The large, yellow-tinged moon rose over the north stands; muted by the harsh white lights bearing down on the spectators. Only moments before, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers had scored a touchdown, bringing with it another riotous explosion from the cannon just off field. The smoke ring, ejected from the cannon, wafted up into the night sky. The lights of the North End skyline blinked intermittently on and off, caused by the heat the city exuded rising up to join the touchdown cannon’s smoke ring.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers were leading the Montreal Alouettes, 16 to 10 at the beginning of the second quarter. The Bombers and the Alouettes had exact opposite standings in the Canadian Football League. The Bombers had three wins and eight losses, while the Alouettes had eight wins and three losses.
The first half of the game the Bombers dominated, starting halftime with a 27-16 lead over the Alouettes. During half time I sifted through the crowds of people to find those who appeared to be between 18 and 25 to ask them: “who got them hooked on the Bombers?”
“My father,” Scott Hjartarson, 19, gave the answer most people did.
“My Grandpa,” Jill McRae, 18, said, “We’d always watch the games on television. Sometimes there were black outs though, and then we’d try to see them [at the Stadium] if we could.”
“My school friends,” Troy Nelson, 21, said, “We’re all here together.” He pointed to group of friends behind him. “It’s my first time here.”
“It’s my second,” Barry Austin, 18, said.
Both men were originally from Toronto, Ontario. They’d moved to Winnipeg to attend Booth University College’s Christian Studies program. “I’ve made a lot of great friends here at Booth,” Barry said.
Troy nodded his agreement.
The game started again and we made it to our seats.
“Here comes my favorite part,” Barry commented as the Labatt Blue Lightning Dance Team took to the field.
The cannon erupted a few more times before the end of the game, but it was Montreal that won the day after Alouette quarterback Anthony Calvillo went deep to Brian Bratton. With that 48-yard reception, the Alouettes came back to win over Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 44-40, assuring that the Bombers would be last in the CFL standings.
Even though the Bombers lost, those of the 26,154 in announced attendance couldn’t be too disappointed. We witnessed a great evening of Canadian Football.