Bronwyn wrote about this better than I can, but tonight Saskatchewan Roughrider fans have broken hearts. You know, while I only spoke positively about today's Grey Cup championship, I wasn't quite sure. I guess it's because we've only won the Grey Cup three times in ninety-seven years. I was hopeful but felt cautious.
And then it suddenly looked like we had it. My team was amazing today. Everyone seemed to have it together, and we were dominating over the seemingly-unbeatable team. By the fourth quarter, I turned to my friends and said with amazement, "I think we might win the Grey Cup!?" A few minutes later I started thinking gloatingly about how CBC Sports would have to eat their words about their prediction that the Alouettes would beat us by 16 points.
And then we lost in the last second, in the most heatbreaking way imaginable. An extra man on the field allowed them to re-kick a missed field goal. It took me half an hour before I could really fathom that we'd lost by that single point. It was harder because we'd briefly thought we had won. We sat in silence for what seemed to be an eternity.
When did I become someone who cares this much about any sport? This is a relatively new thing, the result of marriage to a man who loves his hometown team deeply, whose mother speaks about individual players as if she knew them. It's also the result of being a Saskatchewanian on the West Coast: the familiar and home-like are so important to me out here. The Riders are so deeply intertwined with our prairie identity, with our identification of ourselves as the perpetually hopeful underdogs, the Charlie Browns of Canada.
And somehow I've become a person who feels weepy about how sad the head coach is. Who thinks words like "I would like to hug those football players." Who feels strongly that the team should keep quiet about whose fault that loss was. (Sometimes the "more than a game" attitude is a bad thing in my province.)
I'll be picking up a dejected Christopher from the airport tomorrow morning. I've baked cookies (which I will take along), and will keep the Rider flag on our car.
Edited to Add: So, it turns out that Ky (who always gets my references) has never heard of/doesn't remember "Casey at the Bat," even though she has apparently seen the same Disney sports specials that I did as a kid. And so here's a link to the YouTube video.