Dear Winnipeg Blue Bomber Organization,

You don’t know me, not personally, but I am a fan. Yes, still.

I just wanted you to know that we, the collective “we”, do not hate you. Contrary to popular belief, and the overwhelming impression given on twitter, you do indeed have fans left. We’re just a little quieter than the rowdies who love to hear the sound of their own voices and spout their coaching prowess and high school football stats online. Because much like your team, your players, coaches and management, we’re tired of being crapped on for showing support to a struggling team, for staying positive and refusing to bash them. Please do not take that for naiveté or ignorance though. We KNOW there is work to be done. Oh lordy, is there work to be done. But we the few, are the firm believers that feel there are enough “fans” hollering the negative that perhaps, just maybe, the team could use a little positivity.

We’re the ones who quietly but proudly still don our Bomber gear at work on Casual Fridays. We’re the ones with the Alex Suber screen savers, the BB pinnies up on the wall of our offices, the Bomber logo on our phones. We’re the ones NOT regretting our Bomber licence plates or season tickets. We’re the ones filling the stands with hope and staying till the time runs out, win or lose. We’re still here. Answering “The Bombers, who else?” when questioned on who we will cheer for this week.

I am a fan of the New Orleans Saints also. So as you can imagine, last year was a tough one to be a sports fan. I know loss, in the fans sense of the word. I know you can’t win everything all the time. I know you don’t always have a good game, a good season, even a mediocre season. I also know you can come back from shitty times. I know great things can be born out of low moments. You’re on the right track, fellas. Its a slow process, its a rebuild from the ground up. I can see the movements, the changes, the position switches, the new kids in town. You’re on the right track. We’ve derailed enough, lets stay on that track.

I was walking in Safeway a few weeks ago and a stranger, a total stranger, said to me “Wow, you’re pretty brave to be wearing that sweatshirt”. I had to stop for a second and think, hey, was I secretly transported to Regina? DUDE. I’m in Winnipeg. This is our team. What the hell are you talking about? I replied with, “They’re our boys, you have to support our boys”. He muttered an “I suppose” and walked away. Really? In our OWN CITY?

At work I am known as the face of optimism when it comes to Bomber pride. People think I’m crazy. I’ve been called delusional. I’ve been admired for my dedication. I’ve been questioned on how much I actually could possibly know about the team to still be so positive and hopeful. And I surprise just about all but the lowest of naysayers. Because I know the game. Though they generally go away when I say “They are our home team. Who the hell else are you going to cheer for??”. I have one co-worker who will come up to me before each game and request the usual. “Tell me something positive going in, Char.” So I do. I always have something. Some stat, some new player, some kid off of the injury list ready to ball again. He walks away satisfied, perhaps not anymore hopeful but a little less negative.

So there you go, Bombers. We’re still out there. We see Ford ready to plow through men twice his size. We see Max Hall and his potential (because yes, he has potential). We see Alex Hall and Bryant Turner ready and dying to keep us at the top of the Sack Leader list. We see Suber and Johnson and Washington flying, grabbing, switching roles and making plays. We see Markett, the newbie, making ground, making a place for himself. We see our two new big men, Knapp and Jones, in town for four days, expected to know the playbook and somehow managing to give Hall a little more time to make those passes that seemed to just find their rightful owners more often than not. And speaking of rightful owners, can we just talk about Kelly for a minute? Sky High Kelly, grabbing shit out of nowhere. We see our star, our fave, our veteran who doesn’t want to be anywhere but Winnipeg, Edwards, throwing his body around to catch whatever comes in his general direction. My word that man. Please lets just keep that man.

We see this and more. We get bummed when a loss comes our way, just like the negative nellies out there. But we know. We know you’re trying. We know you’re making decisions that you think, in the heat of the moment, are the right ones. We’ve all been there. And yes, it sucks knowing you have lost again. But we’re still here and we’re staying. We see the moves being made behind the scenes. The releases. The acquiring of new talent. Boltus, Brown, Kelly, Sims Walker, Knapp, Jones, and the mighty Bellefeuille who, while the losses have still come, seems to be able to make things happen every now and then. We see the potential now. And for those of us with common sense and patience, we see what this might bring us next year. That’s right. Next year. Not this week. Not right now. Next year people.

