Losing my Grey Cup virginity

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Arthur Ward

Arthur Ward

What started awkward ended in celebration

Article: Autumn McDowell – Sports Editor

This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I had to take it.

Grey Cup 101 was in my city, and my team was fighting for the championship in front of a hometown crowd, it doesn’t get much better than that.

I was lucky enough to get the chance to have a spot in the press box for the big game, no not the Regina-based bar and grill – though they do have fantastic food and alcohol – I was in the media press box, feeling like a boss.

However, losing my CFL press box cherry did not start out so easy, in fact, parts of it were down right awkward.

First of all, after cutting past the massive line in front of the stadium – during which I watched a 50 plus year old man get caught trying to sneak a flask inside of his glove into the game – I didn’t have time to shake his hand for his valiant effort however, I was on a mission.

My biggest initial problem after first making contact with the stadium was finding the spot. This can be difficult for any first timer, but was especially difficult for me.

I asked multiple people for advice on how to locate it, but no one seemed to know where it was, and they definitely weren’t able to explain it to me.

Emily Wright

Emily Wright

One member of the event staff told me to walk up seven flights of ramps and it would be at the top, but he was wrong. After making the long trek, someone then told me to walk down one level, and there it would be, but they were also wrong. Finally, after multiple people telling me that they had never seen these passes before, I was put into contact with the head of event staff, who did all but hold my hand as he led me to the press box. Only this wasn’t the right one either. As I walked in the door, I was told that I was in the other press box at Pilsner Place, and no one knew how to get there either.

Thankfully, once I left the wrong press box, I ran into a nice man who actually knew where I should be going. He quickly told me to hop on and gave me a ride on his makeshift golf cart. I felt like some sort of royalty zipping through the ramps on that thing while all of the other suckers had to walk.

Finally, I was in the right place and as I entered the actual press box, I was then informed that a fire had taken place. But don’t worry, I was one of the lucky ones with a seat, and it was even away from the fire hazard area. In fact, it was nearly dead centre and front row, absolutely prime.

Even though I felt like some sort of zoo animal, as all of the fans were staring at me behind the glass and taking my picture, they were freezing and paying six dollars for drinks. Meanwhile, I was teetering on the edge of too hot and drinking beverages for free.

After taking a moment to gather my thoughts, finally the game was underway, and the atmosphere, as to be expected, was electric.
But as the game began, suddenly my picture perfect view was blocked by two Winnipeg Bluebombers fans. They ruin everything.
Luckily, they weren’t obstructing my view of the jumbo tron, and I managed to catch a glimpse of Geroy Simons’ first ever Grey Cup touchdown. I was very happy to know that Superman was in the building, along with Tom Hanks and Martin Short, of course.
And with that, the legs were spread, the ball was rolling and the floodgates opened. Saskatchewan was on their way.

With touchdowns from Kory Sheets, Jock Sanders another from Superman and insurance field goals from Chris Milo, the Riders were well on their way to a Grey Cup victory, and an amazing post game celebration.

But nothing would be complete without a skidoo doing a backflip in the air at half time. Most people would have a dirt bike, but this is Saskatchewan.

After leading 31-6 at the half, the Riders had the game nearly locked up, and while a push from the Ti-Cats in the second half had some people start to threaten the words “TSN Turning Point,” the Riders kept rolling.

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Emily Wright

Before fans knew it, the Riders had scored two more touchdowns, Simon and Sheets were now record holders, the game was over, the season was finished, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders strolled to an easy 45-23 victory.

Even though the game wasn’t as exciting and back-and-forth as it has been in the past, for once, I didn’t care. All I cared about was that we were the champions and that I had gotten my first time in the CFL press box out of the way, and can be much more relaxed for the next time.

My time in the press box was quite amazing, being in the same pizza line as Jock Clime ­– during which I snatched up the last piece of pepperoni from him, sucker – to rubbing elbows with the best of them, and having Hedley personally thank me for having them was pretty awesome. I think they thought I was a big deal or something.

Enjoy this time, Riders fans. Party with the best of them, high-five strangers on the street, drink Pilsner till you puke, and relish this time. Next season will be here before you know it, and we may never be a part of this again.

Go Riders.

Images: Arthur Ward, Emily Wright

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