In just over four hours, the Saskatchewan Roughriders will be taking the field to meet the Montreal Alouettes in what is the most important single day of the Canadian calendar. One quarter of all Canadians will be united in bars and living rooms across the country to partake. Grey Cup Sunday is the Nation’s glue.
Tens of thousands of fans have converged upon Edmonton, Alberta, site of the 98th Grey Cup game. They’ve been celebrating and partying for a week now and they come from all walks of life. They walk and party among the CFL’s brightest stars and that’s what makes Grey Cup so special.
Players in the CFL earn an average of $50,000/year. Some make significantly more than that, and some make slightly less. They make the same money as the average spectator who watches them play. The league’s superstars are extraordinary, and ordinary at the same time. During Grey Cup week these players, these heros, are walking among the fans, drinking beers, and sharing stories. They’re down to earth. Approachable. And the only thing ‘elite’ about them is their play on the field.
Fans of the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, or any other major league can’t say that about their players. The costs of attending events in and around their championship games are affordable only by the wealthy and corporate elite. The players are untouchable. They’re not like the rest of us.
For 98 years, Lord Earl Grey’s Cup has been given to the best team in Canadian Football. Fans can have their pictures taken with it. They can touch it. They can read the names like Marv Levy, Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, Marc Trestman, Jeff Garcia, Ron Lancaster, George Reed, Kent Austin and countless others, engraved upon it. They can do it because this league is their league. It’s my league. It’s your league.
It’s our league.