by Jarrett Rusnak
“You make sure they never forget the night they played the Titans!”
Coach actually said those words to us on that cold September evening back in 1991. I was a TE/OLB for the Archbishop M. C. O’Neill Titans. We were playing our arch rivals, the Thom Trojans – the public high school half a block down from us on Argyle Street in Regina. We hated them. They hated us. On that one particular night, we were set to battle for pride on the hallowed Taylor Field turf, where our beloved Roughriders also played.
Long-time Argos’ long snapper, Randy Srochenski was our FB and MLB. The Roughriders’ current LB coach, Alex Smith, was Thom’s head coach. Ask ’em and they’ll tell you – that game saw blood, snot flying, tape ripping, and bones breaking. I can honestly tell you that I’ve never seen a harder fought game at any level of football. It really was amazing what a lethal mix of pride, hatred, desire, and err… hatred can do to a game.
I never played mind you – I practiced as a TE/OLB, but for games I dutifully took on the role of ‘back-up bench heater person’. I remember games where I secretly hoped the first-string bench heater person might actually injure himself by sitting too hard, but my opportunity never came. I digress.
Thom beat us 7-0. No one left anything on the field (or the sidelines in my case). The bus ride home was quiet. No one talked. That was what a complete effort felt like.
Twice in the last three weeks, the Toronto Argonauts took the field with first place on the line. On both those occasions, people with gobs more football knowledge than me described the team’s effort as something akin to morphine drip in slow motion. I’m paraphrasing but Toronto looked flat. No heart. No hate! They got their asses handed to ’em – and not even politely!
On Sunday, October 14 at 1pm, the Argonauts will battle les Alouettes at Rogers Centre. Winner takes first place in the east! Tickets are selling fast!
Personally, I don’t care if we win or lose. I just want to see some hatred out there! I want to see passion. I want to see heads snapping (metaphorically speaking) blood splattering, snot flying, and bodies pounding.
All season long this team has flirted with greatness. The Argos are still my pick to take the east come 100th Grey Cup time, but they need to show some Gobdarned Mother Fracking fire in their blood! It’s the one missing ingredient methinks. Fire. Passion. Hatred. Desire. Hatred!
How ’bout it fellas? Make ’em remember the afternoon they played the Argos.