Moncton goes wild for the Argos

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:34 PM ET

MONCTON Byron Parker had a singular thought as he and his Argonauts teammates walked into the arrivals area at the Greater Moncton International Airport late on Tuesday night.

It felt like I was one of the Beatles or something, the Argos cornerback said.

No doubt the other Argos felt the same way, as their five-day stint as the official home team here for Touchdown Atlantic began when they were greeted by wildly cheering high school football teams from the area, dancers, musicians and football fans in general. Theyre calling them the Moncton Argonauts, and the Boatmen want to give it right back.

Soon after the Argos started practising on Wednesday at Rocky Stone Field, the stands filled with members of local high school football teams. A lengthy autograph session followed.

Its awesome, said 16-year-old Dave Boulay, a slotback for the Harrison Trimble High School Trojans. This is what you look forward to in Canada, is playing in the CFL. When I see it out here, in person, its inspiring.

And while the visit by the Argos and Edmonton Eskimos might begin the groundswell of support that could one day bring a Canadian Football League expansion team here, the Argos know that sliding into the community only will help. Having the high school players in attendance on Wednesday, the Argos figured, was a bonus.

Well show that the accessibility is a huge draw for the CFL, safety Willie Pile said. If we show good in the game, (expansion) can be a possibility.

The goal is to come out and give them a glimpse into what it can be like when you put your heart into it and work hard. Everybody on this field has been where they are.

Most people only see the game days. They dont see the pain that comes during the week, the yelling from coaches, the constant meetings. We want to let them into our world so they can see that this is a job, but a fun and rewarding job.

The official party gets underway on Thursday, with street bashes and other festivities.

But the airport entrance was one the Argos wont forget soon.

It woke everybody up, Pile said. We got in, and Im thinking, Geez, 11 oclock, but to hear the band and everyone screaming, it felt like a Bowl game, like we were coming into a Grey Cup.

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca


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