I was very excited to watch Ottawa Gee Gees vs Toronto Varsity Blues in the home opener of the season. In films I had seen huge American Football matches with what looked to be an incredible atmosphere. I got the impression that universities in the US and here in Canada have a much higher sense of team spirit and I was not wrong. The game looked like it had sold out with everyone in their garnet coloured Ottawa merchandise (Lily and I appearing very foreign by not wearing it). Music was blaring and the GeeGee mascot was revving the crowd up ready for the game.
Toronto came out with their flag to a roar of booing which actually made me feel pretty sorry for them but this feeling was soon forgotten. Jay-Z’s ‘No church in the Wild’ came on through the speakers and smoke began to billow out of an inflatable tunnel by the edge of the pitch. From this smoke emerged the GeeGee’s all running out onto the pitch. The atmosphere was intense. I have never been a particularly sporty person yet out of nowhere came this strange feeling of deep loyalty towards the team.
Once everyone had calmed down, the crowd was asked to stand for the national anthem. I started to panic. I was already not wearing the team colours and now I was going to look awfully unpatriotic by not knowing the words. Luckily the crowd just listened to the singer and I was able to avoid any embarrassment.
I thought that within 5-10 minutes the rules of the game would become clear. This was not the case. This was still not the case by full time. People have since tried to explain the rules so I now understand more yet frankly find the game a bit ridiculous. The whole stopping and starting meant that I could never get into the match and this was continuous. All I could grasp was that an orange flag is thrown on the pitch very often and this stops the match and that if you actually try to get the ball you are stark raving mad as all it does is cause a team of very heavy looking men to run and leap on you.
I would recommend going to see a game as the atmosphere is brilliant to experience. However quite honestly, not even the atmosphere could stop me feeling pretty bored by the end.
PS. Word of warning, when you say the word Football to a Canadian (and probably an American too) prepare yourselves for endless ‘English’ accents going ‘Foutbahhl’. They find themselves really funny. Its not.
I now feel very silly, I have been informed that Canadian and American Football are actually very different. So this post is about Canadian Football. Apparently they are actually quite different in some aspects but I won’t change my entire post, to avoid confusion. I think this highlights quite how much I didn’t understand the game as not only did I not understand the rules, I did not even know what game I was watching! Either way, it isn’t proper football!