|Taylor Robertson would like to one day drive a NASCAR stock car, but he needs to find the proper seat. (QMI Agency/Dave Thomas)
TORONTO - The first thing Taylor Robertson did Friday morning was wing it to Montreal, site of this weekend’s NASCAR Nationwide event.
Whether it was during the flight, on his way to the track or just before he caught up on some sleep, the veteran offensive guard must have reflected on Thursday night’s 24-18 win over Saskatchewan, a victory that would end Toronto’s six-game losing streak.
Time will tell if the Argos have turned a corner, but Robertson understood the consequences had his team dropped another game.
“It would have been a long 10 days thinking about being at 1-7,’’ Robertson said. “We made strides in Hamilton and we continued to make strides (against Saskatchewan).
“Once our bye is over, we’ve got B.C. back-to-back, and it’s important for us to keep this thing rolling. You almost wish you could keep playing, keep building, but it’s a long season and the body needs a rest. When we come back, we’ll be ready for the second half.”
At 2-6, the immediate future doesn’t look as gloomy for the Argos, who can easily build momentum if wins over the Lions in a home-and-home series can be produced and if the team can go into Regina and knock off the Roughriders, whose valiant fourth-quarter comeback came up short.
As is the case with any losing team, it’s never as bad as it appears, but optics become exaggerated for those looking on from the outside.
To hear Robertson tell it, the message head coach Jim Barker has been preaching has been as truthful as his blunt way in getting his message across.
“When Jim says in the media that he has the right guys, he means it," Robertson said. “We have a very good locker room and we 100% have the right guys.
“We don’t allow outside criticism to effect us at all, we don’t allow any kind of pressure to take its toll. And we play for each other. You have to tweak things here and there, but we’ve worked hard and we see the benefits. The key is to not change, not relax and not get over-confident.”
Even when the Argos were losing games under the most bizarre circumstances, Robertson maintains the team never doubted itself.
When calls weren’t going their way, the Argos, according to Robertson, refused to feel sorry for themselves.
“What people may not realize is that we knew we were in pretty much every game,’’ Robertson said. “There were games where we lost leads, games where we were close but couldn’t score, but there were always chances where we could win and we kept that in mind.”
When the Argos broke through against Saskatchewan, Robertson felt it reflected very favourably on the team’s chemistry within the locker room.
“We always worked hard and though it took a while to get here, we can’t let it go.”
There’s no fear of the team’s break disrupting momentum because every football player needs a breather.
Barker, who was scheduled to spend part of his bye break in New York, expects his players to be refreshed and recommitted to the second half.
For Robertson, his escape from the gridiron involves the roar of engines.
“I’m a big NASCAR fan," he said. “Actually, I’m a huge fan.”
The whole nine yards have been arranged for Robertson, who plans on relishing every moment in Montreal.
Robertson would like to one day drive a NASCAR stock car, but he needs to find the proper seat.
“I can fit in a car," he said. “I was in a ride-along in Vegas.”