|Sorry Steve, I had to post this one|
And despite this happening over a month ago, and therefore being old news, I still wanted to post it. I have gone through and made some changes to dates and the like, but the majority of this post is the same as it was back when it was originally written in late July.
It was a whirlwind couple of days for my buddy Steve after he found out he was named the Scotiabank Game Changer back in July. I was lucky enough to accompany him on gameday, but things got started even before that.
The Friday before the game, Steve was interviewed by Hilary Caton of the Hamilton Spectator about being named a Scotiabank Game Changer. My reasoning for nominating Steve was that I wanted his brand to get more recognition and he had already achieved that before we even went to the game.
Then of course came the main event, which was the game itself. I cannot put into words how cool the whole experience was, and I'm just speaking for myself. We arrived at the stadium at 5:30 and were immediately whisked onto the field to watch the two teams warm up. I get to games pretty early and stand in the west end zone to watch the warmups, but this was something different.
After standing on the sideline for about 20 minutes, we were taken up to the booth and got a chance to talk with TSN's own Duane Forde. It was such a cool experience to talk football with him. He seemed genuinely interested and engaged when we discussed various things about the Ti-Cats and the CFL in general. I spent the most time talking to him because I have always been a fan of his (yes, even dating back to when he played) and it was great to get a couple minutes with him to talk football.
After that, we went back down onto the field to mill around before Steve was sent out to midfield for the coin toss. Again, if you were at the game, you heard his name said and saw him on the field. Steve is not the world's biggest football fan, but he knew how cool it was to be out there for that moment.
As a Game Changer, Steve was given four tickets to the game in the "In the Trenches" seats. While they aren't the best seats for watching a game – I spent most of the time watching the screen because it is hard to see what is going on – it was still a pretty cool experience. We were located right next the Alouettes' bench and it gave me a new perspective on just what the opposing players face when they play at Ivor Wynne Stadium. The fans that sit near the opponents' bench are ruthless. Some of the insults cross the line, but most of them we funny. The target of fan scorn for most of that game was Alouette receiver Brandon London. The fans got on him and they got on him hard. Every time he came off the field, he was taunted mercilessly. Sitting as close as we were, I can tell you that some of what was said got to him.
As much as I am making this about myself, that night was all about Steve. If you were at the game or watched on TSN, you saw Steve receive his cheque and also saw him (and me and his girlfriend Katie) mug for the camera. If you missed it, you can catch said mugging by fast forwarding this video to about the 12:50 mark.
The whole evening was super fun and it was all thanks to Steve (of course, he has been thanking me endlessly because I nominated him, but I refuse to take any credit for the great stuff he has done). Now that he has won the $1,000 prize, he is eligible to become the Game Changer representative for the Tiger-Cats at the Grey Cup in Toronto. If he is chosen, he will have a chance to win $100,000 for Hamilton Health Sciences. So I implore everyone to keep voting for Steve and hopefully I will have some good news later this year.