Left Oakland in the wee hours of the morning. The first surprise was zero, that's 0, lineup for security at the airport. Also no body scanner (that I could see) and no pat down. Had a three hour layover in Seattle.
Caught the packed flight to Edmonton. Met a couple of interesting people. A nice lady from Atlanta was behind me getting on board, but I unfortunately forget her name. Her son I believe it is is 'rider. She mentioned that the CFL pays for one airline ticket for a family member for each player in the Cup.
I sat beside Craig Berquist, the father of Cole Berquist the number three quarterback for the 'riders. We had a fantastic chat about football that made the flight very short. He's a super guy. This is really the first time I really had the chance to talk to a parent about their son's pro football journey, and it was a great story. Cole actually turned down a practice roster job with the Chargers ($90k) and thought his football career after U of Montana was over...'til the 'riders called. He had three days to report to camp and made the team, beating out some pretty incredible talent. Craig help up his index finger nearly touching his thumb when describing the talent difference between the two big pro leagues (the nascent U.S. league isn't really on many people's radar). When asked about the difference in rules his response was basically "it's football". The CFL rep was huge in Cole taking the job as a backup. He's pretty stoked and LOVES his team and teammates. They're treated like gold in Regina.
Later sis and I headed down to Huddle Town in Churchill Square in downtown Edmonton. That's where all the action is, and there sure was a LOT of it. The only place we could get into was the Spirit of Edmonton party at the Westin. We staked out a corner of one of the bars and proceeded to meet some really great folks from all over. A shout out to Argo fan Martin Queen from Belleville, that really fun couple from Swan Hills, and that hilarious 'rider fan in the green striped overalls and the blinking R (I think) who bought us a round.
Chris Cuthbert and some other well-known TSN talent showed up right beside us (no Sarah Orlesky though). I said hi but I was getting a little loopy by that point so I didn't want make an ass of myself by injecting myself into their conversation, though I'm sure I could have. They seemed like pretty nice guys.
Today we will skip the parade, but are going to a fund raiser with tons of CFL alumni. Hopefully I'll get to meet some of my favourite CFL heroes! More later.