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Dirty Bird Blog: Welcome to Oil Country

Posted By Clifford Pine On Sep 27 2011 @ 2:26 pm In Montreal Alouettes | No Comments

This past Friday the Montreal Alouettes beat the Edmonton Eskimos in convincing fashion by a score of 34-21. They controlled almost every facet of the game and Brandon Whitaker once again made Alouettes fans forget the name of Avon Cobourne as he nears 1000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving for the season.

With his 3 TDs and winning Offensive Player of the Week, his young legend grows more with every passing week. Everyone talks about AC and with just cause, but one could easily make a case for the man some call “2-Way” as the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player.

The Alouettes suffered a scare when Anthony Calvillo was knocked unconscious by Marcus Howard in the 3rd quarter. Thankfully as this goes viral, AC is showing no signs of a concussion or any ill effects so he’s being monitored in hopes he can play this Friday in Winnipeg. In the meanwhile, Adrian McPherson stepped in and played very well in AC’s absence. This would be as good a time as any to get Mac5 some much needed reps and keep him ready to go.

I was able to attend the game in Edmonton; the main focus of the trip was to see my younger brother and his family. But since I was in town the same time as the Alouettes, why not take in the game as well? As I alluded to in a previous column [1], I’m wanting to see the Alouettes play in every CFL stadium. Technically, I already saw the Alouettes play in Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium last November at the 98th Grey Cup. But a Grey Cup isn’t a real representation of the home team’s actual game experience and that’s what I’m aiming for here.


Anything looks pretty from 40,000 feet up...even Riders fans! LOL

So on the plane I go….the flight out to Edmonton was all right, despite the lack of their usual in-flight TV service and a belligerent child. Shoutout to WestJet for giving me a row all to myself and plenty of cold beverages. Next time, I’m bringing my laptop to keep me entertained.

They really don’t do tailgating at Commonwealth, so I decided to have a little shindig at my brother’s place before the game. We invited Brian a.k.a Bdawg, the other Alouettes fan we know living in Edmonton to join us for burgers & hot dogs on the grill. He brought the brewskis and we did it up with style.


Fire. Meat. Good.

After our bellies were full, the three of us made our way to the shuttle bus to Commonwealth. Montreal does a similar thing on game days and you’d be wise to take advantage if your team provides such a service. We arrived at the stadium and were greeted by some great Eskimos fans we’ve gotten to know through Twitter. We wished each other luck and made our way inside.


The Alouettes arrive to play!

We were blessed to have acquired some great seats; the seats normally reserved for the families of the Eskimos’ opponents. We got to sit behind the family of Jeff Perrett; absolutely lovely folks and they were thrilled to have some vocal Alouettes fans join them for an evening of great football.

The in-house experience was pretty good…lots of things to keep fans entertained, their mascots constantly interact with fans and everyone’s there to have a good time.


"If you got spirit, let me hear it!!"

What struck me as interesting was the inclusion of male cheerleaders to their squad. I’ve only ever seen that in U.S. schools & cheerleader movies. Montreal has the most beautiful women in the world and the Alouettes showcase them each and every week. No guys needed :)

As far as any heckling from Eskimos fans towards us goes, there really wasn’t a whole lot. I do remember one small exchange that I was fortunate to participate in. One of the Alouettes faithful next to us yelled out, “Ricky Ray sucks!!”, which irked a young fan clad in a jersey with Ray’s name & number.

He stood up and said, “That’s not nice…you don’t hear me saying Calvillo sucks!” I couldn’t resist. Without skipping a beat, I shouted “BECAUSE HE DOESN’T!!”. That brought down the house. Well, the section of Alouettes fans we were seated in. The poor young Edmontonian had no choice but to agree and sat down, defeated. But it was all in good fun. Overall, the jaw-jacking was more like good-natured ribbing. I wonder if it would be the same if the Alouettes were losing.

But perhaps the neatest experience was during the game as a young lad (I’d say around 6-7 years old) decided he was cheering for Montreal that night. He had no Alouettes gear with him, but was still cheering his little heart out with the rest of us. When we got first downs, he cheered loudly. When Montreal scored points, he high-fived us with total zest. As the game winded down and his folks were getting ready to leave, he came back over to us and gave out hugs for everyone. A surreal but awesome experience that I doubt I’ll ever forget.


Heading for home with the W!

After the game, we hung around to say hello to a few players afterwards, who appreciated us making the trip out and representing them in “enemy territory”. Overall, taking in a game at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium makes for a fun evening. I guess more fun for Eskimos fans but now I can cross this fair stadium off my list. Be ready B.C., Calgary & Saskatchewan….one day, I’ll be in your house!


Scotiabank Touchdown Atlantic came and went as well this past weekend in Moncton, NB. Now that the 2011 game has been played, talk has immediately come up as to who will play in 2012′s edition of this event. The groundswell has begun for the Alouettes to play, be they the road or home team. Being the home team would mean giving up a game at Percival Molson Stadium, much to the dismay of the front office. I had asked Alouettes GM Jim Popp earlier this year if there was interest in participating in this event and he has stated that his interest would only be there if the Alouettes fans would NOT lose a home game.

I would rather not lose a home game as well, but do see the value in being a part of this event. As the CFL’s eastern-most team, I would fully expect the Alouettes to be the fan favourite whether they are the “home team” or not.

The fine folks at GoAlsGo.com have started an online petition to appeal to the CFL and Montreal’s head office that one of the teams partaking in the 2012 version of this game should be the Alouettes. If you’d like to add your name to the list, click here [7] and make your voice heard.


That’s all for now. I’ll be back later this week to preview the game Friday versus the Blue Bombers. The Alouettes make their first of 2 visits to Swaggerville and first place will be on the line again.


(from L to R) Brian aka BDawg, brother Tom and your intrepid blogger ready for CFL action!


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[1] a previous column: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/2011/08/18/dirty-bird-blog-my-cfl-bucket-list/

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[5] Image: http://www.prosportsblogging.com/psb/uploads/2011/09/Edmonton-20110923-00120.jpg

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