Last evening at about 5:45, a team of skydivers attempted to parachute into Ivor Wynne Stadium prior to the damndest 30-30 overtime tie you will ever see.
Two or three missed the stadium and ended up on Melrose Avenue. Having dodged hydro lines and trees, it was a small matter to assemble in a V formation at centrefield.
The sellout crowd at Ivor Wynne Stadium cheered like 30,000 people do when they've been drinking all afternoon in preparation for a game usually convened at 1 p.m. It was that kind of a night.
This was the CFL and Labour Day in Hamilton. The boys from marketing call it the Labour Day Classic.
Classic generally is meant to denote excellence but in one of those little nuances that distinguish people on both sides of the border, we in Canada prefer "classic" to mean memorable. Heaven knows, it was.
Tiger-Cat running back Troy Davis ran through and around the league's worst run defence for a club-record 233 yards.
Davis, who is painfully quiet and publicity-shy, left the dressing room before he could be interviewed. Honestly, who leaves the stadium after he breaks a 47-year-old rushing record?
The Argos, down to their last play in overtime, got a one-yard major from quarterback Michael Bishop.
"If you paid to see the Labour Day game," he said, rubbing a chin bloodied in the first quarter, "you got your money's worth."
Do enough things right and you make the NFL, the No-Fun-League where there are no Coach Pinballs and everything is scripted into a kind of numbing precision.
Yesterday, when the game ended tied 20-20 in regulation, everyone looked at each other as if to say, "Well, what the hell do we do now?"
"I got thrown out in the first quarter," said receiver R. Jay Soward, "and that was still the most fun I've had playing all year."
Oh, yeah. That.
Soward and fellow receiver Andre Talbot were turfed 10 plays in when they thought Ticat defenders were punching at Bishop after the whistle.
"It was war," said Soward. "Out of control. When I saw what the Tiger-Cat players were doing to Michael Bishop, I had to help him."
Octogenarian quarterbacks like Hamilton's 39-year-old Danny McManus, maddening talents like Bishop, long-retired NFLers with child custody issues like the Argos' Andre Rison, all are welcome under the CFL big top.
The officiating, like all attempts at governance in Canada, was terrible.
Bishop, the guy doing most of the swinging in the first-quarter fracas, got to stay. With the Argos down to what could have been their last play, a pass to Arland Bruce III that had absolutely no chance of completion, was called defensive pass interference to keep the game going.
The Ticats were penalized 23 times, one for every three offensive plays. The Argos gained 295 yards in passing and running, 256 via penalties. The Argos, meanwhile, were hit with 14 penalties for a relatively modest 152 yards.
At halftime, the Tiger-Cats public address announcer informed the crowd that McMaster University's football side won its home opener in London.
God, I love this league.
The Ticats managed a 92-yard drive to tie the game with 1:16 left and force overtime.
In the CFL, they give both teams a chance from the other club's 35. No one knows why. They just do.
In the end, it was third and goal from the one and Bishop, the centrepiece of the night despite Davis' record performance, took the snap, juked right, burst into the end zone and then hurled the ball over the fence and onto Melrose Avenue.
It was the second time residents had to deal with an unexpected object falling from the sky.
It was that kind of night. It's that kind of league.