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Dirty Bird Blog: All In The Family

Posted By Clifford Pine On Sep 13 2011 @ 12:58 pm In Montreal Alouettes | 1 Comment

The Montreal Alouettes responded in a huge way this past Sunday with a 43-13 thrashing of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. As poorly as they played on Labour Day, that’s how good they played on Sunday. Yet another day at the office for Anthony Calvillo as he threw 4 TD passes and complied over 400 yards passing. Brandon London scored his first career CFL touchdown early on to set the winning tone.

And sure enough, Brandon Whitaker got the ball plenty of times and made the most of those opportunities; when he gets more than 15 handoffs, the Alouettes are undefeated.

The defense had to step up and stop the Ti-Cats and they did, keeping former teammate Avon Cobourne to a measly 2 yards rushing. 2 yards!! Kevin Glenn actually had more yards rushing and he’s the quarterback!

Maybe it was the nerves coming back to Montreal, where Cobourne became the star that he is. Or maybe Montreal finally figured him out and weren’t afraid to hurt their old friend. With the loss, Hamilton has now lost their last 13 games at Percival Molson Stadium and there’s still one more to go in late October.  Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz said it best, “There’s no place like home!”


What else made this game memorable for me was the guest accompanying me to the game. My mother never really seemed to care too much with football in the past, but Alouettes fever has burned pretty hot in our household for many years and in the past couple years she’s found herself caring more and more about the outcome of the games. It finally culminated with her asking me before the start of the season if I’d mind her coming along with me to a game. Well, our schedules finally permitted us to take in a game together this past Sunday. And what better scenario than a sunny September day, a passionate crowd and an Alouettes team looking for redemption in front of their faithful fans.

Football has a way of uniting families. The CFL is no different as tales of fans all over the league stream in every year of families living and dying with their teams. When the league returned to Montreal in 1996, my father and I paid as much attention as one could. We didn’t make it to many games due to scarcity of tickets & work commitments, but we still cared. When I was able to procure tickets to games, he and I went and always had a blast. We started a streak in 2004 of attending the home opener that I have since maintained and have no plans of stopping.


My dad, niece Stacey & me. Three Generations of Alouettes fans!

When my father passed away before the 2008 season started, my younger brother stepped in for him. He never cared for football at all growing up, but he took my father to a New York Giants (my dad’s NFL team) to help fulfill one of his dreams.

That game changed my brother and he wanted more football. And what better team to follow than the hometown team that was already in the family; The Montreal Alouettes. One game was all it took and he was on-board the bandwagon.


My niece Daphne's first Alouettes game!

Now my brother lives in Edmonton, deep in the heart of the Eskimos fanbase. But he still represents his Alouettes with pride, as does his whole family. His kids wear Alouettes gear with pride as they follow the team with their dad much like I did with mine.

So the last shoe to drop was dear old Mom. We arrived at the stadium and cheered the team to victory. She still had a lot of questions as to why penalty flags were being thrown and why do fans such as myself signal for the first down. She caught on pretty well and by the end of the game was convinced that Anthony Calvillo was the greatest, even if she initially pronounced his name CA-VILL-LEE-OH instead of CAL-VEE-OH. Minor details.

After the game, we made our way towards the exits. Due to her physical health not being 100%, we allowed the crowd to file out first so we could take our time leaving. Towards the exits we then ran into a few of the players, who I made sure to congratulate for a hard-fought win as I usually tend to do.



Anthony Calvillo meets his newest fan!

And sure enough, Anthony Calvillo himself came out. I could tell Mom wanted a photo with him, so I asked AC if he’d be so kind as to pose with his newest fan. Being the good guy that he is, he was only too happy to do so. A simple gesture from him, but a huge part of what makes the CFL and its players such a wonderful entity.


Mom's first of hopefully many games!

Suffice to say that it was a fantastic day at the stadium with a lot of wonderful memories. Especially with it being on September 11th, where the events of that fateful day caused a lot of families to come to a screeching halt. I won’t get sappy with it, but you do have to take time to make some wonderful memories with the people that matter the most. Not just family, but friends as well. It all counts!


Things are heating up in the divisional battle for first place as Winnipeg comes to town this Sunday. Once seemingly unbeatable, Winnipeg has been humbled in two straight games versus their bitter foes the RoughRiders. Has the shine been taken off the group known as Swaggerville? If Montreal wants to reclaim their spot on top, it will have to go through the Blue Bombers.

They play each other 3 times in the span of a month and the outcome of those matches could be the deciding factor on whether the Eastern Final is played at Olympic Stadium for the 4th straight year or in the chilly confines of Winnipeg’s Canad Inns Stadium.


I’ll be back before Sunday to preview the game. And hot off the press, a huge congrats to Anthony Calvillo for being named Gibson’s Finest Offensive Player of the Week….again!


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