author: brady lang | sports writer
Our sports writer gets set up for fandom
Tickets? Check. Jersey? Check. Pilsner? Check.
Every fan has a game day routine; usually they’re more mapped out than mine (like MattyWin’s [EDITOR’S NOTE: EIC Matt Wincherauk] morning prayer to his shrine of Tom and Gisele), but it still carries the same meaning.
For years, I have dedicated my time to the Riders, regardless of the outcome. Now, the thing is, it seems as if every week changes. The amount of fans that this team has is vast in the province, but the thing that makes this team special is the differences in each fan.
Many of us have season tickets, or go to as many games as possible. For me, it’s always been a last second decision or finding tickets with friends to go out to the games with my family. As corny as it may sound, growing up in Saskatchewan for many residents means that the Riders are basically a family event.
Regardless of the outcome, (unless you are MattyWin) there is always something special about a Riders game day. I can’t remember the last game I’ve missed in its entirety, but it seems like game days always mean finding a way to watch, listen, or attend the games is the most crucial state of that day.
When you’re attending a Rider game, the most important thing to remember is be ready for all elements. Regardless of the forecast, we all understand how quickly the weather changes in this crazy province that we live in. At any given moment, it could snow, rain, or possibly be hot as hell. [EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s difference from cold as hell has eluded meteorologists for decades.]
For example, I remember in 2008 going to a night game at Old Mosaic Stadium, with the entire forecast calling for a beautiful Saskatchewan night. As the game progressed, it was humid as hell and we all knew what would happen by the end of the game, a good ol’ fashioned Saskatchewan thunderstorm.
The Riders were playing the Eskimos in a divisional battle that had playoff implications for either side. The beginning of the game began with the Eskimos completely outplaying the Riders in all facets of the game. I was with my dad and one of my friends and, like I said before, we prepared for everything.
At the start of the third quarter, the skies opened up and the weather was so bad that the officials decided to call the game. With a torrential downpour in the stadium and thunder and lightning seemingly close by, the teams began running in when a huge crack of thunder rumbled the stadium, and all of a sudden everything went black.
A bolt of lightning hit the stadium, causing a power surge and a complete blackout of Old Mosaic. We ran toward the bus that we took from the Normanview Shopping Centre, with people rushing toward their vehicles and camera crews screaming “don’t step in the puddles with cords in them,” we finally made it to the bus.
There were rumours of the game being called, and due to the pre-Twitter era, many fans headed home after the blackout. We were lucky enough to stay on the bus, which didn’t leave until the amount of people entered that came on the bus. Listening to CKRM, with Rod Pedersen explaining what was happening, the lights came back on after about 45 minutes of rain and storm.
They had decided to play on with a quarter of the fans still at the game.
Because of this, we were lucky enough to sit at any place that we wanted in the stadium. We were down on the second row, cheering on the Riders to a victory.
Every fan has a story like this when you focus on the Riders and how crazy each and every game can get, regardless of the weather situation, or the team’s record going into the game.
As Mosaic prepares for its final swansong on Oct. 29 with the Riders, it does hurt a little bit. The game day rituals will have to change and even though the new stadium is only a kilometer or two away from the old, game days will never be the same.
All in all, game day rituals always seem to change, yet in some facet stay the same. All that I know is that final game at Mosaic will mark a new era, with new Rider fans and a new stadium. Yet, one thing will always stay the same, I’ll be in that new stadium cheering for the team I’ve grown up loving, the Saskatchewan Roughriders.