Fair play Canadian style


Canada can be one of the strangest places on the Earth sometimes. Sure, we have national health care, a fairly picturesque landscape, clean drinking water, and cheese on our french fries, but we also have UFO landing pads, bathtub races, and money that smells like maple syrup. We be crazy sometimes.

Take one of our national sporting leagues, the CFL, or Canadian Football League. The CFL is one of the few football organizations that doesn’t play what the rest of the world calls football, but instead represents a North American style of football. And just to be different than the other professional North American football leagues, we play on a much bigger field, only get three turns with the ball instead of four, and can win a game by a score of one to nothing… which actually more resembles what the rest of the world calls football and what we call soccer.

The CFL has eight teams (although one is being added next year), separated into two divisions of Eastern and Western teams. The local team here, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, are having a dismal season; worst record in the league, with two wins and eleven losses and five games left to play. This means, if by some miracle, they win all of their remaining games, the best that they can do is seven and eleven or 0.388%.

This isn’t that strange; many sports teams post losing records and have terrible seasons, like the Toronto Maple Leafs, or the Toronto Blue Jays…. or the Toronto Raptors…

No, the point that makes the CFL so strange is that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, with their two wins and eleven losses, are still in contention to win the championship. That’s really strange…

In other leagues, like the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association, or Major League Baseball, the last place teams get knocked out of contention for a playoff berth quite early. In fact the Toronto Blue Jays are eliminated in Spring Training on a regular basis. But the Blue Bombers, with their two out of thirteen wins, still have a chance at the coveted Grey Cup.

The Bombers can also lose up to three of the next five games leading into the final week of the regular season, and STILL be in contention to win the Grey Cup, because they are only two games back of the Montreal Alouettes. So, it’s possible for a four and fourteen Winnipeg Blue Bomber team to win the ultimate in Canadian style North American Football championships.

This is another instance of Canadian politeness and tendency towards the quirky, because in typical Canadian fashion, the top six teams, out of eight teams in the CFL, make the playoffs. Which means that there are three times the amount of teams that make the playoffs than don’t. A team has a better chance of advancing than being eliminated in the CFL… because, you know, it’s only polite and we want to make sure as many players as possible are included. I’m sure that next year, when Ottawa adds it’s team, the top eight teams will qualify, leaving only one team eliminated. It only seems fair.

Yes, there are about fifty other things that have to happen if the Bombers are to win the Grey Cup (a fifty shades of Grey Cup if you will). Montreal needs to lose a bunch of games in the next few weeks (which could happen) Winnipeg needs to win a bunch of games (which probably won’t happen), and all the other teams need to lose their playoff games to Winnipeg (which could happen in a different backwards dimension).

All of the other teams need to suddenly become less talented during the playoffs, or become debilitated by some plague or malady. Or maybe, through some tainted poutine, the rest of the league could get food poisoning, or players could contract some weird flu that only manifests in Canadian style North American football teams that don’t rhyme with Glue Calmers, or maybe some wizard puts a spell on the other teams… it works in Quidditch…

It’s a strange league already, so any of those scenarios are possible.

But if the Bombers do win all of their remaining games, make the playoffs, and hoist the Grey Cup onto their shoulders, I would seek shelter, because I’m pretty sure that it’s a sign of the apocalypse and somewhere in the shadows, there is a wizard with a gambling problem…

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