Monday, June 30, 2014

Peter King's most excellent football adventure!

Peter King and a new found friend in Regina
He came, He watched, He wrote!

With a coffee break at Tim's along the way and for good measure he shook hands with high society in Saskatchewan...

Well OK, it was Gainer, but you get the drift!

The week long review of Canadian Football for the Sports Illustrated portal Monday Morning Quarterback has come to an end.

SI's Peter King providing the final wrap up to Canada week on the site, that after his two province exploration journey to Alberta and Saskatchewan.

And from his reviews, we get the feeling that Mr. King gets the CFL, he understands the devotion that fans from most locales across the country deliver to their local teams (Oh Toronto, (sigh), Toronto why are you always the exception).

His opening paragraphs of the extensive accounts of his travels, seem to have captured our attachment to our game quite correctly.  Highlighting how Canadians love all forms of football including the NFL.

And while we respect and follow the league to the south quite religiously, we don't pine for the Big Show and more often than not, we sometimes wonder why America just doesn't take a glance our way from time to time.

He frequently touched on the theme of community and at it's heart that has always been the CFL's resonance and to do that he went deep into the home of CFL country, Saskatchewan.  A journey that took him to the province in the midst of incredible scenes of flooding to the east and to a game that was no gem of football lore, one played in about the worst possible conditions you could think of.

And still he found the story, not through the results of a pair of blow out season openers in Regina and Calgary, but in the stories of the trip along the way.

His wrap up to the CFL travelogue is quite the thing, touching a number of emotional themes along with a fair amount of background information on the game itself which should make for quite the introduction for many in the USA who may not have had much access to anything on the CFL.

King's eloquent words and attention to the little things, call to mind some of the past essays of Stephen  Brunt and Bruce Arthur to name a few.  The cream of a Canadian journalist crop who set the scene brilliantly pretty well every time they send work out to be published.

From the start the SI team assembled for this project approached the entire exercise with enthusiasm, with results that highlighted that passion for football that doesn't let something such as a border get in the way of objectivity.

His final item of the review, the Ten Things I think I think, provides a good capsule of his experiences during his tour of the prairies of the last few days.

Readers can contribute to that theme with their comments to the SI portal, outlining what they liked or didn't like about the MMQB coverage of the week.

And while Mr. King doesn't commit to an expanded placement of the CFL on the SI portal, he does suggest that the league may get more than an occasional glance in the months to come.

A good place for some of that coverage might be the Labour Day weekend and while it of course lands in the heart of the NFL training camp period, a journey to lets say Alberta, Regina or Hamilton would deliver another bit of exposure to the CFL experience.

And of course, Grey Cup week in Vancouver should find some kind of way to a MMQB day planner, the ultimate celebration of all things CFL would make a convert to the game of anyone, someone save Mr. King a ticket will ya?

For a look at the final instalment of the MMQB journey see this link, you can find our archive of the entire week of their travels here.

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