So now, when you’re on Twitter or reading those god awful comments on the online newspaper stories, remember this. Not everyone thinks you need to fire every coach and coordinator under the sun. Not everyone thinks the stadium was a waste of money. Not everyone wants to run you all out of town with pitchforks and burning sticks. Just the loud ones do. Us quiet ones? Well, you’ll hear us. At every game. Raising the decibel levels. Because where we are quietly supportive behind a screen, we are loud and mighty at the very moment when you need us to be.

Thanks guys, we got your back.
Go Blue.

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Crossing The Line…..The Finish Line

I used to avoid the idea of entering running races because I never wanted to be the one that came in last. And then it dawned on me. Someone has to be last. And so what if its me? Who cares what your time is or your rank? You finished something a good 90% of the population in your city did not even bother to wake up for. First, last, or somewhere in between, you gave ‘er shit and got ‘er done and lookee here, you have the t-shirt to show for it.

I read a tweet the other day that someone wrote about not bothering with a race because they feared they’d be last and couldn’t stomach it. The tweet was written by a person who is a very seasoned runner, clearly not used to anything but top ranking, and the idea of being in the back of the pack with us lowly “slow pokes” was reason enough to lace up on their own elsewhere, so as not to be embarrassed that someone might lump them in the same group as us. For shame. It makes me think that they are the type that would snicker when they see a heavier person out there walking/jogging/TRYING.

It prompted an “Unfollow”. True athletes support each other, are proud of each others effort and accomplishments. True athletes realize that waking up every day to slug it out with the pavement or the treadmill or the weights is an unending commitment and know that as long as they are out there trying, then they’re “one of us”. True athletes know that trying is the very best you can do. So long as you are trying, you are, in your own way, kicking ass. So long as you are trying, you are, in your own way, an athlete.

So to the tweeter who couldn’t possibly enter anything that might make them push themselves, possibly face the fact that theres always room for improvement, I say this: I may come in last, but I am not on the couch. I am not in bed. I am not sitting on my ass doing nothing. I am out here, with you, running, just like you are. And I’m trying my best. “Last” is better than “Did Not Finish”, which trumps “Did Not Start”.

Double Standard

Quick question….

How come no one dares utter a negative WORD when the Jets lose, yet this city takes a collective DUMP on the Bombers when they do?

Yes, we just got them back. Yes, its been a crazy start to the season for them. But seriously, I don’t follow hockey that much and even *I* know they’re actually just not really that great of a team. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that no one bashes the shit out of them all over twitter, and that fans protect and defend them to those that have the balls to, but why is it so different than defending and loving the Bombers, win or lose? Why do people feel like its a-ok to shit-upon the Bombers when they don’t play well? Is it because they have a history of not being that great? Or because they had a shitty year where they made a habit of not being that great? Well, thus far the Jets have lost more than they’ve won. Soooo…..

Like I said. I am a huge fan of people being positive about their home teams and defending them win or lose and I’m certainly not implying that people need to start bashing the Jets because they don’t have a good game. I just think the courtesy needs to be extended to ALL the home teams we have.

Go blue.

Time and Place

There is a time and place for everything.

Wearing a black and gold tutu and dragging a panther behind you down Poydras? Time: Game day. Place: New Orleans. (Not heading in to a huge work meeting for example).

Burrowing your head in your laptop and not coming up for air or family or anything? Time: Invoice day. Place: Dining room table. (Not during a huge family dinner for example).

Playing in the freshly fallen snow with wild abandon? Time: Post Blizzard. Place: Backyard. (Not on the side of the road after being pulled over by the cops for example).

But most importantly, there is the whole “eating well and exercising” thing. Usually a pretty big part of my life. However. There is a time and place for healthy eating, and there is an equal and opposite time and place for pigging the heck out and eating what you want. New Orleans, 2012. Let the feasting begin.

