Agro: There's nothing like the Grey Cup
Christmas is coming early for me this year.
On Sunday, the 100th edition of the Grey Cup will be played in Toronto and I'm as restless as a kid the night before Christmas.
This Grey Cup is special. A centennial anniversary brings with it energy, an aura of excitement unlike anything else. Most of us, will never witness it again. For that, and other reasons, this year is different for me.
I've been working as a sports reporter since 2008, and I've reported on the Grey Cup each and every year since, but not like this.
I'm going to be right in the middle of it all. I'll be responsible for sharing the stories, the moments, and the people that make a Grey Cup so magical with CBC viewers across Canada.
Hello pressure, nice to meet you.
If you've never experienced a Grey Cup festival before then I dare you to show up.
Grey Cups are like Lays potato chips, I bet you can't go to just one. You'll get hooked.
Today on the CBC News Network I had to pick my jaw up off my living room floor when CBC Sports host Steve Armitage said he's covered 27 Grey Cups. (#oneday)
This 100th edition of Canada's game will be my fourth, but already it's been the best yet. So far this week, I've been able to see, smell, touch, hear, and taste the Grey Cup, and I'm only 2 days into my workweek. (Well I didn't really touch the Cup. C'mon you know that's bad luck.)
On Monday, I volunteered what wanna-be football skills I think I have to help recreate the 1950 Mud Bowl. I haven't had this much fun at work EVER.
There are a lot of things I genuinely appreciate about working as a sports journalist but this tops the list. My favorite part of being covered in mud head to toe was seeing the high-school students from Porter High School in Scarborough getting excited about Canadian football.
This week isn't even close to being over and already the volunteers, staff, and the all-important interns (been there, done that) at the Canadian Football League and the 100th Grey Cup festival committee deserve a pat on the back.
Just when I thought things couldn't run any more smoothly, or get my adrenaline pumping anymore, (you see I did make a very illegal tackle during the flag-football contest, I'm a little too competitive sometimes) I had the chance to try out the Ziptrek Tours Zipline in Nathan Phillips Square. Flying through the air at close to 50 km/h 40 metres above City Hall was a rush. But when I was zipping along trying to make sure I didn't screw up my lines for the promo I promised I could deliver in one crucial take – I consciously took a deep breath and looked down.
What a city. What a country. What a league.
One thing the endless NHL lockout has reminded me is that sometimes we really don't appreciate what we have until it's gone. CFL: I appreciate you. Please don't go. Players, coaches, owners, trainers, beer vendors (especially you): I appreciate you. As a Ticats season-seat holder you better believe I'm crushed I won't be able to tailgate along the beloved third baseline at Scott Park next season, but the league will carry on.
The game will still be played and I'll still be able to watch (well, maybe not in person, I don't know how long it will take me to drive to Guelph from Toronto). And that's what matters.
I know I won't nail each and every one of my live hits this week.
I might screw up reading from the prompter when I present the Special Teams Player of the Year award Thursday night at the Gibsons Finest Players Awards (named after my grandfather, John L. Agro).
I might lose the 20 bucks I bet my sister Kevin Glenn would finally hoist the Grey Cup he so deserves, but I will savour each and every moment this Grey Cup has to offer. The street meat tastes better, the beers at the Spirit of Edmonton will be that much smoother, and the fans will be wearing their best ensembles ever -- just because it's the Grey Cup.
Santa might not leave you what you want under your Christmas Tree this year, so do what I always do, go forth and enjoy ye some Canadian Football, there's really nothing else like it.