October 4, 2011
Giving thanks in the CFL
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what one has in life and to appreciate everything that is given you.
Being that the CFL always schedules games on Turkey Day, we decided each team should look at the big picture and show their gratitude for whatís happening in their organization before Week 15 action begins.
They are thankful for the old man. Anthony Calvillo may be pushing 40 but heís still standing upright, despite a couple of hard hits in the past two weeks. Calvillo was knocked unconscious two weeks ago against the Eskimos but he returned to take a massive hit to the ribs from Bombers defensive end Odell Willis.
When Calvillo plays, the Als are contenders and his next outing will be his 300th CFL game, moving him into sixth on the all-time list.
They can be thankful for the new digs and their savvy veteran kicker. With $563 million in renovations at B.C. Place Stadium, the Lions have first-class facilities heading into this yearís Grey Cup run.
If Vancouver sports fans buy in, the stadium should make for a great home-field advantage down the stretch. Certainly no one expects more than 50,000 per outing, but it should be a fun place to play for the home side regardless.
Even with all the money they spent, there was one oversight. For the opener, there were no flags on the goal-posts, meaning the kickers didnít know which way the wind was blowing with the roof open for the first time. Luckily for the Lions, they have Paul McCallum, who has hit on 27 straight field goals. One more and he ties the record owned by former Roughriders great Dave Ridgway.
They can be thankful replacing a legend has worked out and that Joffrey Reynolds is behaving like a pro. It was a bold move to insert Jon Cornish into the starting lineup ahead of Reynolds, who is a six-time 1,000-yard rusher. But Cornish responded with authority and Reynolds has yet to complain about the situation. Things would have gotten tense had Reynolds behaved poorly.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS
They can be thankful Buck Pierce got a week of rest. It might not be enough but at least the hard-nosed quarterback sat out one week. Heís declaring himself ready to get back in, but with five weeks until the playoffs and a spot basically secure, the Bombers should pick their spots as to when he plays.
They can be thankful they arenít the biggest blowhards in Ontario. Heading into last weekís provincial battle, it was the Argos who spouted off. Linebacker Ejiro Kuale (who you ask?) guaranteed the victory in Mark Messier style. Running back Cory Boyd said he would run for 200 yards.
Neither happened, and the Ticats ó who boast mouthpieces in Avon Cobourne, Stevie Baggs and Maurice Mann ó managed to stay quiet before taking care of business.
They can be thankful that Jerome Messam may have learned a lesson. Thereís nothing like getting kicked out against your former team to serve as a wakeup call.
The Canadian running back took a nice poke at Lions DB Tad Kornegay last week. But being that Messam was traded away from the Lions for bad behaviour means maybe he will never learn.
They can be thankful they are near rock bottom and Andy Fantuz isnít looking at putting up huge numbers. It canít get worse than this, could it? Back to back 37-point losses? They can only go up from here.
At least Fantuz isnít ripping it up so NFL teams arenít drooling at the prospects of grabbing the 2010 most outstanding Canadian in the off-season. If Fantuz doesnít return to the field this season, he will have to come back to Regina and make things right, right?
They can be thankful they have an off-season to get ready to host the 100th edition of the Grey Cup. Next year should be a big one in Argoland and 2011 is basically a write-off now. If they can be happy about anything, itís that the final five weeks of the season will be used to assemble some parts for what is a historic season in Hogtown.