Day one. Fried chicken sandwhich. Fries. Full on delish badness. Add to that two airport “meals” on the way and I can already see the “good eating” waving me goodbye at the gate. Add to that a late night milkshake and oh maybe a chicken burger and BOOM, instant sleep inducer.

Day two. 3 deep fried chunks of goodness otherwise known as beignets. Essentially donuts, delivered to you warm and covered in MOUNDS of icing sugar. Like, MOUNDS. Like Tony Montana in Scarface last scene with head in a bowl of cocaine, mounds. Add to that a cafe au lait with REAL sugar (I think they’d have laughed at me had I requested Splenda and really, whats the point) and BOOM, instant sugar high. A mid afternoon lunch/dinner consisted of a mufaletta (big soft white bun with sesame seeds, ham, salami etc and cheese) and a Pimms cup and BOOM, instant carb crash. Now since “lupper” was at mid afternoon, OBVS there would be late night snacking going on. One delicious Lucky Dog in mah belly and a quick trip to Walgreens produced chips and diet Fanta (best ever) and oh yeah, king size box of Milk Duds and BOOM, instant new BFFs, me and milk duds 4ever.

Day three. Game day. Hotel freebie breakfast (toast and coffee) because all energies must be focused on game day prep. Covered in black and gold we set off. 7 hours later the only food in my belly was my long since digested toast and a shared bag of wonderfully bad-for-you stadium popcorn. And after walking back to our French Quarter hang out, I needed a burger man. So a burger was had. Quick fix, back to the hotel to dump the tutu and get warm garb on and back out we went. Totally spent, adrenaline drained from my body, we wandered around, checking menus, looking for some cheap yummy grub, maybe a jumbalaya, maybe not. Landed in a smallish joint playing the football game and set up house. After a salty afternoon my dinner consisted of: one rootbeer float (full sugar, not diet) with heaps of vanilla ice cream and 3 beingets with heaps of icing sugar. Yeah. That was dinner. 2 gallons of sugar later and BOOM, the realization that we had to get up at 4am for a flight sunk in, along with my sugar crash.

So in conclusion….by all means eat well and exercise but for the love of god when you’re on vacation, RELAX and have some donuts for dinner. BOOM.

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

Two weeks! Two weeks from tomorrow and I will be on a plane, heading to New Orleans, where the sole purpose of the trip is to watch some FOOTBALL!!! There will be a little shopping, some really phenomenal eating, but mostly, there will be football-ing.

My NFL team is the New Orleans Saints. It has been ever since I first saw them play at the Superdome in September of 2008. Theres just something about dem Saints, baby. From the moment they take the field, the post-coin-toss moment where Drew raises his hand, swipes it down and 86,000 people start chanting “Who dat?”, the group huddle and cheer prior to the start of the game where giant men surround one gaint man and hang on every word he says and in unison they agree that they deserve this win, they have earned this win, they expect this win. And watching them play? Its breathtaking. From Darren Sproles who is all thigh, to Jimmy Graham who is all legs, to Akiem Hicks who is all Canadian, to Jonathan Vilma who is all in, to Drew Brees who is all eyes. Makes one amazing team who is all heart.

I will be, in my obsessive fan glory, decked out from head to toe in black and gold. I have even bought spray paint to paint old boots gold a la MsBehaviour’s Bomber Boots. There will be black and gold nails, gold eyeshadow, my beloved number 9 jersey (natch), face paint, gold glitter, tattos, eye glare tape, and fleur de lis’s stuck everywhere I can stick em. But the piece de resistance? The dragging panther.

You see, when we are there, the Saints play the Carolina Panthers. And, much like the guy at the Bomber game who drags around a tiger on a rope when we play the TiCats, I will be dragging along a black panther on a lovely golden string through the streets of New Orleans. As excited as I am to watch Cam Newton play, I hope he gets a royal TROUNCING on game day.

