Just once in your life, wouldn’t you like to be $182-million away from a new deal with your boss and still be “close”? Maybe when my book deal leads to a movie deal: “50 Shades of Grey Cup.”
Disappointed to learn guys named Grey, Christian or otherwise, have never won the Grey Cup. Alouettes alumni Mike and Paul Gray are among the 12 Gray’s who have played in the CFL since 1946, but neither ever tasted champagne on their lips from the most precious 84-centimetres of silver in the country.
With apologies to E.L. James, here’s 50 things I love about Grey Cup:
*That 7 banners fly at Molson Stadium for each Alouette victory and there is room for more in the East End Zone.
*I love the fact that the Cup is often lugged around in a non-descript hockey bag.
*That I was at the Staple Game. I don’t even remember it being cold, though non-Montrealers refer to it as “The Ice Bowl.” Montrealers know it was “The Staple Game” and the late great Tony Proudfoot kept the actual staple gun he found in the dressing room that helped secure the Als’ footing and the 2nd win for Marv Levy in 4 years.
*That “Blue Rodeo” sang “Lost Together” at Halftime 2009 before the astounding 2nd Half comeback now known as the “13th Man Miracle.”
*Angelo Mosca once explained to me the difference between Grey Cup “curfew” and “bed check.” When Coach came knocking to ensure players were tucked in, the Ti-Cat was embarrassed that pink high heels were in plain view. Bed check apparently didn’t cover who was hiding under the bed.
*The greatest catch of Ben Cahoon’s career came in a Grey Cup. His leaping, diving, one-handed extension to haul in a Calvillo bomb was one of 6/148 and a TD that night in Regina.
*The roar from Mike Pringle after opening the scoring against his ex-teammates en route to an Eskimo win for Ricky Ray’s first ring.
*The sight of fellow former Alouette Kevin Lefsrud puffing on a stogie long after that 2003 victory, sitting on the stairwell of the Esks’ hotel. The big man from Viking, Alberta (hard by the Sutter Family farm) revealed that Adriano Belli (still with Montreal then) had tried to pinch, pull or otherwise abuse virtually every erogenous zone an o-lineman can have.
*Belli’s profound words at the ’02 Victory Parade Rally: “Big kiss to everybody.”
*That handfuls of confetti from the ’02 win, ending the longest drought in Alouette history, remain in a coat pocket of mine.
*That Shania Twain was laughably bad at lip-syncing the 2002 Halftime Show. Served her right for dressing in a Michelin Man ski jacket, when months later she would go all dominatrix at Super Bowl. *Which reminds me: the ’03 Grey Cup Parade actually wound its way past a Regina sex shop with a store-front mannequin wearing g-string and inflatable Rider helmet.
*Sam Etcheverry insisted until his dying day that the Hunsinger “Fumble” of ’54 was truly an incomplete pass and Montreal should have won the Cup, and may have established an historic dynasty over Edmonton. Instead, the Als lost 3 straight vs. Edmonton despite “The Rifle” blasting holes in Esks defences for more than 1200 yards passing.
*Jets roaring overhead before kickoff. *The sight of Boulay and Proulx up in a corner on top of the Visitors stalls with victory stogies provided by the Human Humidor Eric Wilson after the 2010 Cup.
*Chip Cox with cigar in one hand, champagne bottle in the other---and he doesn’t even drink or smoke. Never even took a swig. Or inhaled.
*Proulx demanding the Als’ rights to equal plumbing be respected when team hotels arranged by league put them at a distinct ice-tub disadvantage.
*That “Dirty Durden” and Timothy Strickland’s fingerprints all over the ’02 Cup win. And though he only played 9 games that regular season for Montreal, Danny Derricott made big plays back there, too.
*Lawrence Phillips is praised by his teammates that year as an exemplary contributor on the field. I snuck onto the parade float that carried LP and his girlfriend. All hoped his past was behind him, hoped Montreal might become his latest fresh start, the victory his next first stride toward redemption. Sadly, the most talented and malevolent back the Als have had since their rebirth is prisoner G31982 at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, California.
*That Brian Bratton is one of the teammates Anthony Calvillo shared his cancer secret with in 2010.
*That when the Als get to Grey Cup in 2013, Calvillo will look for Bratton in the endzone.
*Just before Calvillo heaved one up to Woodcock for the 2002 record-setting 99-yard TD catch to break open a 1-0 game in the 2nd quarter, I turned to the recently retired Michael Soles in the press box and said “Why don’t they just go deep to get out of this constant field position hole?”
*Ben Cahoon’s block to spring Jermaine Copeland for a long TD in the 4th Quarter of that game, best play without the ball in his Velcro Hands.
*That Anthony Calvillo flies his personal masseur Scott Suter into Grey Cup Week at his own expense and that Scott does it on the condition he can be home on time to watch AC and the game on TV.
*That more than a few Rider types were giving me attitude before I took over the ’09 National Broadcast for the 2nd Half.
*That I offered to let the great Voice of the Riders Rod Pederson back in the chair for the “glory call” at game end if the Als were down by more than 2 TD’s at the 3 minute warning.
*Seeing the Booze Brothers and the Box J Boyz and fans in green and red Alouette jerseys mingling with Levy era “bleu blanc rouge” at our National Kegger Party we call Grey Cup Week.
*That Ramon Guzman and Billy “The Ballhawk” Parker came up with big plays at Commonwealth in 2010 to hold the lead for the first-ever franchise repeat.
*Anwar Stewart vowing to win another ring at the 100th, the same year he exchanged wedding rings with the love of his life.
*Former Als assistant turned Argos GM Jim Barker joking before the 2012 East Final he needed a Grey Cup ring to pay for his fiance’s wedding ring.
*That Ed Philion could have been maybe should have been '02 MVP.
*When I’m Commissioner I’ll ban garbage bags from Garbage Bag Day. Just horrible optics for the league.
*That Jamel Richardson admits he hates the taste of Thanksgiving turkey---the taste of defeat for Alouettes.