Can you feel it?
It’s the excitement in the air across the country as CFL fans ready for the most exhilarating weekend of the regular season; OK Tire Labour Day Weekend.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.cfl.ca/2023/09/01/from-the-editors-desk-welcome-to-labour-day-weekend
Yes, it is an exciting time in Canadian football, but I doubt that many truly understand some of the history of the Labour Day game. Heck, most don’t understand the importance of Labour Day! Perhaps this is the difference when it comes to playing in Hamilton - a true steel city where Labour Day had a whole different impact.
I grew up in Hamilton, long before it was ever coined “The Hammer” - the Ti-Cats were our only hope of putting this city on the map - and they did. McMaster University once carried out a study of what happened when the Tigers lost - they found that steel production went down for several days after the game! Historically, when the Argos came to play on Labour Day - it wasn’t just a game, it was war - Hogtown vs Steeltown. This feeling has lessened(only a bit) over the years - but the Tiger Cats will “eat 'em raw” on Monday! The sport writers don’t know what they are talking about - how could they? They are kids and have no concept of what Labour Day is really about - and it ain’t just about football!
As Fox1 was saying in his fascinating piece above, I heard that the steelworkers jammed the stadium to the brim, and even steelworkers were on the team playing in the game for the Tiger-Cats. Hamilton held the largest parade in the country on Labour Day which added to the fervor of the game. The excitement grew as fans even parked their cars on residents’ lawns who wanted to earn a few bucks, and fans rushed with adrenaline to the stadium not wanting to miss a second of the Big game.
Thanks Sundown - you have refreshed some old memories. You are right about the steelworkers jamming the old Ivor Wynne or Civic Stadium back in the day - and remember well the front lawn parking provided by the surrounding homeowners. The smell of boilermakers still stings my nostrils - but loved them on a cold play-off days. My mother and father had season tickets for years - my mother never drank a drop - seriously not a drop - however, it got to the point that my father didn’t want to go to the games with her - as an East coast transplant she learned to hate Toronto with a passion - nope my poor old Mom would get so angry and upset at anyone not supporting her Tabbies - she was known to lose her temper?? The thrill of her life is when she sat on Angelo Mosca’s lap and had Garney Henley kiss her on the cheek for her season ticket sales efforts - she died and went to heaven that day. While I am now 75 and haven’t lived in Hamilton for almost 50 years, I am still a Hamilton boy at heart and cheer for my Tiger Cats and never miss a game. This upcoming Monday, on Labour Day, these are the things that still makes me stand up in my living room at the start of every kick-off and yell out the Oskee-wee-wee cheer and sing the Tiger Cat song - “We love those Cats, those Tiger Cats, the team with the spirit and fight - with an Oskee-wee-wee, an Oskee-waa-waa and onto to VICTORY!”
Once again Sundown, thanks for allowing me to go a little overboard - but I just love the CFL and my Tiger Cats - My Tigers by 10!