I just kept the post short and sweet, as I didn’t want to bore people to death…
Like many fans of the Riders, I was born spitting-distance from Taylor Field, at Grey Nuns Hospital. However, unlike a good many of those who bleed green, I have no conscious memory of my time there, as I left at the ripe old age of 3 months (my father was RCMP). His career took us all over the place, including a number of years overseas. Therefore, my first real connection with my fan-hood (is that even a word?) was when we moved to Ottawa in 1976 from Germany, when, like we all know, our hearts were ripped out by a last-minute catch by #77 in the Grey Cup. Nonetheless, my love of the Mean Green Machine was cemented, even living in the midst of the ‘other’ Riders…
Many years later, I joined the Armed Forces, and “spread the gospel” around the country, and beyond. It has been my priviledge to live from one end of this great country of ours to the other, and always be “that crazy Rider fan” cheering on the visiting team.
I now find myself leading the cheer from that bastion of Rider animosity - Winnipeg. I have had my vehicle vandalized a number of times, presumably because of the Rider stickers and flags that are always to be found on it. I married a wonderful Manitoba girl many years ago, and not only converted her over from 'the Dark Side", but have even persuaded her to name our children after the team: our son, Ryder, and our daughter, Kaitlyn Taylor, both ardent Rider fans. Along with our wonderful children, I have, over the years, collected what I, and those who I have had the pleasure to show, call the 'Shrine". My basement is completely decorated with Rider memorabilia, both old and new: turf removed from Taylor Field in 2000; samples of field turf currently installed at the stadium; game-worn jerseys, including Dan Farthing, George White, Bill Baker and George Reed’s 1968 home jersey. Other items go back as far as 1948, and as recently as last week.
In 1991, 1998, 2000 and 2006, it was my pleasure to volunteer my time to the CFL in volunteering at those Grey Cups. Nothing else in Canada comes close to the atmosphere generated when the fans of our great game get together to celebrate our great game!
With the exception of 1988, when I was serving overseas (but nonetheless still spreading the good word), I have not missed attending a Labour Day game since 1985. Not a single day goes by that I am not wearing an item of Rider clothing, along with one of my most valued possessions - my Owner’s Bracelet. Owning a piece of your favourite team? - how can it get any better than that??!!??
Right now, there is only one thing that comes close: representing my team at this pinnacle of Canadian joie-de-vivre, and having the opportunity to not only show the country my Rider Pride, but to celebrate the best the league has to offer by being honoured to present the Most Outstanding Player trophy at the CFL Awards.
You are correct in noting that this is only my second post on the site: my fault, no one elses. I am a very frequent visitor to the site, reading and enjoying other posts, but not contibuting. What was my other post? I was soliciting votes that time as well: votes to get the CFL to consider retiring the number of the greatest ambassador the 3-down game has ever known - #23.
Every Rider fan out there bleeds the same shade of green that I do. I am no bigger a fan than the other citizens of Rider nation. However, I have been honoured with this incredible opportunity, and would very much appreciate all your help in making this dream come true for my family!