If Hamilton gets the Grey Cup it will be because they earned it

The way that most fans from around the league have rallied around Hamilton’s bid for the 2020 Grey Cup has shown the country why CFL fandom is different than other leagues. The people of Saskatchewan have been especially generous in wishing to see the 2020 event take place in Hamilton, despite it meaning that it won’t be in Saskatchewan (though they won’t wait long after 2020 to get the game).

But every now and then a comment hits you and makes you realize that not everyone is on board with Hamilton getting the game for the first time in nearly a quarter century.

There is a a lot to unpack here. For starters, no one is saying Hamilton should host simply because they haven’t hosted in what would be 24 years if they are awarded the 2020 Grey Cup on Thursday. The phrase I have seen most often used when discussing this competition between Hamilton, Saskatchewan and Montreal is “all things being equal,” as in “all things being equal, Hamilton should host.” That’s not saying Hamilton should get because it has been a long time, but that if they put in a competitive bid against their two other competitors, that, yeah, maybe the city that hasn’t hosted in a generation should probably get this one.

There is a baseline assumption, too, that Hamilton didn’t put a solid bid in and that the only reason we Hamiltonians think we should get the game is because 1996. One of the words used to describe Hamilton’s bid has been “unique,” so it is clear the Ticats haven’t rested on the fact that 1996 was a long time ago to secure the game in 2020.

Hamiltonians have patiently waited their turn. When we were told that Ivor Wynne Stadium was no longer suitable to host Grey Cups, we understood. Then we saw the dilapidated husk of Mosaic Stadium hosted in 2013 and wondered how Ivor Wynne Stadium was considered unsuitable between 1997-2012. But again, we kind of just shrugged and moved on, knowing that Tim Hortons Field would be the final key to getting the game for the first time in a long time.

Then the lawsuits came, and the lawsuits on top of lawsuits, and the falling debris, and it was a mess. So we waited… and waited… and waited some more. Finally, lawsuits all settled and we are ready to go. The team didn’t bid on 2018 or 2019, so 2020 is the first time the city will have had a chance to put forth a bid for the Grey Cup ever.

Oh, that’s right, this whole bidding process is brand new, too, and sorry that decades of seeing cities handed Grey Cups they probably didn’t deserve (*cough* Toronto *cough*) has us a little on edge about being passed over for one we actually feel is deserved.

Even Ottawa in 2017, for all its successes, was given to the city because they league (rightfully) thought hosting the game in the capital as the cherry on top of the 150th birthday celebration sundae was a good idea.

What’s also a good idea is giving the event to a city that has had it just once in my lifetime. Yes, at 37 years old, I have seen the city I was born and grew up in host the Grey Cup exactly once. So forgive me if I think Hamilton should get the game again.

You can label it a pity party if you want, or you can say I want my participation ribbon. I don’t care. What I want is the Grey Cup here, and if Hamilton gets it on Thursday they will deserve it.

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