It's as predictable as the coming of autumn: when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers crash and burn, the local sportswriter's e-mail box begins to hum.
So it's time, once again, to share some of the most recent feedback from you, the faithful reader.
As usual, we take our share of the hits, along with our poor, downtrodden football team.
Letters have been edited because of space limitations -- and for entertainment value.
The cheap shots that follow each are presented at no extra charge.
TEAM IN TRANSITION
I grew up in Winnipeg; a die -- hard Bomber fan. I still support the Bombers, even from afar. Perhaps if Mr. Friesen would attempt the same, from his own back yard, it might instill a sense of hope and encouragement for a team that is obviously in transition. I find sports writers generally negative, however from reading Mr. Friesen's Sept. 11th column, I pray that his wife and family aren't subjected to the same "mess up and you're gone" attitude that prevails in his criticism of the Bombers.
I'll have you know, Charley, that I am the picture of patience when dealing with my current wife. Just as I was with my first five.
ONLY AN IDIOT
I am a very frustrated Bomber fan right now. I just saw the game (Saturday) night and got to the point I started cheering for the 'Riders. It astounds me why people would spend money to watch these idiots play. Some Bombers play like they don't want to get their uniform dirty. I think that's the coaches' fault. Get rid of Daley and get a real quarterback. Only an idiot would pay to see other idiots trying to play professional football. I was an idiot once. I actually bought season tickets one year.
I'd like to believe you've reformed, Irvin. But you won't convince anybody you're not an idiot anymore by cheering for Saskatchewan. Think about it.
SHOW SOME PATIENCE
Trade away Stegall? It's people like you who called for Ritchie's head and why now you're probably calling for Daley's. Instead of showing some patience for a new regime -- I'm thinking three years, tops -- you just take the negative road, as if there aren't enough people doing that already. The Bombers aren't winning, yet, but if you want to see a nightmare go to an Ottawa game or go revisit the Reimbold (sic) days. These guys are playing their asses off and before you know it there will be a Grey Cup coming back to Winnipeg.
But Joe, "before you know it" has become 15 years, for crying out loud. You think I'm on the negative road? The Bombers have been careening down the thing like drunken teenagers. And relax about Stegall. I just want the guy to win a championship. Maybe they should send him to Ottawa. The Renegades are 5-6 and in the playoff hunt, you know.
ONE OF THOSE SEASONS
Hi Paul ... this is just one of those seasons for this team. Two weeks ago we score 39 points and lose by two. Last week we played good enough for three quarters but bowed out in the fourth. (Saturday) night we played a decent first half and as you say, stunk in the second. I've attended every home game this season, so far, and unfortunately I will have to say that is it for me. I love supporting this team, but I just can't keep coming back after watching them play the way they have this season. I'll be back next year, but the truth is the NFL season starts today and I'm a huge Vikings fan.
I don't want to say you're a sucker for punishment, Allen, but do you realize the Vikings and Bombers have gone a combined 58 years without winning a championship? See you next year.