Sunday 7 March 2010

Ivor Wynne, I Will Always Love Thee

I stumbled upon an article detailing a possible stumbling block in the building of the next stadium for the Cats.

While I don't have much to say about a new stadium – it won't be ready until 2015 after all – it did get me thinking about that ol' girl located on Balsam and Beachwood.

Ivor Wynne Stadium, home of the Ti-Cats since 1950; home of many personal memories since 1988

No matter where I've seen a sporting event, nothing – nothing – can replicate the experience of watching a game at Ivor Wynne Stadium. It might not look like much, but the in-game atmosphere is unlike any other in all of professional sports.

It also has many, many memories; a lot of firsts, but three that really stick out in my mind. It was at Ivor Wynne Stadium when, at the age of 6, I attended my first ever pro sports game in 1988, a Ti-Cats game against the BC Lions, with my Dad. All I remember about the game is asking my Dad why everyone hated BC. Kids. Will they ever understand?

Ten years later, Ivor Wynne Stadium produced another first. It was at Ivor Wynne where I attended my first ever pro sports playoff game, the East Division Final, which the Cats won on a last-play FG against Montreal to send the team to the 86th Grey Cup. I even interacted with Eric Carter, who at the time was a Defensive Back for the Cats. Whenever he'd make a big play, he'd cross his arms over his head to make an 'X.' Late in the game my friend and I threw up the 'X', and Carter saw us and threw it back. Pretty cool for a 16-year-old. It didn't hurt that we were sitting 3rd row. Also, when Paul Osbaldiston kicked the winning FG the place went nuts. It was the first time I ever hugged or high-fived a complete stranger.

Finally, there was this past season, which was the first time I ever attended every home game for any team. It was my experience in 2009 that made me take the plunge and buy season tickets for the first time. Oh, wait, there is another first! Ivor Wynne will be the first stadium where I will attend a game as a season ticket holder. Even when I don't realize it, Ivor Wynne produces another great memory.

While I fully understand that as time goes on things must change; progress is inevitable. I will attend games at the new place starting in 2015, and Ivor Wynne will become a thing of the past. But the memories... the memories will always remain. No matter where the new stadium is or what it's called, there will only ever be one Ivor Wynne Stadium.

Like Jason Farr is fond of saying, "It's a great day for football on Faloney Way." It always is, Jason, and it always will be.

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