So here it is, I like a football team other than the Roughriders. To make matters worse, it’s one of Saskatchewan’s arch nemesis’; the Montreal Alouettes.
Whenever I have had the nerve to admit this to anyone out here they have given me that ‘how dare you’ look, and proceeded to tell me that if I planned on staying in this province they would persuade me to switch sides.
It is not like I even have some crazy knowledge of football to begin with or that I even completely understand the sport but I was raised in a large city who, although not as serious about being a fan as the dedicated riders fans, also drill it into your brain to love your hometown sports teams.
The fans of the Alouettes are much like the Roughriders fans in the sense that they are willing to travel across country just to see their team play. They have even have a fan train which allows a dedicated fan to take a Via Rail train to Hamilton with the cheerleaders, watch the game from a designated Montreal fan section, and then take a ride back with the players themselves.
Growing up I watched the players of the team visit sick kids at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, devote their time and energy to people in need, and make several charity appearances to raise money for good causes.
One of my favorite things about the team is that like the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the Alouettes are dedicated to education. The players are scheduled to visit over 120 Montreal-area schools in 2012, reaching out to over 60,000 students at both the elementary and high school levels. The Together at School program is designed to encourage kids to stay in school while bringing up a wide array of challenging topics that young people face today, from bullying and academic performance to peer pressure and the benefits of staying active. The players aren’t afraid to touch on anything. And, if giving presentations and assemblies wasn’t already enough, the team now offers a tutoring program, that with the help of other tutors encourages students to do their best, while providing good mentors.
I admire the Saskatchewan Roughriders team for many of the same reasons, but it doesn’t mean I will cheer against my home team.
So yes, the competitive spirit of the two teams is all in good fun. It’s good to have rivals, and pretend to hate fans from opposing teams. This isn’t what ticks me off. What ticks me off is hearing about violent occurrences. As Canadians we should be graceful losers, not bullies. If the Roughriders win a game against Montreal, I would hope that the fans from my home city wouldn’t punch the competition’s fans in the face. These silly shenanigans are what make sporting events look bad to non-sports fans.
It happens daily with hockey fans as young as the little children’s parents getting a tad too violent, and it is finding its way into our football stadiums. So what I ask of you all is to have a little fun, poke a little at the other teams lack of skills, but leave it to words and the score board, don’t add in your own physical violence. Body strength is for the players to fight over.