I started writing about things that were definitively British earlier this year – Blue Peter, Burtons, Ultravox, Victoria Wood – but I think that I am learning just as much about Canadian culture by living with B as I am managing to indoctrinate her in the ways of the Brits. So she taught me all about what Hallowe’en is like in Canada a month ago. And last night I had an education in Canadian Football. Specifically in the cult of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
B is from Saskatchewan and her football team, the Roughriders, who usually lose, had made it to the final of the Grey Cup – I suppose the equivalent of the Champions League here. They were playing Montreal in Calgary. The game started at 11.30pm GMT, and some friends of hers had very kindly offered to host a game night with nibbles and live streaming of the match. We painted our faces green, learned the words to ‘True North, Strong and Green’ and the rules (roughly) and watched until gone three in the morning.
I got quite into it towards the end – the Riders were winning all the way through and it was a nailbiting finish, with Montreal two points behind with one second on the clock and a penalty kick that would win the match for them if they got it.
The kicker ran back, hit the ball, it soared through the air and… missed!
No seconds left on the clock and the Riders’ fans filling the stadium began to celebrate.
But there was a problem. The referee had his flag up and it turns out the Riders had had one too many players on the pitch. Montreal got the chance to take their penalty again.
And of course this time they got it, winning the match by one scabby point.
Poor B. I’ve still got ‘Rider Pride’ stuck in my head though…