Ticats fans take to social media to mourn the loss of two of their own

While the Hamilton Tiger-Cats were busy laying the boots to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Ticats fans were on Twitter talking butter tarts.

That might not make sense to some, but if you knew Brian Broom, it made all the sense in the world.

Brian was a diehard Ticats fan who was a constant presence on social media, keeping tabs on his favourite team from his home in Florida. In the digital age, where friends can be people you have never met, I considered Brian a friend. I never had the pleasure of meeting Brian, but he constantly promoted the work I do here for 3DownNation and we always planned on meeting up when he made his next trip to Hamilton, but we never made it work.

Brian Broom died on Thursday.

Now I will never get the chance to meet him. I will never get the chance to share a laugh with him or raise a glass with him or discuss the Ticats with him. He won’t be there when the Ticats finally win their next Grey Cup.

He is gone and the news of his passing hit me like a cannonball to the stomach.

Brian wasn’t the only Ticats fans who was mourned this past week, as Barry Kory also passed. You might not know Barry’s name, but you definitely knew who he was. His trademark suits and amazing moustache were a stable of Ticats games for years. He was a recognizable face in a fan base that has a lot of those. But he is gone now, too.

Sports fanbases are strange. You will often hear players and coaches refer to the team as a family, but in the CFL that extends to the fans. In an intimate league where the starting right tackle can live in the same apartment complex you do, there is a bond that forms between player and fan. I’ve seen players at the grocery store and worked with a young man who was once neighbours to Simoni Lawrence and Taylor Reed. That familiarity, that closeness, creates the larger family atmosphere that CFL teams crave. So when one of the family members dies, everyone feels it, and from fan to player to the organization as a whole.

Many fans, myself included, changed our Twitter profile pictures in memory of Brian. But we weren’t the only ones to do that, as both the Ticats team account and Ticats defensive end Adrian Tracy made the switch to Brian’s familiar Twitter picture.

The tweets of condolences came in as well, with the Ticats tweeting out about both Barry and Brian from the team account, and Tracy, Zach Collaros and Keon Lyn, among others, tweeting out their personal condolences as well to both men.

Tracy even dedicated his two-sack performance on Friday to Brian and Barry.

Former Ticats special teams and defensive coordinator Jeff Reinebold went on TSN1150 and talked about Brian, who was a personal friend of his.

Brian and Barry weren’t “just fans.” That term doesn’t exist in the CFL community. These were friends, but in many ways they were also family, and everyone felt their loss when they heard the news their passings.

Many Ticats fans used Friday’s game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers as a chance to remember Brian Broom by starting a hashtag #AButterTartForBrian and tweeting that along with pictures of themselves eating a butter tart. It was the least we could do for a man who touched the lives of so many people.

You never know who is going to make an impact on your life, and in what way, but both Brian and Barry made impacts on many people’s lives, more than they probably ever knew.

We lost two great men recently, but they will never be forgotten.

Must Read