a whole other story.

Now, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, having grown up in Winnipeg, and I am hoping that Winnipeg will win the Eastern Conference. I know, you are saying, "wait a minute, Winnipeg is in the east?", but you have to understand that you have more fingers than the poor struggling CFL has teams, so Winnipeg gets to be an eastern team just to even the sides out. I am hoping really hard that the Grey Cup will be a matchup between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers - two teams which have a brutal historical rivalry - in Winnipeg. It will be the best thing in the history of best things.

My mom, who does not understand how the game of hockey (the simplest most straightforward game in existence) works, always used to listen to the Bomber games on the radio. I can barely grasp the intricacies of football while watching the game, and yet she used to listen to the games and enjoy them. But she doesn't get hockey.

So tomorrow, my loyalties will lie firmly with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and I'm hoping that Gainer the Gopher disguises himself with a Groucho Marx moustache or something and sneaks his way onto the field, or that all the Saskatchewan fans who have poured into the city all wear Gainer the Gopher costumes and totally subvert the game.

Go Gainer, go little guy!


I have no socks.

Every morning this week I opened my sock drawer and pulled out a pair and one of them would have a hole in the bottom. Now I'm down to the horrible ones that I never wear because they are too loose or too tight or are made of yucky slippery material or they bunch up inside my shoes. I wish it was summer so I didn't have to wear socks, but I guess I'm going to have to suck it up and make a trip to the evil Wal*Mart because it is also the only place I know that has a sewing section and I also have no buttons left on any of my winter coats.

God I hate wearing clothes!


Toccata said...

Oh yes we Roughie fans are definitely a zealous lot. I think it develops in the womb. I could live in BC until I die and I will still be a Roughie fan.

I have been having lots of fun with Gophergate.

By the way just wanted to let you know I bought The Decemberists' The Crane Wife. I've been listening to it most of the day. It's fantastic. It was bought as a direct result of what you wrote. I can definitely see why you have been asked to review a play.

Please tell me that is not your sock drawer!

Allison said...

Right, I forgot about football...

Lack of socks! I was having the same problem this week, but mainly because I know I have more, so I had to figure out where they all were disappearing too. Then this morning I found 5 pairs nestled between the foot of my bed, and my dresser. Even if it means more laundry its better then having to trek to Wal-Mart.

Ah, I'd rather be barefoot. And yes, clothes are completely overrated. Well, in most cases. My mind now goes to the podfather and the story about the 98 yr old lady in the hospital dressing gown. funny.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Toccata, it's great to have a Rider fan in the midst! There are no fans like Saskatchewan fans.
I am so glad to hear how much you are enjoying the Crane Wife, and I am very humbled that you bought it on my recommendation. (You are far too kind about my writing.)
It is such a magnificent album. I thought Picaresque (the cd they released last year) was great, but the Crane Wife blows my mind.
You know that the Decemberists are playing Vancouver soon?
And NO! That will never be my sock drawer! Mine looks like everyone else's.

Oooh, finding 5 pairs of socks, Allison - that's like Christmas!
Yeah, I'd rather do 15 loads of laundry than go to Wal-Mart. How come you can't buy buttons at Safeway?
Oh lord, the dressing gown story! Hmmm, yes I guess it is a good thing I do wear clothes.

Anonymous said...

Having been born in saskatchewan and having lived there until almost 30..i am a die-hard saskatchewan fan. i had season tickets for a while. damn you know your previous blog about memories, wishes, and times and places conjuring up memories....i just had that memory ..sitting on wooden benches in skidoo suits drinking from a chocolate and schnapps.....

could be worse you could be down to your last holey underwear, the ones that ride up your butt crack as the day wears on

Barbara said...

You can get buttons at the dollar store...
Socks at the pharmacy... what else you need?

Stephanie said...

The Grey Cup is on my birthday, my Dad and brother were thinking of going to Winnipeg to watch as they are die hard Winnipeg fans. But I don't think they're going anymore.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh yeah, Kelly, nothing says CFL like perching on a frozen wooden bench drinking hot chocolate and schnapps. Which is way better than drinking beer, particularly with the skidoo suit factor thrown in there.
Good to see another Rider fan! Wouldn't a Winnipeg/Saskatchewan Grey Cup be fun?
Oh yeah, and the underwear situation is starting to approach that which you described.

Someone to go get them for me and sew them on, Barbara W. The dollar store doesn't have the best button selection, though, and as my sewing is pathetic enough as is, I at least want some buttons that look half decent.

So they are going to stay at home and throw you a splendid party instead, is that right, Stephanie?
You might have to watch a little football at the same time and *shudder* watch Nellie Furtado at the half-time show, but at least you'll get cake.
Hope it's a great day on your birthday!

John Mutford said...

Football and Walmart? I had to check and see if I had a typo in the address bar.

You have so many sides, eh?

Deb said...

Now I'm in my element...FOOTBALL!! Yeeha. I also love the Roughrider's enthusiasm and have had some down right nasty run ins with some testosterone fuelled Stamp men on the CFL it's Saskatchewaneouauneone all the way for me (did I spell it right this time?). Until the winner meets BC, then (sorry to say) we have to kick butt. It's the law. Sorry. We have Geroy and I'll be wearing my new jersey (pictures will be posted on my blog) which will inevitably help with the win.

