Bonjour Mes Amis: The Fan Experience in Montreal
After surviving the road trip down the QEW to Hamilton just a few weeks ago I had the exciting opportunity to trek out to beautiful Montreal for the Argos third away game of the season. Although there has always been a rivalry between the Toronto Argonauts and the Montreal Alouettes, it is no where near as scary as the Argos-Ticats rivalry. I was treated far better by the locals in Montreal than I had been in Hamilton, and it was just as much fun!
Our group took the Via train 500km from Toronto to Montreal. I was the solo Admiral on the mission but I was traveling with a few members of the Argonauts staff, Argonauts cheerleaders, and many wonderful representatives from our corporate sponsors including Booster Juice, Festina Watches, Gibson’s Finest Whiskey, Goodlife, Great Blue Heron Casino, Kubota, Nissan, Saputo, Shoeless Joes, Tim Hortons, and VIA Rail. We had a sizable group of excited Argonaut fans ready to take on Montreal.
Apparently Montreal was not ready for us. After checking into the hotel and sitting down for no more than 30 seconds, the logical thing to do was to find some dinner and a quick pre-game beer. At every bar we walked into we were greeted with strange looks from the bartenders. Nobody was quite prepared for our herd of over 40 Argonauts fans. The Alouettes fans at the bars were unimpressed with our arrival. Nobody is quite sure what they said to us, but for all we know it was probably “Let’s go Argos” en francais. We even found a Ticats fan who was probably confused about who was playing that day.
Without solving the problem of our slowly growing hunger and thirst we continued the trek uphill to Percival-Molson Stadium. When we arrived, despite my best attempts to speak French, everyone automatically spoke English to us when they saw that we were dressed in double blue. It was nice to see the Stadium so full, even though most fans were not sporting the double blue. In fact, I saw more Tom Brady jerseys than Anthony Calvillo jerseys. I never knew the Patriots played in Montreal.
The Als opened up the scoring, but thanks to Ahmad Carroll’s coverage they were held back to only three points. Alouettes fans all around us were ready to start chirping our group, but the Argos only needed two plays to get the ball to Chad Owens in the endzone for a touchdown. Now was our turn to celebrate. Only one nearby Als fan gave us any trouble about it. The Als answered back with another touchdown. And the aforementioned Alouettes fan answered by telling Joel from the Argonauts staff to call him maybe and then stumbled out, never to be seen by our group again.
The Argos opened up the second quarter by setting up Owens with his second touchdown of the night. As has been the case in previous games this season, penalties started to haunt the Argos. What could have been a touchdown by Jason Barnes was called back due to a holding penalty, but Swayze Waters was there to make sure the Argos got three points instead of none. In case anyone in Montreal had missed Swayze Waters’ big YouTube moment, he decided to give Als fans a preview first hand by kicking a 50-yard field goal.
After so much first half excitement I went on a mission to look for Lori (@ArgoDiva). I did not find her, but found more confused Tom Brady fans and some lovely Argo fans who were just loving life. The book of AWESOME tells us that one of the best feelings in the world is “that friendly nod between strangers out doing the same thing” (p. 104). It’s that magical feeling when an Argo fan finds other Argo fans in any CFL stadium in the country and realizes that not only do they now have a new best friend for 5 minutes, but they are collectively the smartest and best-looking group of people in the stadium. Thanks halftime Argo fans for sharing in that moment! Also, I’m very sorry @LVRoberts for not making to to your section during halftime.
During breaks in play of the game the both the Alouettes and Argonauts cheerleaders danced on the sidelines. It was awesome that the girls travelled so far to support the team, and all the Argos fans I talked to agreed that the Argos cheerleaders’ dances looked better than the Alouettes cheerleaders.
The Argos had such a great performance during the first half that we were all hoping for the same in the second half. Except the Als fans in the stadium. They were probably hoping for the opposite. The Als opened up the scoring with a field goal. Moments later they added a single point, which the Argos answered with another 50-yard field goal. Defense was pretty strong for most of the second half. The next Alouette drive was also limited to just a field goal. Now the Als were within just 3 points of the Argos! There was no real need to worry because in the final minute of the game after Anthony Calvillo was sacked by Brandon Issac and the Als attempted a 54-yard field goal. The kicker, Sean White, just does not have enough Swayz. (That’s a real adjective, I saw it on facebook.) He missed the field goal and the Argonauts secured a win!!! For almost 24 hours the Argos were the sole owners first place in the East. We just won’t talk about the Ticats-Riders game on the following night right now.
After leaving the stadium and walking down that big hill in the middle of Montreal a few people who were dressed in neither Aloutette or Argonaut gear cheered “AAAARRRRGGGGOOOOOSSSS” Most Als fans didn’t seem to be very angry birds after the game. They got onto their busses and disappeared into the night. The Argos secured their first road win of the season, making a great trip even greater.
Big thank you to Max, Shahroz, Eric, Adam, Beth, Erika, Dave, David, Carlos, Joel, Jess and her girls, all the partners, and especially Christine for making this such an exciting trip.
NIce…..lets roll over those lions next monday section 225 will be a rockin