Add to that some decidedly witty and clever signs that we are sure to get on TV, and there you have an NFL fan at its finest. Anything less would be an insult to the cult that is the Who Dat Nation.

Geaux Saints!

Jesus H Winnipeg, Cheer the Hell Up

Ok 85% of you Winnipeggers. What in the bejeebus is it going to take to make you happy? Huh? What? Because no matter what you whine for, pine for, beg for or insist on, the  MINUTE you get it, you find something wrong with it. ALWAYS. Oh, you think I’m wrong? You feelin’ a touch defensive? Let me refresh your whiny goddamn memory. Sit back, relax, and just listen to yourselves.

Case in point number 1 – We want an NHL team. No wait. We want OUR NHL team back. The old one. And you better call them the Jets. Oh whats that? We have them and you called them the Jets? Well then the logo better be pretty effing cool. Oh whats that? You’re changing the logo? Oh em gee it better be wicked or we just won’t like the Jets AT ALL anymore. THAT’S the logo??? Fuck the Jets man.

Case in point number 2 – We want a new stadium. The old one is horrible and gross and rickety and an embarrassment to the city of Winnipeg. It has gross bathrooms and small seats and is Just. Not. Good Enough. Oh whats that? We get a new stadium? Its going to be state of the art and likely the nicest one in all of Canada? Well then it better be ready the friggin SECOND you said it was going to be ready or we just won’t like the Bombers anymore. Never mind that its an architecturally intense structure that we don’t want to get wrong, its late. Its late and the world just stops turning cuz YOU SAID it would be ready. Oh whats that? We don’t get the trough to pee in anymore and the team lost this year? Fuck the Bombers man.

Case in point number 3 – We want an Ikea. We’re a big, all-growed-up city now and we deserve a big, all-growed-up store. Winnipeg has been holding its breath for decades to bring in a furniture store to monopolize the really-neatly-designed-but-crappily-made furniture market and goddammit we NEED this. It will show the rest of Canada that we aren’t the stupid little brother anymore. Oh whats that? Its coming and is going to open on time? Well did you not realize that it was going to put smaller home decor stores out of business and the products are horrible and don’t come with instructions and only losers admit to shopping at Ikea? Fuck Ikea man.

Winnipeg. Get. Over. Yourselves.

Your Face Is Dirty

Its Movember. Which, in reality, is one of the most brilliant, unique and popular fundraising initiatives I have seen in a long, long time. Everyone loves to get involved and the words “MoBros” and “MoSisters” are flung about willy nilly. And while participation and donations skyrocket for prostate cancer and mens cancers in general, I long for December 1 when the creepy looking dudes in the office who just can’t swing proper facial hair get to wipe that catepillar off of their faces.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some that can rock the handlebar and some that normally have a moustache of some kind. There are some who clearly have no idea how to properly keep it trimmed and groomed. There are some that need to “anchor” it with a goatee (bless the goatee). But there are some that look like 13 year old boys who haven’t had their first shave yet because Look Mom I’m a MAN Now!

I walked up to a colleague near the end of the month last year and said “Oh, did you only just start your fundraising?” He looked a little hurt and murmured “Noooo.” Oh. “Sorry” I said.

My boss is participating this year. When I saw his name on the list I sat with it for awhile and determined that no, no I could not picture him with any sort of facial hair. I told him as much too. He reassured me that there would be a full goatee happening and even with that, I find myself a bit taken aback every time I go into his office. My first thought when I realized he was participating was an immediate “What meetings does he have this month where he will have to present, in front of people, with that THING on his face?”

I now find myself walking around stores and malls and wondering “is that your real look or is that your Movember attempt?” Moustaches are not something I normally notice on a person (well, unless they’re female, then its kind of ALL you notice), but just the fact that for the month of November, ALL you think about are moustaches and who has ’em? Well, as a previous non-profit, medical related fundraising professional, I give you a standing ovation for the birth of Movember. Bravo.

Time to go buy some stock in Gillette. I have a funny feeling in a couple of weeks it will skyrocket.