In small town Saskatchewan, the day after the wedding is gift opening day and was usually open to all. Because Mr. Needles and I both came from that same small town and because we both had huge families, my mom booked the hall. This wouldn't normally be a thing to comment on, unless you loved football. You see, the day after my wedding, back in 1979, just happened to be Grey Cup Sunday.
Our home was just across the alley and through a friends yard from the hall, so some ardent football fan decided that they should bring our TV to the hall. The girls did gifts and the guys watched football, drank leftover beer and ate leftover small town wedding food. From what I recall of the noise from that corner of the hall, they had a wonderful time. I have no idea who won, and though I could Google it, I am not going to. Some things are better left the mystery they have always been.
It isn't that I am an ardent football fan, though I do enjoy a game now and then. It isn't that Mr. Needles was an ardent football fan. He enjoyed it, but it did not rule his Sundays. But Grey Cup has always been intimately connected to our anniversary and I have watched part of almost every game since 1980.
This year, with the exorbitant cost, decreasing entertainment value, newly limited budgets, and satellite TV turned off, for the first time in 34 years, I could not watch the game. No one with access only to over the air TV can and I find that sad.
Yesterday morning, the big news here in Canada was that the NHL sold the rights to hockey broadcasting in Canada to Rogers. CBC can broadcast Saturday night only via a side deal with Rogers and the deal is only 4 years long. Net result, no one with only over the air TV will be able to watch hockey.
Coming from Saskatchewan, I know the positive power of bringing people together through sports. The Riders and Rider Pride and Rider nation are a phenomenon to be reckoned with. That happens with access and time and football being part of something shared across the whole, shared freely and openly no matter who or what you are. Everybody could be a Rider fan. You could be on a beach in Mexico or a plane in the US and see a Rider hat an you knew there was a connection.
Everybody can still be a Rider fan...if they have enough money for the TV channel. Everybody can be a hockey fan...if they have enough money for the TV channel.
It isn't that professional and near professional sports are hugely important to me at all. It is that I think we, as a whole are losing something, a fragile ethereal connection. It was something good that came from technology and we are tossing the good and keeping the technology... but only if you have money.
And that is what bugs me.
(sheesh, a sports blog. What in the world is this blog coming to?)