Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Strange New World

First off, I think I should apologize to everyone who had to wait an extra day to read this inevitable Roughrider post. But I am not without (good) excuses.

Excuse number 1 is physical. Whoever thought that the Saskatchewan Roughrider home opener should be on a Sunday evening obviously doesn't know their demographics very well. Will power and self-control? A Roughrider fan knows not these things.

Excuse numbers 2 and 3 are emotional and psychological. Yesterday was a day full of discussion, thought, meditation and hand-wringing over what the current state of Roughrider football actually is. Are the Roughriders the football juggernaut they appeared to be on Sunday or have they played the right teams on the right days and all of this is just a big house of cards? The truth is that I don't know. The only thing I do know is that 2 games isn't enough to judge a team on. This Friday's game against B.C should be the first real test this year - and if the Roughriders can win that game, then all bets are off. But for further discussion of this see: every sports reporter in the province, every Roughrider-related website and every water cooler in every office in Saskatchewan.

That's not what I want to talk about because quite frankly, there's nothing to talk about. Only time will tell what the Riders really are. What I want to talk about is how I feel about all this - and the truth is I'm terrified that this team might actually be good.

After 15 years of mediocrity and unmet expectations, the possibility of Saskatchewan fielding a dominant football team is a strange thing to have thrust upon you all of a sudden. Now as I said 2 games is not enough to judge a team on - let's not forget that the Roughriders started the 2005 season 3-1, and should have been 4-0, only to finish 9-9 (big surprise). But those that saw Sunday's game saw a team that was not firing on all cylinders but was still pretty dominant. Whether that had more to do with Calgary than Saskatchewan I guess we'll see.

If the Roughriders actually live up to the expectations that everyone seemingly has for them now, I'm not sure how I will react - 15 years of disappointment is a tough thing to get over in a short span of time. Call me crazy but that amount of mediocrity has created a healthy scepticism in me about this team. I'm not quite ready to believe again.

But let's be honest, this province deserves to have a football team that we can be proud of. A powerful football machine that is talented, well prepared and accountable. It's been too long since that has happened and now that it seems we might heading down that road I'm still waiting for the other shoe to fall. It's not that I'm nay-saying for no reason, I've got 15 years full of reasons to be sceptical. And I suppose that until the Roughriders actually do some of the things that football teams are supposed to, i.e - play consistently, host a playoff game, win a championship, I am still going to be waiting for those old Rider demons to show up.

Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, what I'm feeling is not scepticism but realism.

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