So as I write this the Edmonton Eskimos are winning the CFL West Final. If they win they go to the Grey Cup! Which is in Winnipeg this year. I’ve never been to a Grey Cup, have you? I never know who is reading this, I mostly assume it’s just my parents and some local friends. Maybe some of you have no idea what the Grey Cup is, or don’t care. It’s ok. I’m a fan of the Canadian Football League but not super passionate. And I haven’t mustered any carepoints for the NFL in quite a while. I tend to have room for only a few obsessions at a time and I’m all about Star Wars, comics and writing right now. oh and board games like Marvel Legendary, if you want to come over and play. We can have a Grey Cup Party! Everyone else can watch the game and we can play Legendary! Yeah! Anyways here’s a hitchhiking story with some relevance to today’s football action. Oh and happy thanksgiving to you Americans! Enjoy the NFL game, Detroit, right? VS the Cowboys? Isn’t that the tradition?
Edmonton hosted the Grey Cup, in 1997, the year I was on my Cross-Canada hitch-hiking trip.
One day, I was heading to Fredericton from Halifax. This was around October 21 or so. My first ride came quickly enough, which surprised me since I had a hard time IN Nova Scotia. Plus there had just been a couple of prisoners escape from the Cape Breton Penitentiary, and one of them looked a little like me. Anyways, this guy asked me right away where I was from.
"Edmonton," I said.
"ESKIMOS!!!!!" he yelled.
"ESKIMOS!!!" I yelled back. When you hitch-hike, you have to have the ability to adapt quickly to any situation. This situation was agreeable enough- I had just been picked up by the Maritimes' biggest CFL fan.
"You like the Eskimos?" he asked.
"I sure do!"
"Yeah the CFL rules, eh?"
"The NFL is for shit, right?"
"Yup." Well, I actually don't mind the NFL, but it does pale compared to the Mighty CFL. One might say the NFL is Poo-tball compared to the Canadian game.
"Yeah. Hey man, you think the Esks will get to the Grey Cup?"
"Of course they will!" They didn't.
"That will be the best Grey Cup ever! The Esks playing for the Cup at home in the Commonwealth!" He was right, just five years early.
"Yeah, I kind of wish I could be there, but I'll still be hitch-hiking."
"Oh man, you should go to it. Hey! Maybe I should go!"
"You should! It'll be the best Grey Cup ever!" Enthusiasm is so infectious.
"Oh wait." All of a sudden the bubble burst.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"I got a little guy, he's only four. It will probably be too cold for him."
"Oh well. You can always watch it on TV."
"Unless . . . what do you think the temperature will be?"
"Uhh . . ." I decided I'd better try and explain some basic meteorological principles to him- namely that it is impossible to predict the weather a month in advance. "It could be anywhere from plus ten to minus ten, maybe even minus twenty in Edmonton in November."
"No, man, I need to know. I can't have my little guy sitting there if it's too cold. Are you sure you don't know?"
"I wish I did, but I just don't. No one does."
And for the next ten minutes we had the same conversation over and over- him trying to get me to commit to a Grey Cup weather prediction, me trying to convince him that I couldn't do that. IN the meantime, I missed my stop. Like I said, you have to pretty adaptable.
"See, I can get the time off and book a couple of tickets no problem, i could do it today. But I need to know what the temperature will be. What do you think it will be?"
"Minus ten degrees." I said, firmly.
"Oh man, are you sure?"
"Oh that's great man, thanks. I can dress my little guy up nice and warm. He'll love it, right? Best Grey Cup ever, right?"
"Best Grey Cup ever!"
Anyways, the rest of the ride went smoothly. Other than football this guy had a true heart love for Sarah McLachlan, a true heart love I also shared. She is from his hometown of course so it was the best of both worlds, Eskimos and Building A Mystery. We decided that Halifax needed an expansion team. We even named it, though I can't quite remember what we called it. The Halifax SarahMcLachlans? No, that wasn’t it. Something with black in it- The Black Schooners or something like that. The Black Bluenoses maybe. I don't know. I eventually made it to Fredericton, and hopefully my new friend (he said his name was Spider) made it to the Grey Cup. Actually, I hope he skipped it, and that he'll be there this year for the best Grey Cup ever. The weather report calls for it to be a nice and toasty 3 degrees.
- Nathan Waddell