An anecdote from yesterday's Argos - Riders game down at the Dome. About mid-way through the third quarter the promotional people rolled out one of those silly little games where some lucky fan gets a chance to win something nice--in this case a trip for two to some Caribbean destination. A young guy, maybe 25, and wearing a No. 50 Mike O'Shea jersey, was lead out to the field blindfolded. Spun around a few times, his task was to find a banner located about 30 yards down field. If he could run through that banner within 30 seconds, he would need to go out and buy some sun screen.
Dazed, he sort of fumbled his way around for about 10 seconds. It didn't look good. Then another person, 37 and with more than 1,000 career CFL tackles, wearing a No. 50 jersey ran up to him. Grabbing his fan by the hand, the real No. 50 got things going in the right direction. Now, someone is going to have a nice vacation.
It seemed fitting. For years O'Shea has been mostly invisible to the sports fans of this city and country. It's only the true believers that understood just how good he has been. Like last night, all he has ever done is give and lead.
O'Shea is a man's man playing a man's game. Tough. Stoic. Loyal. And, a Canadian.
A Canadian that played his college ball in the CIS. Actually, he is perhaps the best Canadian trained defensive player to ever play in the CFL. That doesn't matter to a lot of people, but it matters a lot to the people that it does.
Last night was likely his last game in the CFL. You don't see a lot of 38-year-old middle linebackers (although of all the old dudes that the Argos put out there this year, O'Shea was the least of their worries. He can still play). If it is, it's a shame that he went out playing for a bad team and without note. There was no standing ovation, no retrospective video on the jumbotron, nothing. Maybe that's the way he would have wanted it.
We simply don't give enough credit to our football players in Canada. Even here--a place that maybe gets a little too Canuck from time to time--we rarely give note to the CFL and its stars. Considering there were just 28,000 at the Dome last night--about half of which wearing green--and every Argos season ticket holder was given two free tickets to the game...maybe there is even a good reason for that.
You can't turn back the clock and all that, but it's still sad when a player like O'Shea can simply fade away without any fanfare and barely a mention.
O'Shea Classy Till The End (Greg Layson, Big Man on Campus)