Hangin' with the Argos

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

It was a day of football and frivolity.

For Toronto Argonauts general manager Adam Rita, it was a day to rekindle his appreciation for fans of the Double Blue, whose patience was tested following last year's 4-14 Canadian Football League campaign.

"Team members are always changing, but the Toronto Argonauts brand remains strong and that's the most important part," Rita said amid a sea of pigskin supporters who attended yesterday's Fan Day at the club's pre-season and practice centre at the University of Toronto's Erindale campus.

"Each year, you have a handful of guys who are indoctrinated into the community aspect of our organization," Rita said. "The best thing we do is what we do with the community because we are community-oriented.

"Then, we go out on the field and play with pride."

An estimated 1,500 fans were on hand to mingle with the players, coaches and take part in a wide variety of inter-active events.

Nary a discouraging word could be heard, unless one was in pursuit of a washroom because no one had the foresight to have port-a-johns brought in.

"There's a lot of excitement among the fans here," Rita added. "The people want to see first-hand what our team is all about and this gives them a glimpse."

The Argos ended last season's embarrassment by losing their final nine games.

However, Rita and his staff have engineered many moves, both on and off the field, and are optimistic heading into a new season.

"Each year you experience a rebirth,"' Rita said. "I think 2009 is going to be a special year for the Argos, but you mainly feel a sense of pride because you're part of history."


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