Tuesday 10 March 2015
End Zones and Border Wars
by Ed Willes
I'll start off by mentioning the fact that I'm not a big football fan. At all. That said, I am interested in Canadian culture and things that are meaningful to us as a nation. After all, the Grey Cup (the Canadian Football League's bug prize) is, along with the Stanley Cup, featured in the Canadian passport. So it is with interest that I read this, a book about an attempt to export a uniquely Canadian sport to a new market. For a brief time in the 1990s, the CFL attempted to expand the league by adding teams in the US. It didn't work. Hilariously.
A team based in Las Vegas practiced in a parking garage and featured a signer who sang O Canada to the melody of O Christmas Tree. A team in Memphis had the players sleep in a barn. The team in Baltimore had three different names, including the brilliant "CFLers".
It didn't last.
Even if you don't much care for football, the story of the CFL's expansion into the US is worth a look if only to see how different we really are from our neighbours to the south.