September 7, 2010
Calgary has seen both sides of sporting massacres
By STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
Enjoy it, Calgary.
Get those Facebook jabs in while you can.
Kick the Edmonton Eskimos fans while they're down the way the Stampeders did the hapless Esks Monday with their most lopsided Labour Day Classic massacre.
Bask in the glory of the 52-5 bloodbath that went in your favour.
Just remember, you will likely be on the wrong side of a Battle of Alberta embarrassment again in your lifetime.
Probably not this week, however.
No one expects the Eskimos to turn their fortunes around on a clearly clicking Stampeders squad in the rematch Friday in Edmonton.
Even fewer might figure the Calgary Flames will take a beating at the hands of a rebuilding Oilers club when the puck drops on the new NHL season a month from now.
But perhaps the biggest reason few in the Stamps locker-room and none of their fans seem to feel sorry for their rival after a pair of Battle of Alberta mismatches worthy of two of the top four spots on the list of all-time provincial blowouts is because they've seen the other side of it.
Most players have suited up for a loser at one time in their life.
The Stamps have been losers, bending over in the past for the kinds of spankings they handed the Esks in this week's 52-5 thrashing as a followup to the 56-15 smackdown two weeks earlier.
In fact, the top two spots on that Battle of Alberta bucket-on-the-head list were in favour of our neighbours to the north.
That's right, these last couple of assaults on the Esks aren't even the worst losses in decades of the rivalry. Calgary was on the losing side of those.
It was at McMahon Stadium in 1989 when the Esks slapped a 54-4 loss on the Stampeders' backsides -- the 50-point differential even more sad than the 47- and 41-point spreads for the Stamps this season.
And the most punishing Battle of Alberta of all time -- in either pro hockey or football -- has to be the one the Stampeders were subjected to back in 1956 when the Eskimos shut them out 52-0 on Edmonton soil.
Imagine the bus ride home that day.
Strong sports teams are cyclical. Dynasties like the Oilers in their Gretzky glory days and the Eskimos of the late 1970s and early '80s don't last forever.
Neither will the current version of the Stampeders.
Undoubtedly the better of the two football franchises at the moment -- something they feel they have to prove again Friday at Commonwealth Stadium in the Labour Day Replay -- the Stamps have faced their share of adversity in the past.
And while no one likes the Edmonton superfan who points to the Oilers' decades-old five Stanley Cups every time one of the Flames faithful feels like reminding them of the six-game sweep in hockey's Battle of Alberta last season, they do have a point.
A couple of the five games the Oilers and Flames played in the 1983 playoffs were as convincingly against Calgary in the hockey world as the last couple of CFL games have gone in their favour.
Losing 10-2 at the Saddledome April 17 was embarrassing in Game 3 as the Oilers took a 3-0 series lead. They closed out the series with a 9-1 beating a few nights later in Edmonton.
So if the Stamps do the expected and pummel the Eskimos Friday with another atrocious score, have some compassion.
Put yourself in their shoes -- because you could be walking in them again sooner than you think.