I hate socks and strip them off the minute I hit the front door. They just bug me.

Karen said...

You had to bring up the football game didn't you? First time in 34 years the Esks don't make the playoffs and I have to sit and watch the Roughriders and the Stamps play for the western final? I think I'm going to to cry.

Could there be a more Canadian setting for the Grey Cup in November than Winnipeg? Hopefully it will be snowing and windy. Football should always be played outside! And part of the experience is the sea of toque's in the stands, the hot chocolate laced with (insert alcoholic bevvy of choice), and a couple of cases of frostbite. God, I love being Canadian!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

We are all football fans of some sort at Grey Cup time, aren't we, John? I think it's a requirement of citizenship. Although some of us are really there more for the food.

I can imagine you guys do Grey Cup properly at your house, Deb! You are FANS! But I will have to differ with you on the outcome of the BC game ...
I get that way with my socks part way through the evening, where I will suddenly realize that I'm still wearing them and will whip them off and put on my huge fuzzy slippers instead. Ahhhhhhh!

You'd think with there being that few teams in the league that everyone would win something, wouldn't you, Karen? Sorry about the Esks.
I agree, football should always be played outside and surviving a Grey Cup game is a rite of passage in the Canadian psyche, as far as I'm concerned.

mellowlee said...

So I know where Sean will be all day (In front of the TV hehe) Poor gopher!

I have never met anyone who uses one of those sock divider thingies...I bet my mom and sister would. (I should ask them) They are scary organized like that and make me feel like a messy mess.

I think 50% of my socks have holes in them. I don't know why I don't throw them away....maybe I'm waiting until I buy new ones....just in case? I was thinking of going to scary WalMart too this weekend, isn't that weird.
I saw a plain black cardigan sweater there a few weeks ago, and I have been wanting one. You would think black cardigans would be easy to find wouldnt you? :)

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

no black cardigans are impossible to find. or maybe it's good black cardingans. i have been trying to find one for a few years now.

it's funny. the only walmart i've ever vaguely enjoyed was one i went to in calgary.

i remember reading in fast forward that walmart parking lots were good to make out in.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I like to think of myself as an organized person, Mel, and I believe in the concept of a place for everything and everything in its place, but those sock dividers are just psycho.
My heart goes out to you if you make the trek to evil Walmart. I actually got buttons there yesterday, which I will attempt to sew on this afternoon - well one coat anyway, no point in going overboard. But Eva distracted me by looking at boots and I forgot to get socks. So I will be wearing holey ones this week too, but I won't have a nice new black cardigan.

Eww they couldn't have been talking about the Walmart that's closest to me, 668; it's gross. Actually the only decent Walmart I've ever been to was in London, ON.

kees said...

LMAO @ image of the gopher guy disguised in a moustache!!!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Yeah, they'll never figure out who it is, Kees!

mellowlee said...

I ended up walking down The Drive, getting california rolls, forgetting my umbrella, and walking home in the rain eating kit kats with Sean. Hope you had a good sunday!! :D

Karen said...

Well, the games are over - unfortunately Winnipeg lost...and to TORONTO. I'm so blue. However, the Riders did clobber the Stamps. Woo hoo! So the argos will be taking on the Alouettes. Who do the riders play now? The lions?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

California rolls and kitkats sound infinitely better than going to Walmart,Mel! I still have to sew those damn buttons on!

I was pretty bummed about Winnipeg being eliminated, Karen, but at least the Riders are still in. They do play BC next and I am looking forward to cheering on Saskatchewan as they face Toronto at the Grey Cup. How does that sound?

Anonymous said...

ellowlee...if you only bought one style and colour of socks (like most of us guys do I"m sure) then you could throw out the 50% with holes in and still have several pairs of good socks

yaaaaayyy riders...i so wish i was able to see the game

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That is worth a try, Kelly. Now to find the ultimate pair of socks x 20.

Ocean said...

Speaking of Walmart and Football I remembered seeing some really thick warm socks in the sprots (Hunting) section at Walmart the other day. With all that snow you have there, a couple pair of these thick ones might come in handy. Or footy ;)

Will said...

Oh man, soooo tough when you get to that part of the sock drawer. I somehow have a lot of socks that don't match so it's tough getting to those. I do have an abundance of white socks, but I don't really like white socks.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I find that it doesn't always work to get really thick socks, Ocean, because then if your boots are too tight, your feet still feel cold. They teach you these things when you are a Canadian.

White socks are fine at the gym but look pretty dweebish with black pants, Will. I don't much care for them either. Eva wears only mis-matched socks, but you can get away with that at her age.

phlegmfatale said...

omg - that organized sock drawer thingie photo is freaking me out - stop it! Seriously, every so often I have a sock-and-panty-buying fit, fill up a cart et voila and I don't have to worry about it for a while. Yay.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I do the same thing,Phlegmmy and I am due for one of those sprees.
That sock organizer is just psychotic!