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Ticats fan describes 'bittersweet' end to Grey Cup weekend

In Regina for the Grey Cup, Tiger-Cats fan Jeff May told CBC Hamilton of the compassion Roughriders fans showed him while he was grieving Hamilton's defeat.

'The people here are so sweet, and it’s been such an experience,' said Hamilton's Jeff May

Hamilton Tiger-Cats fan Jeff May, centre, jokes around with Saskatchewan Roughriders fans in Regina after the Grey Cup on Sunday night. Though his team didn't win, May said the weekend has been "such an experience." (Courtesy of Jeff May)

Bittersweet.

Hamilton’s Jeff May uses the word several times to describe his Sunday night in Regina. The 51-year-old accountant was in the stands to see his cherished Tiger-Cats fall 45-23 to the hometown Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Grey Cup. 

“It was bittersweet when we started getting killed, and then we started getting hope for a comeback,” May told CBC Hamilton on Sunday night, before he embarked on a two-day bus trip back to his home in southern Ontario.

“It was bittersweet because of the fans here being so deserving.”

He said the cheers and chants coming from the crowd of 45,000 were like nothing he’d ever heard in his life. 

“It blew me away. It brought me to tears.”  

Kind gestures

At the end of the game, May, who had been making friends with Canadian football fans of all stripes throughout Grey Cup weekend, congratulated the Saskatchewan supporters, whom he had come to admire.

“And then I went under the stands, and it hit me that we had lost. Something I had wanted so badly, we did not get, which I’m not very used to,” he said. “I dropped down on a bench and pulled my hood over my face, and then the tears began to drop down.”

Moments later, May said, he was met by a show of Roughrider fans' compassion that caught him off-guard.

“Suddenly, I was surrounded by a big group of people closing in on me and taking turns hugging me and saying, 'Next year, next year,' and countless people saying ‘Thank you for coming.’

I dropped down on a bench and pulled my hood over my face, and then the tears began to drop down.—Jeff May, Hamilton Tiger-Cats fan

“The people here are so sweet, and it’s been such an experience,” May said, while Riders fans howled with glee in the background. “It’s a great example of what it’s like to be a Canadian.”

Despite the “bittersweet” ending to his weekend in Regina, May vows that he’ll attend the Grey Cup next year, when the CFL final rolls into Vancouver.

“I feel sorry for whoever’s going to face us next year.” 

To hear May's final report from Regina, click on the box in the top left-hand corner of the page.

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