Non-football encounters of the CFL kind

Here's a "brush with greatness" thread for stories about chance meetings with CFL players/coaches outside of a football context (i.e. not during Grey Cup Week or at a practice, etc.).

One thing I like about the CFL is that these are regular guys who shop and eat at the same places we do. No kajillionaires with helicopters and private islands.

I'll start.

My wife and I were shopping for bathroom accessories at The Bay in the late '90s. Another couple was in the same section doing the same thing. We picked up a certain shower curtain set which happened to be the last one of that design. The other woman visibly pouted because she apparently liked the same set. We hadn't actually decided on that one, and they seemed to want it more, so we said go ahead and take it, we'll keep looking.

Then I realized who it was: Pinball Clemons and his wife. I said I'm a Ticat fan and he might be the only Argo I'd do a favour for, other than possibly Masotti. He said Masotti was also a favourite of his.


I’ve had the good fortune of meeting many CFL folks over the years but my favourite took place in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

I was enjoying adult beverages by the pool when a young Lady noticed my Tiger Cat shirt. She asked me if I had heard of a fellow named Mosca. I said of course. Moments later Big Ang joined us poolside

He was at the same resort attending his Granddaughter’s Wedding

Awesome moment


Going to a physiotherapy appointment and being surrounded by Grover Covington, Mike Walker, and Rufus Crawford. The sheer hilarity that happend was incredible.

Eating wings at my favourite haunt downtown Hamilton, and the guy who sat at the bar beside me was Eric Carter.

Ben Zambiasi helping out the wrestling/football teams at my high school with weight training and conditioning.

Parking at my now-local FreshCo in Ottawa, and a guy made a comment about my Ticats licence plate. Turned out to be Ken Evraire.


Saw Joe 747 Adams 4 minutes before he got arrested in Regina.
Pretty sure st the time he had no idea what planet he was on at the time.

I played golf in a group behind Willie Bethea . He hit a long ball . After the round he was kind enough to sign a picture that his wife had in the trunk of their car . They were a class couple . :heartbeat:


My wife is a flight attendant with Air Canada and has met a number of famous people over the years. A couple of years ago she was doing the meal service after it became credit card only and no cash. Pinball was on the flight and the guy beside him asked for a sandwich but only had cash, no credit card. She apologized and said she couldn't take the cash. Pinball immediately said "I'll pay for his along with mine".
The guy was very appreciative and Pinball just casually said "you'd do the same for me".

My wife watched the whole exchange and she said she could see the 'wheels turning' with the guy beside Pinball thinking "would I really have done the same?".

A few years later I was outside Union Station and this guy asking for money told me this cockamamie story about needing a very specific amount of money to take the train to St. Catherine's. I gave him $20 and when he thanked me I stole Pinball's line and said "you would do the same for me" - and the guy started crying!


I was working at McMaster one summer as a student, late 80s. Out for a walk at lunch - happened to be wearing my Mike Walker #61jersey at the time. Next thing I hear “Hey Dude, nice shirt”. Turned around and it was Mike Walker himself getting out from lunch (think it used to be Village Bagel and Deli near King and Sterling). Had a good little chat with him and caught up with him after the next home game. Super friendly.

Also met Bob Krouse with my kids coming back on the Go train from TO after some Grey Cup festivities in 2012. He was incredibly nice and very gracious with my kids, spent a lot of time talking to them. Great person.


I had my 1st knee surgury 25 years ago, first surgery of the day was Pinball, second was me.
We were both on stretchers outside the OR and we had a little chat.
Pinball was back playing in no time, his was a scope. I was out a year with a rebuild.


I have had so many encounters over the years that I honestly couldn't list them all here . I will though mention one of the more memorable ones .

My old next door neighbour in the nineties was a fishing buddy of Don Sutherin . One night he decided to have a neighborhood fish fry complete with live music . I had to work until 10:00 that night so got to the party quite late , while at work though I got a call to pick up a bottle of wine for someone at the party . As it turned out the bottle of wine turned out to be for a rather well oiled at the time Sutherin . So after giving him the bottle we got to talking and drinking the night away .

Well by the time that Don was ready to go home after we called a cab for him he thanked me for the wine and then told me that he would get an autographed game ball for my boys . I honestly figured that how lit he was that he wouldn't remember about the ball or the conversation to be honest .

About a week later after the party I heard a knock at my door and lo and behold there was Sutherin with the ball and also an invitation to me and my kids to go get pics with the Cup . I still have those pics stashed away and my one son proudly has the autographed football on display in his office .


Sometime around the mid 80’s I had volunteered for a Muscular Dystrophy charity event/carnival held in a large parking lot of a strip plaza on Hamilton Mountain.

There were many games, activities, prizes etc encompassing the lot including a water dunk tank that featured non other than Rocky Dipietro and Grover Covington as dunk volunteers.

These guys were so very gracious and affable and happily signed autographs (while soaking wet!) all day long.

Great sports!


Ed Turek was my high school phys ed teacher at Glendale. Biggest thighs I’d ever seen.


Pinball spoke to our company about 10 years ago. He was really good.

As an aside, Nav the Raptors superfan was equally awesome.


Anyone who lives in Regina runs into Riders all the time. For many here it would be like name dropping to list all of the encounters, including players from other teams.
I go to (or they have been at) church with several players and their families over the years (George and Angie Reed sat two rows behind us until his health prevented them from coming regularly). My wife & I once flew to Hamilton on the same plane as the entire Ti-Cat team years ago (Marwan Hage is absolutely hilarious).


It sure would be great if you knew what you were talking about. The Willie Bethea who played for the Ticats is alive and well. I'm very good friends with his daughter so I'll let you know when he actually passes away.


It was an honest mistake by Pat. There actually was a Willie Bethea that passed away but it wasn't the CFL player.

Sorry Willie, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated" said Mark Twain famously, responding to press claims that he was apparently on his death bed."
I apologize for my error . When I read the obit I was shocked . I guess we can't believe everything we read on the internet . Again my apologies .

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Wayyyy back in the day, I worked at the Zellers restaurant at Mohawk & Upper Sherman. Mosca used to come in there all the time.

Later, in the mid 90s, I started working at a collection agency. I had an account for a certain rush end from the Als. I won't name him, but he paid in full.

A few years after that, during the Grant/Macdonald years, I was assigned to accounts owing by the team to Hamilton Health Sciences. That was not fun.

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Bob Krouse was my high school gym teacher at Orchard Park.

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Pinball worked as a motivational speaker (or still works?)
I met him once like a decade ago

Mike O'Shea lived on my street for a long time. Sad thing was many of the guys had no idea who he was.

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I used to see Lancaster at Zehr’s (now Fortinos) in Ancaster shopping for groceries. Sudsy lived a few blocks away and I’d see him and his wife walking some evenings. I never saw anyone bother them in public.

I see Zambiasi working at Chedoke golf course a few time a season. Certainly not the specimen he once was….who is😆