If you’re already a part of R-Nation, then this post isn’t for you. But on the off-chance you’re one of the many fans around the CFL who suddenly find themselves turning to Ottawa as the thought of an Eskimo Grey Cup victory fills them with dread, then please pay close attention.
While everyone loves a good underdog story, nobody wants to seem like they’re just getting behind the flavour of the week. In an effort to help you convince friends, family and that annoying GREENWHITE fan at your Grey Cup party that the Redblacks have always been your 2nd favourite CFL team, here’s a few key facts to keep in mind.
a) R-Nation is passionate fan base and much older than the Redblacks themselves. R-Nation includes Rough Rider, Renegade and Redblacks fans. It features people who can clearly recall watching Russ Jackson play live, who remember why Josh Ranek was aptly named “The Little Ball of Hate” and who went to their first CFL playoff game last week.
b) Never say the G-word (Hint, it rhymes with Mieberman)
c) NORTH SIDE SUCKS. Period.
d) “The Catch” refers strictly to Tony Gabriel’s 1976 Grey Cup grab. 2nd and 25 refers to Greg Ellingson’s recent magic.
e) #DBlock is the secondary’s nickname, not the entire defence’s
f) Mouchoir is a dirty word when spoken in regards to our team, otherwise it’s cause for excessive celebrating and thunderous applause
g) After last season’s receiving woes, one cannot swoon over Chris Williams, Greg Ellingson, Ernest Jackson and Brad Sinopoli enough
h) Special teams are a time to hold your breath (not counting last game). Normally, nothing good comes from them
i) The Church of Burris isn’t quite a large as the Church of Alfie, but it is growing every day
j) Yes we have wood cookies. They don’t taste very good but they do look great hanging above your fireplace mantel.
Now that you have a couple of tidbits to prove you’re more than just a bandwagoner, here’s how to handle some common questions that may get thrown your way when people find out you’re a Redblacks fan.
a) What’s a Redblack?
A Redblack is what an opposing team’s co-ordinator checks his closet for before going to bed.
b) Ottawa’s CFL teams have folded twice, the same thing will happen to the Redblacks right?
Wrong, quite wrong in fact. First off, the fans were never the issue, even in the Renegade era we averaged over 20,000 per game. Secondly, EVERY OTHER CFL TEAM has faced the potential of folding/going bankrupt, it was never just an “Ottawa thing”. Unfortunately for fans in the Nation’s Capital, we weren’t as fortunate as some who were bailed out (I’m looking at you Toronto, Hamilton and Saskatchewan). Thirdly, and most importantly, local ownership makes all the difference. It’s incredible what happens when the team isn’t sold to ski resort manager…twice.
c) Didn’t Ottawa draft a dead guy once?
While we did draft a dead guy, it was in an era long before cell phones and the internet and more importantly, nobody seems to remember that Montreal did too!
d) Why do the fans at TD Place chant that the “North/South Side” sucks?
It all started back in 1980. According to Southsider President Byron Smith “The chant started one of those times that the defence came off the field and we were welcoming them with a standing ovation, but as usual the North Side was sitting on their hands. We put our frustrations it into words and let rip a “North Side Sucks!”.
From those humble beginnings a full-fledged rivalry was spawned and is still going strong 35 years later. The CFL’s documentary on it is well worth 15 min of your time.
By now you’re more than prepared to deal with any naysayers who try to give you flak for hopping on the Redblacks bandwagon. Ultimately, tune them out, you’ve just made one of the best decisions of your life. Welcome to R-Nation, I’m sure you’ll love it here.