Without an Argos game to focus on last week, it left me as a fan with lots to wonder about. With a nod to Cam Cole @rcamcole , the Vancouver Sun columnist who has been writing his Items that may grow up to be columns since I was reading his work in the Edmonton Journal I’d like to offer my own Blips that may grow up to be blogs, Argos edition.
► Last week the Argonauts were on the bye and while they used the time to heal the bumps and bruises that accumulate during a season, for the rest of us it was the first real week that it felt like we were scoreboard watching; the Ticats lost, the RedBlacks won, and the Alouettes won. Suddenly, what felt like a secure hold on second place in the East seems like there’s a distinct possibility the team may have to hold on for a crossover position in the West division semi-finals. Winnipeg lost. Saskatchewan lost. The Lions lost. Pretty good bye week.
► I’ve attended all three games at the Rogers Centre this season. Each game ended with dramatic finishes in or near the end zone. Consistent fourth quarter value and excitement. I love the excitement, but if the Argos could play stronger in the first part of the game perhaps we could enjoy Harris taking a knee once in a while to end a game.
► Argo fans could do with a little bit of self-confidence. If you love the team and the league, you shouldn’t need reassurance from the media (social or traditional) that it’s okay to love your team. Living elsewhere it always seemed that T.O. harboured a bit of an insecurity complex when it came to American cities and NY especially. Argos fans seem to feel intimidated by supporters of other teams in the city and the fact that sportsmedia outlets don’t dedicate the minutes or pages to the local football team. We may be few in number, but we’re passionate and loyal. Don’t worry about it. Just enjoy being fans.
► We’re few in number now. How many of the attendance problems are related to dissatisfaction with the venue? How many can be traced back to absentee disinterested ownership? At least a few can be attributed to the horrendous schedule and changes this year. And finally, most professional sporting events now are subject to more stringent security measures, why do I only see the kvetching from Argos fans about the long lines and delays getting into the stadium?
► Like many fans, I’m both pleased and torn about the prospects of new ownership starting in 2016. I’ve never been a fan of the umbrella group that runs Toronto sports, although it seems like Mr. Leiweke may have finally put some important pieces in important places. What the new partnership brings to the table is the ability to sell tickets and create an environment of desire and loyalty. They have the marketing machinery and sales teams in place, and play the long game, creating a culture around a brand and product. With new owners and a new marketing agreement for the league with Adidas we can expect to see a new version of the double blues next season and an advertising budget that will see it plastered all over town. Hopefully they’ve learned not to make it such a “bloody big deal.”
► Current owner Mr. Braley has worn thin with his fans. But without his intervention the franchise may not have survived. As a (very) small business owner I salute him for his efforts and wish him well on his ride into the sunset.
► As documented elsewhere, there are a lot of flags in games. Getting mad at refs for throwing flags is like getting mad at cops for giving tickets. Get mad at the players, especially for simple things like lining up offside. Far too many good drives and defensive stands at home this season have had the crowd support silenced by dumb penalties. That air going out of the sails is too often a collective sigh of exasperation.
► I really like the @Argonotes playing outside the stadium before the game. Really adds to the atmosphere. There’s a sense of fans having fun, and we all need a little bit more of that.
► What’s the possibility Toronto hosts Ottawa in the Eastern semi-final in Ottawa, or worst-case, play at home in the Eastern final against Hamilton, in Hamilton? It feels like there should be a movie to be made here.
Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the Author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Argos Admirals or the Toronto Argonauts