Friday, 26 June 2015


“Get The Donuts”


It’s the day before the game here in Ridernation, and with that, many loyal Roughrider supporters will grab their pre-game Green and White gear while heading out the door, and wear it to work or around town.  It’s somewhat of a tradition in Saskatchewan, and it encapsulates the support that this province has for their only professional sporting organization.


In the locker room, another tradition takes place today, and this tradition has coincided with the day-before-the-game meetings for as long as anyone could imagine…


Rookies need to bring the dam breakfast.


As the CFL football goes, there’s no embarrassing hazing rituals that happen for new guys within the organizations.  This is the pro game.  Teams are trying to win championships; not act like stupid college fraternities that demand that someone prove how far they’re willing to go in order to have friends.


This is also a league in which rookies (and no we don’t care how much NFL experience you have, you’re a rookie here) aren’t making a whole lot of money as yet.  There’s no exorbitant position dinners where guys are at The Diplomat Steakhouse ordering Magnums of Dom Perignon, Oysters, Market Price Lobster, and then sticking a guy like Nehemie Kankolongo with the bill.  #CashFlowLow


This is an organization that expects to compete for a championship, and if you’re a first year guy on any part of Saskatchewan Roughrider roster, then you’ve already earned some initial respect from the mix of vets making up the majority of this group, HOWEVER…


There are no free rides.  No sir.


A 2015 Grey Cup Championship in Saskatchewan is going to rely heavily on the health of its experienced leaders this year.  An injury in one or two key spots will mean that someone gets to step in, but more importantly, all the other VETS will need to step up. 

For a new player who just has to walk in and do his job, that's gotta be worth a few slices of bacon.


At one point, all the vets that are being leaned on for 2015, were in the same boat as these rookies are now.  They too had to go through the same ordeal of getting specific donuts, or a certain types of breakfast sandwiches.  


There’s always one vet who takes not getting their exact order, way to personally; and there will always be one or two rookies that don’t feel like they should have to fork over money, just to feed guys who are getting paid way more than them (A visit from the phantom will take care of that attitude). 


Either way, breakfast at the beginning of every “Day before” practice is a small price to pay considering the reliance these young pups actually have on certain guys in that locker room.  


Depending on the health of guys like Chris Best and Brendon Labatte for the big picture is surely worth a couple of Apple Fritters per weekHaving John Chick and T. George shouldering the load upfront is worth its weight in breakfast burritos, and young guys better not have a problem with ordering a Turkey Sausage on aEnglish muffin, from Tims, when comparing Shea Emery’s overall value to that Linebacker group.  #GetItDone

This isn’t a paying homage type of deal.  Nobody is asking to be waited on hand and foot here.  Bringing breakfast is nothing more than paying dues for an education that one will have with them for the rest of their careers, and carry with them throughout their regular lives when the stadium lights turn off for the final time. 


Rookies are about to get a crash course in what it takes to navigate the long roads of a CFL season.  There will be lessons in preparing both physically and mentally for each week of competition.  One will get a tutorial on how to focus on the next play and forget about how good, or how bad, the previous play may have been.  Young guys will also learn how to react to a win, and how to bounce back from a loss.  One of the most important lessons will be how to handle the pressure of playing for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and the fishbowl environment that exists in this province.


Every resource that a first year player for the Roughriders needs during 2015 will be right at their fingertips.  This team has all the tools to get to the Grey Cup this year and health is going to be a major factor in that journey.  

Within those locker room walls, the anticipation of kick-off is at its highest point.  The day before a game is a chance to put the finishing touches on all the prep work for Saturday’s clash with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  Players on both sides of the ball will get the chance to answer any final assignment issues they may have, and all that’s left to do before one leaves is figure out how to distribute their complimentary game tickets. #VetsGetThoseToIfUrNotUsingThem


The Championship drive starts Saturday.  Everyone in Green and White will have a role.  Some jobs will require more of an individual, but all the requirements are crucial for the development of this squad, and it's Grey Cup hope, as the year progresses. 


The day before a game goes by in a blink of an eye, and before one knows it, the time to strap up is upon them. 

At least guys aren’t going through the day on an empty stomach.  This tradition is not a test in humility.  All it represents is the recognition that skill doesn't make one a champion.  

Champions are moulded through process.  

For now, part of that process is simple...



Cups up to the boys going 1-0











1 comment:

  1. Man, Luc, love these insights as they really flesh out the Rider experience. Keep 'em coming.