COLUMN: Sports interest has its ups and downs

Despite not having been a huge (or even small for that matter) football fan, it was still disappointing that the BC Lions ...

Despite not having been a huge (or even small for that matter) football fan, it was still disappointing that the BC Lions fell short last weekend.

The reason being is that the Grey Cup is always held on or close to my birthday, and since there is little to celebrate the passing of my chronological time, the football game at least brought some interest to that annual event.

I have however, attended a number of Lions games, back in days of the cold, though perhaps traditional, Empire Stadium and then later in B.C. Place – admittedly only when the offer of free tickets came my way.

I also remember a particularly frigid evening when I was invited to the Shrine Bowl, again at Empire, by a friend who was the coach of an Abbotsford high school team.

Can’t remember if we won or not, since it was so long ago the coach – an insurance agent who hailed from Texas – said he’d return to his native land if British Columbia ever “nationalized” car insurance.

We got ICBC, the Lone Star State got its boy back, and I’m still not sure if that was a win or a loss for us.

So, despite lacking in football fervor, I do hold a certain affection for the game, and will miss, at least this year, not seeing even briefly B.C.’s team challenging for a repeat of last year’s Grey Cup win.

Despair not, however, for a lack of “championship” titles on the gridiron in a province known across the nation as one of conundrums.

Abbotsford this past week became home of the Lingerie Football cup, though the name of that trophy escapes me at the moment (C-Cup, D-Cup, perhaps?).

Not that I follow the on-field demonstrations of pigskin prowess, obviously displayed along with a lot of other skin, at the Abbotsford Sports and Entertainment Centre, but I did see thanks to Facebook a photo of the game, shot from one end zone and revealing the “crowd” in the other.

If success is based on the number (or more appropriate, the lack thereof) of people who appeared to be in paid attendance, I’d suggest city council better keep relying on facility rentals for bikini ball rather than switch to attendance revenues to help pay off the debt on that facility.

On the other hand, it does appear there is a surging interest in hockey which, if the NHL lockout continues, might at least reduce the city’s financial commitment to the owner/operators of the Heat.

The big question, of course, is whether or not that brand of hockey can maintain fan interest, and Abbotsford’s financial relief, when Gary Bettman and pro hockey players come to terms.

The irony, though, much as I mentioned last week about the possible banning of wood-burning fireplaces by Metro Vancouver when at the same time they want to incinerate more than 500,000 tonnes of garbage each year, is that for us to win in Abbotsford we may have to lose on professional sports viewing opportunities.

So, on Nov. 25, rather than turning on the TV to support B.C. in the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup in Toronto, I’ll be sitting at home reviewing my own past life, and clinging very tenaciously to the hope that well into the future I might also find celebration in 100 years of history.

markrushton@abbynews.com

 

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