Killing time catches on

Stamps defensive linemen Randy Chevrier, left, and Rahim Abdullah joke with one another during team...

Stamps defensive linemen Randy Chevrier, left, and Rahim Abdullah joke with one another during team photos this week. These two partners in crime are often seen having fun times in practice. (Calgary Sun/Darren Makowichuck)

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:48 AM ET

The phone rings the day before a CFL matchup and all the voice on the other end says is 'aaaaaaa.'

It's game time for the Calgary Stampeders and the sound is the siren for a bloody gathering. But this contest is much more violent than football.

Defensive linemen Rahim Abdullah and Randy Chevrier brought the XBox game Halo with them from the Edmonton Eskimos when they joined the Red and White this season.

Now there are a halfdozen players hooked on the head-to-head killing game, which goes on the road as well.

"If people answer the call, we're in," Chevrier said. "Rahim and I started it in Edmonton a couple years ago. When we went to the Grey Cup, he set up a room for us with four projectors.

"For the week, instead of going out, the guys were in the room playing Halo. We were just sitting down playing video games, instead of going out on the town.

"We had the whole team playing by the end, even the guys who said it was a waste of time. We have a smaller group here, not many guys interested yet."

The Eskimos went on to win the Grey Cup in 2003 at Taylor Field in Regina, the same place the Stamps play this week. The XBox is going back with them.

A typical game consists of two projection screens in adjoining rooms with the group split into two teams or completely individual depending on the players.

Abdullah and Chevrier are the undisputed No. 1 and 2 Stamps Halo champions.

But there is some arguing as to who ranks first.

"Chevrier is my son," said Abdullah. "I am the dominant one. I'm the Halo champion of the whole CFL."

"That's a lie," Chevrier said. "He's good but I'm the best. They call me The Code. It was given to me by other players. They said I killed them so easily and so quickly I must have the cheat codes. You don't earn a nickname like that without being really good."

Linebacker Scott Coe has played with the two former Eskimos and often gets shot to pieces, mostly by Abdullah.

"Rahim is the best player we have," Coe said. "Of course, Randy is going to say he's better. Nobody holds a candle to what Rahim can do. He kills everybody all the time."

When Abdullah is leading in kills -- which is often -- he won't shut up, the same way he is on the practice field and Many times a rookie Haloer is overwhelmed by a showering of insults and bullets from Abdullah.

"How are you going to talk when you're losing?" Abdullah said. "I'm always up, so I'm always talking. When you're the champ, you can do whatever you want."

Linebacker Marc Calixte started playing this season and is trying to quickly learn the ins and outs of the game. Chevrier admits Calixte is in the running for the most improved player.

"It's fun. What we do is have a competition. Every week we're trying to beat Rahim," Calixte said. "We're trying to shut him up. After the game, all you hear is Rahim this and Rahim that.

"But it's something we use to relax, especially for me. I need to get my mind off the game. I get too hyped up two days before the game even starts."

Stamps head coach Tom Higgins approves of his players doing some bonding over the video-game console. When Higgins was coach of the Eskimos, he helped find the space at Taylor Field for Abdullah and Chevrier to set up the machines in the locker-room.

The Eskimos were a tight-knit team that season and some of it had to do with working as a team in simulated battle.

Abdullah and Chevrier usually are captains of opposing teams and then draft other players. Calixte, Coe, Sheldon Napastuk, Cornelius Anthony, Tony Stallings, Jude Waddy and MarTay Jenkins are all regulars.

Other times Abdullah and Chevrier will work as a pair and take on all comers. They have yet to be dominated by anyone else, although there might be someone out there who can compete. But the next Halo champ has yet to answer the call.


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