From the sidelines
ON SATURDAY, NOV. 12, I jumped on a 10 a.m. Greyhound bus to Montreal with the Fulcrum’s art director. It was a tight fit with my computer, book bag, and his pho- tography equipment, but we made it on.
Two hours later we arrived—and boy, was I excited. You have to understand that I don’t get out much, and have only been to Montreal a total of three times in my life. Not only was I going to the “big city” of Quebec as it were, but I was going to watch a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Championship soccer match!
This was going to be my first time covering a CIS championship game. Since September, I have been in awe of our women’s soccer team, watching them grow into a dedicated squad capable of going all the way to nationals. It was no surprise that they did, and I felt honoured to be able to travel to Montreal to watch one of their games.
Now, like I said, I had never been to a CIS championship game before and I was really excited—especially when I heard it was going to be in the Molson Stadium where the Montreal Alouettes play. I was expecting a big to-do, kind of like a U.S. football game or something. I guess my expectations were too high—way too high!
There was no big show, no mascots, no fireworks. There was no music, no half- time show, no commentary. And there were no fans. Well, there were maybe 100 fans, but in a stadium that can fit 25,000 people, that doesn’t look like a lot.
We went to pick up our press passes in a sports centre built like a maze. We shouldn’t have even bothered because no one asked for our passes for the rest of the game. We didn’t need them to get in the stadium, we didn’t need them to get in the press box, and we didn’t need them to get on the field for post-game interviews. At least they make a decent collectables.
The press boxes didn’t have Internet, and anyone who wanted to go in a box could. There were families trying to escape from the cold and fans wanting a better view of the field. Stream Sports Network Canada took over the main box and said no one else could come in. Basically, I couldn’t live tweet the game, it was freezing cold, and we were distracted by the fact that the baby in the press box beside us was about to crawl out the window.
My disappointment with the CIS championship semifinals had nothing to do with our Gees. Even though they lost, their game was solid. They held their own against a team that won the champi- onships last year, only losing in the final shootout after double overtime. My disappointment was with the CIS and the lack of effort put into these games.
These are the championships guys; they are a big deal. Do a little advertising, get some fans in the stands, and suggest a mascot travels with the team. I’m not asking for fireworks here—but a banner welcoming teams to the CIS champion- ships would have been nice. These teams work very hard to get here, so at least make them feel like it’s worth it.