Wednesday, November 24, 2004

More Grey Cup thoughts 

The state of Brad Watters' voice on the TEAM 1200 Monday afternoon told much of how the Grey Cup went. It was a gravelly and weary voice, the voice of someone who has poured every last drop of energy into planning and celebrating the big event.

And what an event it was!

There were a lot of people worn out voices and bodies that dragged themselves into work Monday after spending the weekend as part of the biggest celebration that the city has ever hosted. With 51,242 fans shoehorned into Frank Clair Stadium, it was officially the biggest sporting event that the city has ever hosted. And although
it's a more subjective thing to measure, with 30,000 visitors to the city joining even more Ottawans in the pre and post game celebrations, With over 100,000 passing through the celebrations at Landsdowne alone, Grey Cup week may have been Ottawa's biggest party ever.

Having grown up and lived in non-CFL cities my entire life, this was my first Grey Cup experience. Lured partly by the guarantee of Cup tickets (it was an easy, cheap ticket on the street in the end) I became a Renegades season ticket holder two years ago. Since then I've gone from a very casual CFL fan, to a more dedicated one.

Some would consider me a serious fan, a season ticket holder and I watch most other games on TV. However, compared to the people that make the annual pilgrimmage to Grey Cup week, I'm a rank amateur. Just being around so many intense hardcore fans who have such a true love of the game (and of beer).

Apparently there were a few problems; vendors ran out of beer before the game (although they were able to replenish) and the demand for food was so huge that vendors ran out. However, the only less than flawless operation that I saw all weekend was the mob scene for buses. With such a huge demand for the OC Transpo shuttles, I suppose it was an unavoidable scene. I'm not sure that there was any way that it could have been planned better. Those of us looking to get to some of the suburban shuttles were unable to move past the mob and toward bus stops further down the line, but the crowd was so packed that all you could do was go along with the crowd. Fortunately, the mob pushed me onto a bus fairly quickly and I didn't hear of any incidents afterward

I should also single out the TEAM1200's outstanding coverage of the week. Even when I couldn't be there, their on-location broadcasts gave me a taste of what it was like to be there.

I had sky-high expectations for the week. I wasn't disappointed. Bring on 2012!