Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thoughts on the So-Called "Rider Nation"

"And this also has been one of the dark places of the earth." - Marlow, Heart of Darkness

How many sports writers lead with a quote from Conrad? I would venture a guess and say not many. If you want to know why the Leader-Post is a sub-standard paper (see: the Holmes-coming lead in today's paper) or why Rod Black is neither enlightening nor clever, read Heart of Darkness.

But that quote has a more important meaning for us today than just to show that we shouldn't settle for the mediocrity that we currently find ourselves mired in. This quote is directed at every Saskatchewan Roughrider fan who calls a friend who is not a Rider fan to gloat about how well the team is doing. And it's directed at every fan who is flying that first place flag high and loud.

And this also has been one of the dark places of the earth.

Let us not forget that this team has not hosted a playoff game in nearly 2 decades, that's 20 years for everybody scoring at home. This team has not had a winning season in 4 years and has not been to a Grey Cup in 10 years. Oh, and they haven't won a Grey Cup since 1989. And not so long ago I believe there was a 3-15 season in there somewhere.

Now suddenly that the team is 6-2 there are many fans out there (not all, but many) who are taking great pleasure in berating the fans of teams that are not 6-2. How quickly we forget. It's one thing to be proud and support your team but take the high road and be a fan with a little class.

First of all, the Roughriders have not won anything yet. The season is not even half over. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that team is enjoying the success they are but all the Grey Cup talk is a little premature. They've never given out any awards for being in first place 4/9ths of the way through a season.

I realize that it's the nature of sports for fans to give one another a hard time about the other's team. But bear this in mind - every other team in the league has won a Grey Cup since the Roughriders last won in 1989. And yes that includes Hamilton. So the Roughriders do not have much of a leg to stand on as far as bragging rights go.

Let's actually win something in the modern era. Then maybe you can legitimately give the other fans in the CFL a hard time.

One other issue I have to raise is the usage of the phrase Rider Nation. When did this start? Was there a meeting that I wasn't invited to?

I have a sneaking suspicion that Rider Nation was cooked up by some producer at TSN who thought it would be a good idea to directly rip off the Red Sox Nation. That's the Boston Red Sox, not Regina Red Sox.

What happened to Rider Pride? Hadn't that been working pretty well for the last 50 years or so. Maybe it didn't have a high enough Q Rating.

Not that I think Rider Nation is a bad name for the Roughrider's fan base, I just think it's an embarrassing rip off. As I've apparently grown fond of saying - can't we do better than this?


Anonymous said...

As a life long Eskimos fan, all I can say is that this posting hits the nail 100% on the head! I have been hearing some ridiculous garbage from Rider fans. I suppose that if you have nothing to brag about for 10 years, then the first chance you get you have to let it all out?

Now I will admit the Eskimos blow. You don't have to tell me that. They blow hard. Danny Mochachino (does anybody really know how to spell his name?) has got to go..But, they did win it in '03 and ' I will cut them a bit of slack. Last season was strike one, this season looks like strike season????

I think all Rider fans should have to read "Rules of being a true fan" by Bill Simmons of ESPN.( Especially the friendships and relationships part of the article.

- JK

DMacRae said...

The Rider fan mystique has always struck me as kind of ridiculous. There is an authentic die-hard fan base for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but they are easily outnumbered by the Riders casual fan base.

Whenever I go to a game at Taylor Field, I'm always baffled as to why three quarters of the stadium files out before the game's fourth quarter. It's Regina, you knobs. What kind of traffic are you trying to beat?

And Rider Nation? Ick. This is not a long suffering club in the vein of the Red Sox. It's a club that's been terribly mismanaged and does not truly know the world of near-miss agony. Sure, McCallum's shank was bad, but that's Orioles-level frustration, not pre-2004 (read: pre-annoying) Red Sox frustration. Robokicker is not Ted Williams, you faux-pained dopes.

Now the Bombers on the other hand . . .

