It's captured the fun of fandom, like the time Brent Leroy dressed up in his full Saskaman grab to show his devotion to the Roughriders — and weirds out 'Riders players Gene Makowsky and Matt Dominguez when they stop at The Ruby for lunch with a couple tickets to an upcoming game. It got into the drama of human competition when Brent and Karen went head-to-head in an eight-game Summit Series of table hockey.
As a way of giving thanks, here's the shows top five sports-themed episodes. It's not meant as definitive. Really, it's supposed to be random, like the show itself.
"Bend It Like Brent" (Season 6)
Brent and Lacey start trying to outdo each other after signing up as co-sponsors for a youth soccer team coached by Davis Quinton, the local RCMP officer. It's worth it since it takes the piss out of both soccerphobes and the pretensions of footy fans. When Davis corrects Lacey for saying soccer instead of football, she asks him, "What's the word for someone who uses British expressions even though they aren't British?" ... "A wanker." ... "Good to know." There's also:
"Brent, who's your favourite football team?"A tension soon develops between the co-sponsors. Lacey wants the team to win at all costs, whereas Brent wants to give them candy even when they lose.
"That's easy, the 'Riders."
"No, I mean football."
"Oh, the Minnesota Vikings."
"No, I mean in England."
"Oh, that would be a tie between the Manchester I Don't Give A Craps and the London Not A Real Sports."
"Face Off" (Season 1)
Ignore the fact that having the prim-and-proper female lead emerge as an unlikely ringer ripped off a Cheers episode where the gang challenged Garry's Old Town Tavern in bowling. (In the Cheers episode, Diane Chambers emerges as the bar's best bowler — she took a class in it at college since she needed a phys-ed credit and you could read between frames.)
The Dog River Riverdogs hockey team is beyond hopeless, but the scores they lose by are never too embarrassing thanks to the goaltending of Brent, which means they never have to try too hard. However, Dog River's rival, Stonewood, is urging him to defect to their side ahead of an upcoming showdown,, forcing Brent to choose between playing with friends and actually having a chance to win a game. Lacey, though, saves the day by stepping in as the team's first coach. "A lot of teams have coaches now," reasons Brent. "Even in the NHL."
Lacey's infusion of strategy helps Dog River eke out a 1-1 tie. "Ha-ha," Brent tells the Stonewood players. "You suck just as much as we do."
"At The Good Old Table Hockey Game" (Season 4)
Hockey is not the national sport, contrary to popular belief. It's road hockey. When Davis buys a vintage table-top hockey game for the police detachment and discovers Karen is a god with the rods, table hockey becomes the local obsession.
Before long, thanks to Davis and Wanda's big yaps, Brent and his old-time, dump-it-in-the-corner style is put up against Karen's crisp, precise passing attack in an eight-game series — four in Brent's parents' basement, four at the cop shop. Lacey is the only one who doesn't get caught up in it, until Wanda informs her, "It's not a game — it's a way of life. Think of those little metal kids growing up on little metal farms."
"Slow Pitch" (Season 2)
Makes the list for the name of the gang's beer-league ball team — the Corner Gas Guzzlers — and the game they make out of hiding their open alcohol from Karen and Davis, since they don't want the two cops to issue citations for drinking in public. It turns out the cops are fully aware of the drinking and don't care, but appreciate their friends making the effort.
"I Love Lacey" (Season 1)
Better known as The One Where They Don't Go To The Grey Cup. A series of flashbacks relate how the gang from Dog River had tickets to attend the CFL championship game, which is being played in Regina. A series of unfortunate events conspire to keep Emma and Wanda, Brent and Lacey, Hank and Oscar and Karen and Davis from making it to Taylor Field. However, none of them have ever let on to the others that they missed the game — or questioned why it was 20 Celsius and sunny on a late-November Grey Cup Sunday in Saskatchewan.
And look at the way they invert the everyman fantasy of making time with a beautiful girl while wearing a shirt supporting your favourite football team: