Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Blue Monday (the first sappy story about the Blues win tonight)

It felt too right, as the Varsity Blues began on their own 1 yard line with 2:03 left in the Fourth Quarter. By the end of that drive they had completed their comeback, and stood under a minute away from victory.

The students had been lively all game long, face and body paint covering many of them (at times from head to toe). Cheering away at the top of their lungs all throughout, some with the assistance of that good ol' liquid courage, the crowd was now approaching an almost frenzied state. Even when it appeared that Toronto had reverted back to their old ways of losing late in the Third and early Fourth Quarter, it did not deter these fans and send them home early. And so it was at this point, late in the game, that they were being rewarded for their loyalty, and big time!

It was fun watching the Toronto fans prepare for a victory celebration, even though the game had still yet to be decided – and Waterloo did, in the end, come mere inches away from claiming a tie as the Blues frantically covered the Warriors attempt at a Rouge on their own 1 yard line. Some students had begun early preparation to rush the field, others though were looking too cautious thanks to the security located down on the track. The announcements over the loudspeakers about staying off the field, combined with the guards below, just didn’t seem to sit too well with them. And suddenly, I was transported back to September 25th, 2004:

At Homecoming, sitting in our regular seats in the front row of University Stadium - located squarely behind the opposition (prime heckling territory) - the athletics booster group I helped organize at Laurier was preparing for a similar celebration of our own. We were putting an end to McMaster’s 35 game winning streak in the OUA right then and there, and we damn well knew it! Everyone wanted to rush the field, but with security guards on the track below people were getting a little worried. A couple of our members looked at me for an answer, I just gave a shrug and said “They can’t catch ALL of us, so just make sure you’re not that one!” I’m pretty sure that my voice cracked a little while saying that line, likely due to a mix of the fear and sheer elation I was experiencing at that moment, so please don’t picture this said with a smooth delivery of ANY sort.

Fast forward to tonight and I could see the same look in the eyes of the students sitting around me; the brave ones making their way down to a point where they could rush the field in a heartbeat, while the rest reluctantly stuck behind. When one of these nervously excited students looked my way I passed along the same piece of advice I’d given out before - although this time with more of a reassuring grin across my face.

I had initially planned to sit in the stands and film the whole ordeal taking place on the field, but the fan inside me took over. But honestly, how many chances would I have like this? And besides, the views, the shots, the atmosphere on the field would certainly dwarf that of the people left in the stands, right? As is quite obvious my inner fan easily convinced me to join the students below, the cautious ones and the crazy ones, as they rushed out there onto the field. Stepping back to take it all in at centre field, watching the fans join the players in a huddled mass of screaming, flag waving and jumping, I couldn’t stop smiling. And I couldn’t help but think how that was me just four short years ago, how great I had felt in that moment, and how happy I felt for the long suffering Blues fans now having their turn.

There’s certainly going to be many 'touching stories' that emerge from this win, this is not just great news for the University of Toronto but the CIS as a whole! Yet regardless of what comes forth over the next few days the one thing that will stick with me is how for a change the Varsity Blues Football team did not fail their fans tonight, from Frosh to Fifth Years and everyone in between. One girl was nearby on the field after the game, speaking on her cell phone to a friend, and she just kept repeating it over and over (as if the friend never truly believed what she was saying): “We won! Yeah, we won! No really, we won!! I know it’s fantastic, this is so amazing!”

Everyone gets one so enjoy it U of T, lord knows you've waited long enough for your turn!

1 comment:

Duane Rollins said...

Still smiling as I type...

And that it was the Warriors to lose! PERFECT!!

(The Mustangs would have been better, but one needs to be realistic...)