Argos: the dumbest cheer in pro sports

No one could argue the fact that the AaaaaarrrrrGooooooooos cheer is the most ridiculously unimaginative one in all of sports.

But I just read something else about its origins:

... the Argonauts spent the 70's being terrible and the butt of everyone's joke, including their own fans. A lot of people don't remember this but the cry of "Aaaaaaarrggoooooos" was a derisive one, only floating down from the stands at Exhibition Stadium when the team was coughing up a lead - which it rarely had - or bumbling its way to another inevitable, lopsided loss. It became the boastful war cry of fans only when the powerful teams of the early 80's reclaimed it as a celebration.

That would actually make some sense. Taunting a terrible team with the lamest, most inept cheer possible seems appropriate. Like the way you would cheer sarcastically when your team finally gets its first first down midway through the second quarter, or wear a paper bag over your head at the games. But you wouldn't expect the team to adopt the paper bag as its official logo.

Any old timers out there care to validate the claim in the story?

ive always thought it was used in this context.

Did they ever have any older cheers? Like our Oski chant (which isn't really appreciated until you get older lol)

All I know, is I really enjoy after any games featuring our hated rivals, when the blew team fans give their cry, I then respond "SUUUUUUCCCCCKKKK!"

My apologies to Bob, who, I believe, still finds that to be a distasteful word to use in polite company.


I always thought it had something to do with the spiral ramps at the old exhibition stadium. I remember hearing it at the Pink Floyd concert there in '89 - It was an 'aha' moment. The sound of the long drawn-out cry really carried up and down the ramp. I heard it first in Edmonton in the 80s from drunk argo fans (obnoxious goes without saying). It may not be the dumbest but it gets my vote for most obnoxious.

(I am thinking 'glass houses' on this topic - Our 'nonsense' (words with no intelligible meaning) chant is fun but not exactly 'smart').

There is another, NSFW or polite company, "reply" to the "call" that can be used as it contains the same number of syllables, starts with the same letter, and somewhat rhymes with the second syllable of the "call". I will leave it up to the imagination of the readers as to the word I am describing... :wink:

The derisive use of the call goes back before the 70’s and I can remember times in the old Civic Stadium when it was even used AGAINST THE OFFICIALS OR THE CATS (!) in a game when the A$%&S weren’t even playing.

In a gentler age it was about the closest one would come to swearing in public.

I'm not saying that Ticat fans have half a brain, but this is a true story:

Did you hear about the guy that was operated on last week after being hit by car in Hamilton?
It's a sad story, but he had serious head injuries and they ended up operating and they had to remove at least half of his brain, when he woke up all he could say was....................... "Oskee We We"..................... :lol:

Obviously not a Cat fan as the cheer is "Oskee wee wee" (with apologies to those who were raised under the "Oskie-Wee-Wee" variant. This guy was just trying to say something intelligent, that's all.

With forbearance to Russ in Montreal (Mr. Oski-Qui-Qui himself) who operates under the regulatory regime of the "Office québécois de la langue française"

Kind of late to this thread, but I do recall attending games in the mid to late 70s at Ivor Wynne where the Arrrgooos "cheer" was used by their fans derisively, like after they fumbled or threw an interception, for example. Both the Ticats & the Argos at the time were not good teams & there were always Argo fans doing this in the stands.

It was also not unusual to see several fights in the stands during Argo games. While I don't miss that kind of thing, it was a singular experience to see an entire section suddenly start fighting.

I remember the derisive cheer as well, also the fights. For sure in the mid 70s. Memory is a bit foggy, but maybe even earlier-- the Argos were really bad from 62-66 or so.

The Argo fans used to sell out CNE stadium even though they were terrible, and it was really something to go to a game there as a kid and hear the place filled up with boos and the "Arrrrr-goooooos" chant from their own fans when Wally Gabler scrambled like mad this way and that for yet another 25 yard sack.

From the late 70s to the early 80s I remember the "jeer", coming from their "fans", sounding whiny and derisive after a "play" like that...

The last few posts on this thread are quite right. "The dumbest cheer in pro sports" is derisive, and it first came out of the mouths of Cat fans. Back in the late '60s, kids in school sitting through long lectures would disrupt their classmates sleep with the "BOOOORRRRIIIIIINNNNGGG" bellow. Same two long drawn out notes as the Argos cheer. Originally at games when Wally Gabler had stumbled his way into a 25-yard sack, it was, "BOOOORRRRIIINNNNG AAAARRRRRGGGGGOOOOS." The boring got dropped because boring was synonymous with Argos. What is odd, it that by the 1980s, Argo fans and the organization itself had adopted the cheer as their own.

