My dad told me when I was a baby that I'm a TiCats fan, and I believed him.
The TiCats have always been my Dads team, which is odd considering he is from Montreal. He has lived in Nova Scotia most of his life. I grew up on the military base in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (Dad was in the Navy) but have lived in Hamilton for the last 20 years. When I left home at 19 to find work, I decided I to move here because of the TiCats.
While Dad and I often bumped heads and rarely saw eye to eye, we would often talk at length about our beloved Cats. We watched all the games we could together. They were great times and Dad sure knows alot about football. When Dad talked about the Cats or the CFL I'd hang on every word. I sometimes wonder if we didn't have those games together if we'd have spent any time together at all. The TigerCats gave us a common ground upon which we built a strong foundation and strengthened our bond.
Fast forward 25 years. Let me set the scene.
Its Friday August 20th 2010. The TiCats are playing an important game tonight against an arch rival in hostile territory.
My wife (Tammy) is busy preparing snacks for the game. She is decked out in all her TiCats gear, including her TiCats cowboy hat. She knows how important this game is so she's "pulling out all the stops", she says. She loves the TiCats, but it wasn't always so. When we met, she stated she doesn't like football. I looked at her confused, like I didn't understand the words she had just spoken.
My daughter (Tori), who is 10 and a junior TiCat cheerleader, is decked out in her cheer uniform, pom poms and all, anxiously awaiting kickoff. Her friends think she's weird. She loves football and opted out of a sleepover party because she didnt want to miss this game. She loves to talk about the TiCats, and seems to hang on my every word....
My 17 year old son (Tanner) is walking around in his gold Lumsden jersey. When his girlfriend arrives, he insists she change into one of his TiCats t-shirts. He's worried she'll jinx us if she doesn't. She complies with his request. She states she doesn't like football. Tanner seems confused by what she's said, like he doesn't understand the words. His friends think he's weird. He opted out of god knows how many parties because he didn't want to miss this game. Instead of running the streets on a Friday night, exposed to drugs and booze and peer pressures, he'd rather stay home and talk to his Dad about the TiCats. He seems to hang on my every word...
As the game ends, the noise level is deafening. We are cheering, clapping and high fiving each other. "Winning that game was better than Christmas", Tori exclaims, and I think she means it. Two days later, Tanners girlfriend remarks how much fun it was to watch the game with us, and how tense and exciting it was. She says her heart was pounding at the end. She asks me if she can come with us to the Sept. 11th game that Tori is cheering in. I smile and call my ticket rep.
The TiCats aren't just a football team to us.