Sunday, March 3, 2019
10 WEEKEND THINGS FROM MEXICO
2 - JOHNNY FOOTBALL: The news which created the most waves was Ambrosie instructing the Alouettes to release Manziel, and barring all other teams from signing him. Everyone wants to know what he did? In truth, it doesn't matter. Manziel's life has been one screw-up after another and that will continue at his next stop. His substance abuse history has been well-documented and it seems he's refused help at every turn. My favourite saying in Recovery is: "Nothing Changes If Nothing Changes". Johnny's still trapped in the mindset that everyone else is the problem when in reality, his biggest problem is the mirror.
3 - CO2: My heart sank when I read that Chad Owens had been charged with assault on Monday and appeared in a Toronto court on Tuesday. No details have been divulged of the incident but I'm hoping for the best possible outcome. I've seen thousands of players come and go but Chad Owens is unique. He's got a gigantic heart, but the heart of a lion and that's how he's survived at 5"7". He's also unusually high strung. Many times a man's greatest strength is also his biggest weakness.
4 - MEXICO: We've been down here for the better part of February and one thing's dawned on me. Mexicans aren't big people so if you're 6'3", 230 lbs like me or bigger, it's virtually impossible to find clothes that fit in a town like Huatulco. And so far, I haven't found any football players! Not that I've been looking overly hard.
5 - CFL LABOUR UNREST: It would be best for all parties if the CFL and the CFLPA did their negotiating behind closed doors and came out with a deal. Firing shots in the media isn't good for anyone, except the media. But Stampeders punter Rob Maver got the ball rolling Friday saying the players are angry at Commissioner Randy Ambrosie over suspending the off-season bonuses. (Did the Riders wind up paying Zach Collaros the $175,000 bonus he reportedly signed for?). Ambrosie is a cardigan-wearing, political-speaking former CFL player but make no mistake: he's a killer and his bosses are the CFL owners. This new CBA will be settled when the players stand down and that won't be for awhile.
6 - TOP OF THE O'DAY: Here is your weekly reminder to not make an assessment on the Jeremy O'Day regime in Riderville until after Year 2. From what I can see, fans want a miracle out of him after just one month on the job. Do I expect big things from the Green & White in 2019? No. I expect them to finish 5th. But do I think that's the fault of Jeremy O'Day or incumbent Head Coach Craig Dickenson? Not on your life. This team never found or developed a QB the past three years and now it's biting them.
7 - IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM...: ....Join 'em. Of the 100-plus free agent signings in the CFL this winter, one still has me reeling: Rider MVP Willie Jefferson to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. What still echoes in my head is Willie's quote after the 2018 Western Semifinal when the Bombers beat the Riders when he said, "They wanted it more". I still feel Jefferson got a pass on that one from the Rider Nation. Back in the day, Rider fans would find that unacceptable. They can accept losing, but not failing to give your all.
8 - THANK YOU TRAVIS: It's unlikely BC Lions QB Travis Lulay - who retired this week - will get into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame but if there's a H.O.F. for human beings, he'd be a first ballot inductee. I feel you need to win two Grey Cups as a starter to quality (looking at you Henry Burris) and Lulay fell just short. But he'll never be forgotten and he's everything you want your QB to be. I'll never forget in 2011 when he was named MVP of the Grey Cup, he donated the $10,000 cheque to an abused womens shelter. That's what you need to remember about Travis Lulay.
9 - HIT A NERVE: Last Saturday I pointed out the thousands of empty seats at the Pats-Warriors nationally-televised game in Moose Jaw and people cried for days. "It's too cold!", "The start time was bad!", "The Pats are a crappy opponent!", "Tickets are too expensive!", was all I heard. Meanwhile Saskies shelled out thousands to flock to Edmonton to watch the crappiest team in the NHL that same weekend, and filled SaskTel Centre to watch the NLL's Rush. I don’t get it. None of those excuses apply there. Junior hockey has a MASSIVE problem right now with getting people out to games. I'm glad it's not my problem to figure out.
10 - RANDOM THOUGHTS: Expect an announcement on Touchdown Atlantic within a week. ... What day are they handing out the Jack Adams Trophy to the Flames' Bill Peters? What a turnaround. Holy smokes. ... The Saskatoon Blades have made the playoffs for the first time since 2013, yet Pats fans think they're hard done by. ... Huatulco, Mexico is the same size as Yorkton at roughly 18,000 people. However, I'm guessing, far warmer. But I couldn't live here. The nearest Walmart is 2 hours away. ... However single guys should know the ratio of women to men here is 7-1. ... One of my favourite CFL memories was when Travis Lulay's BC Lions faced Cleo Lemon's Toronto Argonauts at Rogers Centre and it was the Lulay-Lemon Bowl. ... Jason Whitten is unretiring and joining the Dallas Cowboys as a tightend. Methinks his Monday Night Football role won't be there for him when he decides to retire again. ... 32 degrees and sunny today here in Mexico. Thanks to Ron Ulmer and Barb Peterson for Friday's tour. LIFE IS AMAZING!