I realize most Ticats fans won't want to read this, but what the hell. I did a smidgen of research on this very subject for my book on the 1981-83 Argos (Bouncing Back: From National Joke to Grey Cup Champs, self-published through Lulu with very helpful assistance from The Caretaker, BTW). Here's what I wrote about it:

[i]The cry – once mournful, now utterly joyous – echoed through the stadium.


Fans of the home-town B.C. Lions began streaming out of B.C. Place Stadium seconds after Roy Dewalt’s last-ditch pass to Jacques Chapdelaine was batted down by Toronto cornerback Marcellus Greene, ending the 1983 Grey Cup game.

But the handfuls of Argo fans in scattered pockets around the stadium – players’ wives in section 19, a decent-sized group up in section 41, others here and there – weren’t ready to leave. After 31 years, there was some serious celebrating to do. And what better way to start than by uttering the two-syllable refrain that had come to embody all that was terrible and wonderful about being an Argo fan?


In musical terms a descending minor third – E-flat down to C, for instance – the Aaarrr-gooos chant seemed to have been around forever. It was a fixture at Argo games, of course, but could also be heard completely out of context, almost randomly, around Toronto. When things suddenly got quiet in Maple Leaf Gardens during an NHL game, some wag would suddenly cry out: “Aaarrr-gooos.?

While the origins of the refrain aren’t easy to pin down, one theory is that it goes back to the football team’s roots in the Argonaut Rowing Club. Certainly the double-blue colour scheme, Cambridge Blue and Oxford Blue, is a link to the great rowing traditions of those two schools in England. Apparently, spectators who lined river banks to watch the scullers compete used the same descending cadence to support their boys: Oxxx-fooorrrd, Caaame-briiidge.

Transplanted across the pond to the Boatmen of Canadian football, the chant was so ubiquitous that it was incorporated into a song, Love Them Argos, written and recorded in 1981 by Toronto musicians Tom Leighton and Bob Johnston. “A toast to the Argos – Aaarrr-gooos,? they sang.

During the darkest days of the franchise’s on-field fortunes, in 1978, ’79, ’80 and ’81, it could be a depressing sound.

“This Aaarrr-gooos thing, I took it as negative,? says slotback Paul Pearson, who joined the team in 1978.

Fullback Bob Bronk, who played a season at Queen’s University in Kingston after his rights were obtained by the Argos in 1981, says that whenever he dropped a pass that year, “I got the old ‘Aaarrr-gooos.’ They sucked, right??

Receiver Terry Greer, who came on board in 1980, says he would be out somewhere in Toronto and “out of the blue I’d hear someone yell ‘Aaarrr-gooos.’ I can’t tell you how many times you’d be on the subway going home and you’d hear that ‘Aaarrr-gooos.’

“I would get pissed off because it sounded so negative. It was like someone making a joke or a mockery. It bothered me. But in ’82 it didn’t bother me. Guys would say it the same way, the same enthusiasm, but there was something totally different about it. To me it was like a thumbs-up type of thing, whereas the year before it was a thumbs down.?

“Aaarrr-gooos? sounded even sweeter on November 27, 1983, in B.C. Place Stadium.[/i]

Gee pw13, I don't know why you think this TiCat fan doesn't want to read your post. You've only confirmed that Argo fans only took ownership of the chant when it was recorded in a song in 1981. And in 1978, Paul Pearson took it as a unique way of booing him and his teammates. Thanks for doing the research for us.

And when one gets hit by a car in Toronto the person hit wakes up and asks "Can we have a sports team here all ours suck"

Hilarious !!! Ha,Ha,Ha…nice try CFLTROLL er GAL or whatever you are ? Talking about going “Wee Wee” this is also a true story. :lol: :stuck_out_tongue:

When you woke up all you could say was OSKEE - OUCHIE !!! :cowboy: :lol:



And when one gets hit by a car in Toronto....the reaction is usually something like this........

:lol: :twisted: :lol: :twisted: :lol: :twisted: :lol: :twisted: :lol: :twisted: :lol: :twisted: :lol: :twisted: :lol: :twisted: :lol: :twisted: :lol: :twisted: :lol: :twisted: :lol: :twisted: :lol: :twisted:

Thanks to everyone for contributing their memories and research. I honestly never realized that this ridiculous cheer was originally intended as an insult to the Argos, but it all makes sense now. Inept teams deserve inept cheers.

The fact that the team has adopted it could be seen both negatively or positively. On the one hand, it is to their discredit that they couldn't come up with anything better than a long-standing insult as their official cheer. It's like a country choosing a piece of anti-government protest art as its national flag.

More charitably, you could argue that adopting the cheer was akin to reclaiming a pejorative term, similar to the way the gay community now proudly uses the word "queer". Come to think of it, I really like that comparison. Arguably it sets the stage nicely for Ticat fans' favourite response to the Argo cheer.