Another excellent post Luke. Thanks for reading the Leader Post so we don't have to.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't realize that I have to read a book on how to be a fan. Can't wait until they bring it into the schools system. " How to be a fan 101".

I don't think there is anything wrong with Rider Nation or anything wrong with supporting a team. The meassure of a true fan is one that sticks with the team through all the hard times as well as the good. You always have the wagon jumpers but the loyalty of Rider Fans and the people of Saskatchewan is something to be recognized.

For the most part this loyalty has always been there and I think it is even more impressive in todays world.

Maybe others could learn from it.

Anonymous said...

I believe in freedom of speech, but seriously...whoever wrote this article is a loser.

You trounce on Rider fans and belittle the team and province and say we have no class???

Yes the Riders have not won anything in a lot of years, but thats why I think the fans should be excited. I would be more concerned if the people did not care, because if they did not care we would have no reason to have the team. I think the reason you wrote this article was because your team is either not as good....or you have no idea how the sports fan mind works.

I was not aware there was a patton on the word Nation either. Sorry if this has offended you, or maybe you are offended that Rider fans are that passionate about their team and wish whichever teams you cheer for would have just as passionate fans.

Again I do believe in freedom of speech and appreciate people speaking their minds, but be prepared to take the heat for you comments.

Go Riders!

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? Was that an Eskimo fan trying to tell Rider fans how it's done? Wow. That's bizarre. You guys don't even go to the stadium to cheer your team on, all you do is rag on the opponents. Kinda like politicians. That must be fun. Telling us to 'go home' But if we didn't show up your team would go broke, cause most of the fans are rider fans. I suspect you are jealous because we are the most envied fans in the CFL. That's a fact. Don't tell us how to act as a fan. We could give lessons. Go Riders!!

Anonymous said...

Whoever wrote this blog is a complete idiot! You make fun of a team and its fans just because we are having a good season. News flash buddy this is "sports", its meant to be fun, and if you can't take a little trash talking cause maybe your team sucks this year, then get the hell out of here you damn cry baby! I have never heard such dribble in my life, oh boo hoo hoo, rider fans made fun of me, grow up! Your propably some band-wagon jumper for your team anyway! You talk about having class, well, you tossed your class right out the window buddy when you wrote this! Just suck it up buddy, let us have our fun, and when you guys are winning, have your fun! Now grow up and learn how to have a little sportsmanship!

Anonymous said...

The Best Fans in the world wear green. We never win that's right that's why we're losing our minds now. So what Rider Fans are bugging you, stop your crying and step up to a rowdy Rider Fan you'll be on the ground in 3.06 seconds. So instead you hide behind your computer screen and bitch like a woman. We won't be bloging at the end of November now will we. You suck at life. LET'S GO RIDERS

Anonymous said...

Whoa buddy!!! Where do you get off telling sumone how to be a fan?? True fans don't need "lessons"!! And yes we have not won anything in a while but we do deserve credit!!! With last season being up in the air with Coaching and GM staff changes... as well as MANY players becoming free agents, we banded together, made due with the changes and ultimately came out on top!!! Rider fans ARE true fans. No matter where we live, where we go, we ALWAYS wear our green and white proud!! I don't see any other team fans travelling across the country just go see their team play. We are Canada's team!! Anyone that follows the CFL can tell you that. Thats why the term "Rider Nation" is so fitting!!! Also the fans don't leave their team when the going gets tough... we stick by our team!! We do not ride the band wagon like alot of other teams fans do... take Calgary for example!! Everyone knows that they will cheer for their teams ONLY when they are doing good!!! Rider fans don't do that. Many of us watch till the bitter end whether we win or lose. We are also the only fans that truly dress up for EVERY game!! No matter where the team is playing you will see a sea of green!!! And you WILL see the Green Sea in Toronto this year for the 2007 Grey Cup!! And you WILL be eating your words when the Riders DO win and the Rider Nation reigns loud and proud!!


Anonymous said...

Nothing more to be said.