Unless I’m mis-remembering (which falls somewhere between “possible” and “likely”) it looks like September 5th, 2014 was the first time I attended a professional football match*. This was the year that the Ottawa CFL team came out of their second hiatus (after 120 years as the Rough Riders and five more as the Renegades) with a new name (the Redblacks) so yeah, this must have been my first time
(Don’t worry, after quickly back-pedalling on the name “Ottawa Tomahawks” [which came with a hatchet-wielding Indian** as a mascot] the team owners assured the city that their newest new name was actually an homage to the team’s colours and not a reference to North America’s two most marginalized racial identities.)
I can’t say why i went to see the Redblacks play against the BC Lions but really, why wouldn’t I? The football stadium was literally and exactly one easy mile from my front door, it was a lovely evening (the ticket stub was sullied by sweat, not rain), and as you must understand by now: where large groups gather there go I to join them.
Sure, I had a residual appreciation for football stemming from two confusing seasons I played as a pre-teen back in Moncton, and though I didn’t understand the rules at all back then (I had no idea what a “first down” was all about; I was not well-liked by my teammates) I had attended enough Superbowl parties in the interim to have mostly figured things out. But really, I mainly went for the spectacle and to support the local team.
Though when I experienced the blatant social nature of the south-side stands with it’s wide atrium boasting wall-to-wall drink and food kiosks alongside ample barroom-style seating I had a new primary reason for attending the games.
It sure wasn’t from the action! The entire second half saw just one point added to the scoreboard between both teams, with the Lions winning the game by a hockey score of 7-5.
But really, who cares? South-side forever.
*Of course I’m referring to “American” football, which is what we Canadians call “not-soccer”.
**I use the antiquated (and inaccurate) term “Indian” instead of the more correct and respectful term “First Nations” because I assume that this was the terminology being thrown around in the team’s boardroom.