Heavy trip light on gear

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

When the Stampede hits Calgary, the football team bearing that same name leaves for a trip that could make or break its season.

In one of those wacky, only-in-the-CFL deals, the Calgary Stampeders will play two road games in a span of five days next week.

But that wasn't the orginal plan. When the 2007 schedule came out, the Stamps were supposed to play in Regina on Saturday but the Saskatchewan Roughriders moved the game to Sunday evening.

The Stamps are due in Toronto to play the Argonauts the following Thursday, so there's no sense in coming home for a brief nap just to get back on another airplane.

Although head coach Tom Higgins could be miffed about the schedule, he's looking at it as a positive.

The Stamps went through this same scenario two years ago when they went into Montreal and Toronto.

"This will give us an opportunity to spend a lot of time together," Higgins said.

"That gives you a chance to know people better than just as a casual business acquaintance, seeing them in the locker-room and meeting room.

"I don't see any downside other than the game is being played really quickly."

Calgary emerged from that road trip in 2005 by splitting the two games.

But the Stamps never seem to have much luck at the Rogers Centre, having not won in the former SkyDome since 2000.

The past two years, the losses have been particularly dramatic.

In 2005, Bashir Levingston scored on a punt return and further rubbed it in by also scoring on what would have been a game-winning field goal that missed.

Last year, the Stamps were driving to a game-winning TD when it stalled on a disputed Ron Johnson catch.

If they are to break that string of disappointing performances, they will have to do it on basically two days preparation.

After playing the Roughriders, the Stamps will charter out of Regina into Hamilton and arrive extremely late.

They will stretch their legs Monday and spend the next three days working out at McMaster University before heading into Toronto on game day.

Some of the players are excited about the trip but most of them remember the one from '05, when the team went from Montreal to Kingston, Ont., on a scenic train ride.

They worked out at Queen's before heading to Toronto, also a nice train trip, much preferable to oversized football players than tight airline seating.

Plus, going from Regina to Hamilton isn't exactly anyone's idea of a great tourist venture.

"It'll be a great experience because I love travelling," said receiver Ken-Yon Rambo.

"As long as we get our practices in, I don't have a problem with travelling around. It's what we have to do."

One of the logistical problems is weight on the airplane. Higgins said players must choose between golf clubs and bringing clothes.

Then he took that option back just in case anyone got any funny ideas of what to bring.

"Part of the challenge is when we're preparing for Saskatchewan, we're travelling very light," Higgins said.

"We have only 'X' amount of pounds we can take.

"The players don't know what they're in for. They think they're going on a fun road trip and can take a lot of luggage but that won't be the case."


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