Tonight was the Grey Cup. For those who are not CFL fans (like me up til 3 years ago), the Grey Cup is the big one -- the Super Bowl of the Canadian football.
Our team has won three times. In almost 100 years of Grey Cups. Do the math. We're the underdogs.
Tonight, we faced a team with a 15 - 3 record. A good team. We knew it would be a tough game. I didn't expect us to win, but I knew if our boys played well, it would be a good game. A close game.
If I only knew.
Our boys played well. They played really well. They were ahead. Unbelievably, amazingly, fantastically ahead. For the entire game. By a lot for most of it. It was an intense and wonderful game. We thought we might win. In the last minutes, the other team came within 2 points of our score. It came down to the position on the field. A field goal chance.
They missed the field goal. We went ballistic. And then we noticed the flag. A flag.
Against us. For having too many players on the field. A mistake. A miscommunication. And they got a second chance at the field goal they had just missed. And they got it. They won. By one point. And we were crushed.
The entire auditorium went silent. Everyone slowly put their jackets on and plodded to the doors. People swore and stewed. Others were silent in their grief. I just wanted to go home and hide.
I find it funny in a game that three years ago I wouldn't have known was being played, I am near tears in the disappointment. Not only for myself, my friends, and the other fans, but for the players themselves. I feel heartbroken over a game. Not for how the game was played or what it meant, but for how disappointed those poor players must feel.
Riders are a strange bunch of fans. We dress our pets up, we dress ourselves up, we paint our face, we wear watermelons on our heads. We get married with Rider themes, we name our children after players. We bleed green. And tonight, we cry green.
Late addition: Maryanne wrote a beautiful addition to this post about our heartache. Go here.