Friday, 25 November 2011

Blue Bombers, Grey Cup and Victory.

Hey Everyone,

I'm excited. The Grey Cup is about to be played, and if you haven't heard yet, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are going to be there. Not watching from afar, not taking in the late night parties, and not scouting for next year. No, the 2011 Blue Bombers will be playing in the Grey Cup.

I'm fairly certain that there's going to be a big party on Portage and Main. I'm also fairly certain that for that to happen the Bombers will need to win, and if we want to win, this is what they're going to have to do:

First and foremost,

Stop the BC Lions (this is the team the Bombers will be playing by the way, you know, in case you didn't know) run game. If the Bombers can make the Leo's one dimensional they have a good chance of winning. Last time the big Blue played the Lions they did just that, and Travis Lulay had a hissy fit on the sidelines and threw his helmet after getting benched, its true

Second, and secondmost,

Contain Travis Lulay. This is much like first and foremost, and just as obvious, if the Bombers are planning on stopping the run, they need to stop Travis Lulay from running with the ball. Should be easy right? Last week, when the Lions hosted the Eskies, Lulay ran the ball 3 times for 63 yards. This cannot happen. Pierre Luc-Labbe, the Bombers non-import middle linebacker needs to spy Lulay or the defensive ends need to play safe, probably a mixture of both is most appropriate. Either way, Winnipeg D-coordinator Tim Burke has his hands full on this front.

Third and you guessed it, thirdmost,

The Bomber offence needs to play half-decent. Yes, half-decent. They need to be able to run the ball with Chris Garrett. Here's the problem, Garrett is not exactly flying under the radar. His 29 carries for 190 yard performance in last week East Final has him squarely in the crosshairs of BC's game plan. So, what has to happen is the Bombers need to come out passing, and they need to pass the ball effectively and early on. If they manage to do this, then Chris Garrett will have room to run. Essentially, the Bombers need to play an inverse NFL game, set up the rush game, by being effective at passing the ball. This wont be easy, as it's something that the Bombers have struggled with all year. In fact, the biggest weakness of the 2011 Blue Bombers has probably been its passing game. If we are to party on Portage and Main this Sunday, then Buck's gotta make the throws, and the receivers must be effective.

Fourth and ....arg, just fourth on the list,

Grab bag. None of these things are necessarily make or break like the first three points we just talked about but they would go along way to helping out the Blue and Gold. First, Buck needs to run the ball like a crazed lunatic, whenever the play breaks down, and it will from time to time, he needs to scramble for positive yardage – without getting his head scrambled.. Next, unfortunately for the Bombers this game is essentially an “away” game instead of a neutral championship. Its in BC, and its going to be loud. The Bomber offensive line cant be offensive. They need to take as few illegal procedure calls as possible, say under 3; The Bomber offence just isn't good enough to overcome first and fifteen on a semi regular basis. Lastly, and I say lastly, not because they're aren’t more things that could be said, simply that the list needs to end at some point, we need to cash in on special teams returns. Call it a hunch, but the Bombers are going to break a kick or a punt for a touchdown in the 99th Grey Cup on Sunday, I just know it.

Lemme know if you agree or not in comments, or if I missed something more important! See you at Portage and Main. Swag.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Be a Fan

How to be a fan:

One of the best things about living in Canada is the Canadian Football League. The CFL is a lot like Canada itself: historic, modest, and friendly. I grew up “on” the CFL. When I was young, I'd watch football games, in non-high definition believe it or not, with my family cheering on our local team: the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Just as the older players mentor younger players, die-hard fans teach people new to the sport how to properly support a football team.

The first thing you need to do to support a team is to choose one. Yes, it seems obvious, but it's the first requirement. Generally your best bet is to pick a team from your hometown. Otherwise, it can be an expensive investment, (more on that later.) If your city does not have a team, a city close by will do. Choose wisely though, because once you pick a team, there is no going back, ever.

After you have picked a team you next have to research it's players. This is very important. You do not want to be one of those fans who go to games and yell the wrong players' name, or even worse, make up a name. One year, while I was attending Blue Bomber games, a “new” fan moved into my vicinity. She would yell at the top of her lungs things like “Javan you suck!”, or “Come on, Javan, get it together!”. This was wrong on several levels. First of all, the Bombers did not have a Javan on the team at the time, and second of all, she was heckling her own team publicly: another fan faux pas. A few fans confronted her on her annunciations and after that day, I never saw her again. So, grab a team roster, which can be found on the team's website, and thoroughly memorize the players names, and numbers for easier identification.

In order to avoid ending up like the lady mentioned above, you must observe this next rule: treat the players on your team like family. It is okay for you to curse out the players on your team, (actually I encourage it), but it's to be done in private only. You would not yell at your sister in the middle of the mall, for instance, but you might in the privacy of your own home. Also, always, always, always stand up for the players on your team. They could be the slowest, lamest, worst group of players to ever play football but if they are on your team you will stand up for them. Anyone who mocks, berates, or doubts said players should receive a scowling look and a stern tongue lashing.

Becoming a true fan will require some start up funds. There are some necessary purchases: first and foremost, season tickets. A true fan goes to every home game. You must attend games over all else. A short list of exceptions apply: a death in the immediate family, a sibling's wedding, or a milestone birthday of someone very important. That's it, no other excuse will be accepted for missing, and if you gain the reputation of being a die-hard fan, siblings and parents would never dare schedule things on game day anyway. Next, a jersey must be purchased, preferably both home and away colours, but a home jersey as a bare minimum. It is imperative that you wear the colours of the team on game day, as well as after a big win or big loss. Lastly, a car flag with your team's logo on it. Yes, they may be tacky, but they also solidify your fan status wherever you go.

The most important and final part of being a die-hard fan is faith. Faith that your team can and will win, almost to the point of cockiness, but not quite. Your team could be down 50 to 0, with five minutes left to play, and some part of you should be thinking “if we could just get the ball back, and on-side kick, and score, and on-side kick and score......we could win.”

So, pick a team, learn about its players, attend the games, and have faith. Do it long enough and you will be a fan. It's a rewarding experience; just see for yourself.