There’s dinner riding on the outcome of the game between the Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday night, which, in a sense, is fitting.
If the Argos win, Ticats kicker Justin Medlock will treat Toronto slotback Andre Durie to a meal. If the Ticats come out of the Aug. 13 Classic with a victory, Durie will be taking Medlock to the restaurant of his choice.
The friendship between the two dates to training camp in 2009, when they were Argos teammates. Medlock’s girlfriend, LPGA golfer Hannah Jun, is Korean, and Medlock one day overheard Durie say he was going to a Korean barbecue restaurant. Medlock didn’t know Durie at that point, but joined him anyway, and the two became close friends.
Now, they’re roommates in Burlington, with Medlock renting Durie’s basement. That doesn’t quite mesh with the assertion the other day of Ticats president Scott Mitchell, who said “there’s legitimate bad blood between the two organizations.”
Mitchell’s words were sloughed off by Argos head coach and general manager Jim Barker on Friday, and for Medlock and Durie, the opposite is true. Though it is a bit strange to consider that these guys are involved in one of the best rivalries in the Canadian Football League, and here they are living under the same roof.
“We like to talk football, but we don’t go into specifics,” Durie said. “We talk about how we’re feeling and everything, and with me, a lot of the stresses have been about the losses lately. It’s just a lot of roommate talk.
“There’s a good connection. It’s good to see him playing well in Hamilton and it is going to be fun to play against him.”
But, Durie said jokingly, “I’ve always got to clean up after him. He’s a real headache.”
Medlock can’t help but take a few digs at his buddy.
“I rag him about certain things and so does he with me,” Medlock said. “They have won one game, and that was six weeks ago. It has been a long stretch for him and it has been rough in the house.”
Football, and sports in general, often brings together those who otherwise might not have had a lot in common. Medlock, 27, was born and raised in California and attended UCLA before his pro football career began in 2007 with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Durie, a 30-year-old Mississauga native, went to school at York University prior to signing with the Argos as a free agent in 2007.
It’s clear, though, that Medlock and Durie will remain close long after their football careers end.
The two did not live together when they were both with the Argos. Once Medlock secured the kicking/punting job in training camp, beating out Eric Wilbur, he moved into Durie’s house.
Though Medlock has his separate space, the two recently bought a booth table so they can eat together. And there’s not a lot of arguing over the remote, as both would rather watch sports than anything else.
There are times when Medlock hangs out with Durie’s 7-year-old son, Cian.
“I help take care of him sometimes, so it’s like I get to be a parent, too,” Medlock said. “He will come and get me when it is time to brush his teeth, that sort of thing.
“I’m trying to turn his son into a Ticats fan. I told him we would take him into the locker room and put some Ticats gear on him.”
And about that bet? Medlock figured Durie should be ready to get his wallet out.
“I plan on collecting,” Medlock said. “Either way, one of us is going to come out with a win, and hopefully it’s us.”