For the sport deprived Canadian, the opening theme to the CFL on TSN was the sweetest sound in a long time. It was like an old friend coming back from a lengthy vacation ready to entertain you with some great tales. Man if we had a Wendy's in this burg, I'd have run out and bought a burger and a Frosty in celebration. The CFL returned to our TV's on Wednesday night, kicking off the 2005 Regular season and what a welcome guest it was.
After a winter of discontent courtesy of our absent hockey obsession, the green field of McGill University was a most welcome sight. Finally something to invest our time in with a rewarding payback. A sport where money doesn't carry as much weight, where the game is still a game and the players seem to give 110% for the sheer joy of the competition. Indeed after listening to the dinosaurs in the NHL and the NHLPA try to take their league to extinction, the return of the CFL is a signal that all is well again above the 49th.
Perhaps now this league will never be taken for granted again, for it means much more to us than we may have realized. The CFL represents community and continuity of tradition, a place where Canadian homegrown college grads can line up and make the big play, just as easily as a highly touted American import. It's a league for those just beginning a professional journey, or a place for those looking for a second chance. A spot where yes, you can come up and star for awhile and take your chance on a dream in the NFL, but also a place where you know you can return and find the fun in the game again.
Yes the CFL has made some blunders over the years, they stumble, shoot themselves in the foot and give one cause for headshaking at how good a game it must be to survive those that have run it in the past. But it's also a league that rises to the occasion time and time again, with bitter rivalries that have lasted through the decades, memories of Grey Cups and Labour Days, Thanksgiving Classics and Divisional nail biters, through the years the CFL has offered up the memories for the taking.
And now more than ever perhaps we'll give it a bit more of the respect it deserves. Hockey lost a year of it's life and most likely more than a few fans with their little turf war this past winter.
For now Canadians want only to watch the wars on the Turf. As Hank Jr. might put it, "we're ready for some football"
Welcome back guys, glad you're back in the house!