Autumn in Ottawa: Incomparable

The Greg Ellingson catch was the greatest play at Lansdowne Park in over forty years. Nick Benjamin outraced a Winnipeg backfielder - David Shaw it was - over a hundred yards at the end of an interception return and tackled shy of the end zone. Likewise it was two one hundred yard plays - both of them all-time records - that occurred during Toronto's most recent Grey Cup win. That's Ottawa in autumn.

Standing at the newborn Pimisi light rail station this past Tuesday with a warm drizzle falling from an overcast sky and the orange and yellow warmth of the Gatineau hills in the distance reminds of outdoor afternoons at Lansdowne. Often in the rain the crowds were comprised of plastic ponchos and empty seats. It was necessary to move about the stadium to prevent being drenched in one soggy place. And thus "rain games" were possible to be viewed from many perspectives and the experience was as if numerous games were being watched simultaneously.

Sometimes it was unbearable when the play was slow - it is rarely slow in Canada - and the atmosphere was freezing. The best times the air was pleasant and the rain soft. You were soaked but hardly noticed.

This is the time - October post-Thanksgiving - when it gets fun for CFL fans. Most of the predictions we've been making since June have been correct and there is only left to enjoy the games without worrying about the outcome. Running downhill as they say to the Grey Cup. About nine weeks of pure football heaven.

If I didn't miss football in August I sure miss it now.

Peter Boyle.