Esks rookies get rivalry lesson
By GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - There should have been a sign that read: ‘Wet Paint.’
The Edmonton Eskimos didn’t want to step on the goal line at Commonwealth Stadium on Thursday because it was getting touched up.
It’s an entirely different reason from why they weren’t able to step across it often the last time they played the Calgary Stampeders.
Needless to say, the new faces in the Eskimos locker-room have been apprised of the situation heading into Friday’s preseason tilt.
“I think you can talk about it and talk about it,” said Eskimos veteran centre Aaron Fiacconi. “I was kind of in the same boat coming up and you hear about these types of rivalries but, until you experience them and see what it’s like out there on the field, words can’t really express how important it is.”
While they might not be familiar with the Battle of Alberta, the Eskimos rookies all have some grudge match to look back on.
“It was Purdue,” said Eskimos kick returner Ray Fisher, who battled over the Old Oaken Bucket during his four years at Indiana. “Every time we played them, we went out and played our hearts out and just did it for the state of Indiana because it’s a big rivalry game.
“I’m really going into this game like it’s (against) Purdue, basically. Just see how the atmosphere is and take it from there.”
Sometimes bitter college rivals end up as teammates playing pro.
“We could have lost every game in the NCC, as long as we beat Ole Miss or Alabama it was fine,” said Eskimos linebacker Quinton Culberson, who played against current teammates: receiver RaTavious Biddle in Mississippi; defensive end Joe Sykes in Southern and left tackle Jeremy Parquet in Southern Mississippi. “It’s a small world. We played each other in other leagues, we played each other in college and now to be on the same team together and get to bond, it’s really cool right now.”