On June 13th, 2016 I cycled down the canal to Lansdowne Park (was it still called that?) to see the Ottawa Redblacks put on a CFL performance with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Actually, though I have made a point of going to at least one Redblacks game per season, on this occasion I was actually going to see my friend’s daughter dance in the pregame show. She got accepted at the arts high school majoring in dance and she takes it quite seriously, so when her mom and dad put out the word and asked if anyone wanted to join them for the game I jumped.
So it was really unfortunate that somehow, some way, I was late and missed her school’s dance routine by five minutes. I felt like an idiot despite my friend’s insistence that it was no big deal. Harrumph. I never should have stopped into the Lindt store for a free sample on my way into the stadium.
This was my first time watching a Redblacks game from the North Side stands. The first time I came to Lansdowne I sat in the North Side stands. Or stood, more accurately. That was for the annual Carleton U./Ottawa U. football rivalry match – The Panda Cup – an afternoon of funnel-fuelled shenanigans that was hardly about football as far as I was concerned. Add in another half-dozen or so concerts and yeah, I’ve been in the North Side stands a fair number of times.
But never for a Redblacks game.
Y’see, the South Side stands underwent complete and utter renovations before CFL football returned to Ottawa. The South Side stands are squeaky-clean and up-to-date. But what makes the South Side the South Side is the large mezzanine that stretches the whole length of the bleachers, separating the 100 level from the 200 level and providing a wide viewing platform rife with concession stands, standing tables and plenty of opportunities to be social.
Given my decidedly marginal interest in football that mezzanine is the place to be. South Side forever!
But never mind, I was happy for the change and especially for the chance to take in a game with good friends. Plus the Redblacks won a close one (18-14) on their way to an eventual Grey Cup win. Frankly, if I had arrived in time for the preshow the day would have been a complete home run.