CBC Sports

You know you're a Canadian sports fan when

Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009 | 11:08 AM

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Canada Day and it’s gut-check time for true fans of sport in this country.

It’s that time of year when we take note of the things that make us different as a sporting nation.

For instance, there’s the Calgary Stampede. Billed as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” it is the richest rodeo in the world.

In spite of bleeding hearts that object to calf roping and chuck wagon racing, the Stampede soldiers on. It is a rollicking testament to how the west was won. The frontier spirit of the cowboy, it seems, will never die and this wonderful rodeo has continued to grow every year since its inception in 1912.

On Canada Day, the CFL kicked off another season. On the prairie and in big cities at either end of the country, the beginning of the chase for the Grey Cup signals a game that reflects the vastness of the land.

It’s a big field – much bigger than the one in the NFL – one that begs an adventurous spirit. In the Canadian Football League risky passing and open-field running are standard fare. It’s football by exploration and the ball changes hands with frequency. There are only three downs and plenty of scoring making each possession a voyage of discovery.

In every way, the brand of football played in the CFL mirrors Canada. It’s wild and unpredictable and rarely boring.

The ubiquitous sport in this country is hockey. Every year on Canada Day hockey creates a stir in the national consciousness.

The great Jean Beliveau, a man once asked to be the Governor General, will be the honourary captain of the 2010 Olympic men’s hockey team. It’s a natural choice - so Canadian in its overtones.

Finally, isn’t it fitting that in the sports pages on the country’s birthday hockey dominated the headlines?

The Canadiens and the Flames acquired new players who promise fresh hope in the next season when the summer has given way to our obsession with ice.

You know you’re a Canadian sports fan when, a wild, west rodeo, three-down football and the constant magic of hockey matter most.

Then again, on Canada’s blessed birthday these are the things about sport that make it a party not to be missed.

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