Good advice: Just puke

TODD SAELHOF, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

Never mind the Lions.

The first enemy for many Calgary Stampeders today will be the butterflies, especially for those players experiencing their inaugural CFL post-season battle.

Mike Labinjo may have the secret for getting them out of your system. If you feel them in your stomach, says the Stamps defensive star, don't be afraid to toss your cookies.

"If you need to get it out, you get it out," said Labinjo with a laugh. "Because you don't want that feeling in your stomach.

"For some of the younger guys and rookies, (today's) going to be a big experience. I remember my first time in a playoff game -- I was super nervous. I almost threw up in the (2004) Super Bowl the first time I ran down the field. I came off and started hyper-ventilating."

Labinjo, who played three NFL post-season games with the Philadelphia Eagles, doesn't anticipate the same feeling in today's West Division final. Although it's his first CFL playoff tilt, he has plenty of responsibilities to keep his mind focused on the task at hand. One is helping those first-timers around him prepare for the biggest professional game of their careers.

"I just tell them to relax," Labinjo said. "I just tell the guys to treat this like any other game. There are a lot of implications, but if you can stay calm, that's the best thing for you.

"I know I'm pretty pumped. All indications is it's going to be a fun game."

Rookie offensive lineman Jesse Newman is trying to soothe his nerves with the knowledge the Stamps defeated the B.C. Lions in all three regular-season meetings and finished the schedule as the top CFL team.

"I can't wait to get out there and play. It seems we're all itching to get out there," said Newman. "The regular season is long, and this is another football game. Although this is way more important, we're still going to do what we've been doing."

That's exactly what defensive back Brandon Smith expects in his first playoff game since high school a half-dozen years ago in Oakland, Calif.

"Our defence stepped up and won that championship, so I'll be excited to see our defence win this championship, too," Smith said. "I have plenty more fingers for championship rings.

"This is really my first playoff game since high school, so I figure I haven't lost any playoff games since," Smith continued. "I'm not really nervous about anything -- I feel comfortable with the guys around me, with the defence and with our gameplan."

Another first-timer, Milt Collins, believes the best way to beat the butterflies is go hard at the Lions from the opening whistle.

"Once you get that first lick in, when the lights come on, all the butterflies go out the window," said the rookie defensive back. "I got a great team surrounding me, and if anybody messes up, we just say 'Next play.' "


Videos

Photos