Remember when you were a kid in school and spring break was coming up. The excitement was overwhelming. Finally, a well-deserved break in the middle of a stressful school year.
But before you could leave for that family vacation or week of house chores, you had one final exam that Friday afternoon.
Well, that's what the bye week is like for football players. What Bill Murray acted out in his film Groundhog Day, we live every week. The constant meetings, practice, training and treatment schedules tend to dull our ability to remember what day it is.
And the constant body contact and pain we feel tends to dull all our other senses. Timing is everything in sport. And the timing of this bye week is perfect.
In years past, the timing of the bye week was as random as Calgary's weather patterns. They came and went with no particular reason. Two years ago, we had our bye week on the first week of the season. That naturally meant that training camp was extended another week -- oh joy! By the time we needed a break there was none in sight.
This year, although the CFL scheduling gurus did us no favors with our schedule (we were the only team that had two occasions in which we played two road games within a 5-6 day period,) they at least timed the bye week to enable us to catch up and recharge.
And catching up and recharging is just what the doctor ordered. We have a lot of banged-up bodies. Guys can take this time to heal. We have some adjustments and improvements to make, all around.
This week will give coaches and players the ability to clear our minds and refocus for the next leg of the season where we will start jockeying for playoff positioning.
It also gives players and their families a chance to reconnect. Whether it means going back to your hometown or just spending time with your kids. The week off is a chance for everyone to get reconnected with real life. If we spend a lazy day in the mountains or at home doing housework, we get to spend time with our loved ones. Lord knows that during the season you can never get enough family time.
But before we could take off on holidays, we had to take care of business. And that's what our thought process was on Friday. Even though there was excitement about the week off to come, we had to focus on what was the toughest battle of our season so far against the visiting B.C. Lions.
Did we accomplish what we set out to do? Not quite. But we were determined to fight until the end. And that we did.
For four quarters and two overtime possessions, we battled with one of the big dogs and hammered out a 45-45 tie against the Leos.
A tie is like a Christmas gift exchange. Nine times out of 10 you get a gift that seems kind of useful but you just can't figure out what you will use it for. It's definitely better than receiving nothing, but it is not exactly what you had hoped for. Maybe, just maybe, Friday night's tie will be the point that determines our fate at the end of the season. And when we return from our break, we will do everything in our power to not be needing that point when the playoff picture is set.
HITS TO THE HEAD
- East Coast CFL fans had to stay up until way past midnight to witness the outcome of our game Friday night. Maybe someone should have thought about giving us an earlier start considering we were the only game on the tube Friday night. Hopefully a lesson learned for next year.
- Thank goodness for Sherko Haji-Rasouli's 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty at the end of the fourth quarter which kept B.C. out of field-goal range and allowed us an opportunity to go into overtime. Good to see other teams are commiting some of the mistakes that have cost us in the past.
- I love Nick Nolte and all, but I wish CBC would have gone back to the remaining quarter of action in the Edmonton-Saskatchewan game. I stayed up late to see it, and the game was just getting interesting. If I recall, the 'Riders had just blocked a punt before the earth flooded. I was waiting for some sort of replay when the elements destroyed the CBC feed.