My view from above

MIKE BELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

If you've ever spent any time in the cheap seats, you know a few things. For one, everyone says the view is much better up there but that's merely a standard quote cribbed from the Loser's Big Book of Excuses.

(That book's available at all Chapters, in the self-help section on the shelf between You Might As Well Wear It -- It's Not Like You Could Look Any Gayer and What's That Smell? & 101 Other Conversations That Are Most Certainly About You).

For another, everyone says that's where the real fans are, with 'real fans' being code for 'folks who likely would rather spend money on tubs of draft beer than good tickets'.

But perhaps the most notable thing about those seats way, way up there with a partially obscured view is everyone has an opinion, which, along with an increasing shower of spittle and obscenities, they'll gladly and loudly share, no matter how ill-informed, poorly argued or completely insane it really might be.

Welcome to the Cheap Seats.

Here are the hot button topics being bandied about in the Cheap Seats this week.

- 1. Is the Stampeders' current state of jaw-dropping mediocrity merely a rope-a-dope in order to lull the opposition and fanbase into a state of narcoleptic docility before turning on the jets?

Ever since the off-season, the party line has been this edition of the Stamps is the greatest collection of athletes and human beings ever assembled in the history of mankind, or something to that effect.

And that fact, coupled with last season's premature playoff ouster at the hands of the Eskimos, meant this year the rest of the league would be their little pigtailed dolly, to dress up, dress down and take tea with as they saw fit (there are possibly more masculine analogies than that, though none immediately spring to mind).

But, despite a rout of the Roughriders several weeks ago, the squad has either merely eked out a win or cessed up the pool.

With everyone aside from running back Joffrey Reynolds and placekicker Sandro DeAngelis to blame, who's going to be the one turn it around?

Could it be quarterback Henry Burris, who's been unable or unwilling to lead and who has spent most of the season smiling but, like Stamps fans, crying on the inside?

Could it be receivers who week after week fail to make the big play, unless, by big play, you mean the one that was largely responsible for a loss?

Or could it be a coaching staff which answers every question with the hoary old 'it's a marathon not a sprint' cliche and which has opened itself up to more second-guessing and speculation than a Scientology birth?

Don't expect a definitive answer tonight. In fact, if the hunch of another close loss is correct, expect another week of the same questions with an extra dash of ugliness.

- 2. Why is the CFL this year living up to everything the naysayers say about it?

Sure the games, for the most part, have been close and many decided in the final minutes but if you can make it to that denouement with complete control of your faculties, it's likely only because the dropped balls, muffed passes and overall bush-league play made you giggle yourself into consciousness under the impression you were watching outtakes from The Longest Yard.

The optimist points to it being a sign of parity in the league but the 'glass half-empty guy' says, after asking the bartender to get started drawing another pint, there's also parity in his seven-year-old's soccer games and, dude, those kids really, really suck.

Hurry up NFL.

- 3. When did athletes become the new politicians?

They say nothing, they admit nothing, and when caught with their pants down, they'll look you in the eyes and tell you, 'Yes, she is 17 and drunk but quit possibly her appearance in my bed is the result of low tides or the liberal media or -- look, a bunny!'

Stop it, please.

You are on steroids.

You are a cheater.

You have been caught.

You now sell cars.

HECKLE OF THE WEEK: Speaking of which -- 'Dehydration is not an excuse to juice!'


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