Couple draws CFL battle lines

Blue Bombers fan Mike Savory and his wife Shannon, a Riders fan, are about to put their vows to the...

Blue Bombers fan Mike Savory and his wife Shannon, a Riders fan, are about to put their vows to the ultimate test: the Labour Day Classic and the Banjo Bowl, back to back.

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:09 AM ET

It's something Blue Bombers fan Mike Savory probably never thought he'd do.

Every night, he takes off his clothes and climbs into bed with the enemy.

A Riders fan.

Only this one has teeth.

"Like the saying goes: keep your friends close and your enemies closer," Savory said.

The enemy, in this case, is his wife, Shannon.

Married a month ago -- he's a Winnipegger, she's from Saskatchewan -- these two, both 28, are about to put their vows to the ultimate test: the Labour Day Classic and the Banjo Bowl, back to back.

"Everybody's been asking what the first month of married life is like," Mike said. "I tell them it's pretty easy. But Saskatchewan and Winnipeg haven't played each other since we got married."

Most couples work out their problems and hope they never return.

These two know that every September, the battles lines will be drawn.

Surrounded

Trouble for Shannon is, here she feels surrounded.

"It's a pretty lonely existence this time of year," she said. "Even my friends drop off the face of the Earth. I have some pretty hardcore Bombers friends. I have a Riders flag for my car, but I'm scared to put it on."

The seeds for this marriage of inconvenience were sewn when Mike and Shannon met online nearly four years ago.

A University of Regina grad who'd landed a job here, she put her profile online -- but left out her deep, dark secret.

"I did not put in it that I was a Riders fan," she said. "I wanted to get some responses, and I thought that might scare some guys away."

A few dates with Mike later, and it came up.

"I think when he found out I was from Saskatchewan, the question had to be asked."

Problem was, they'd already hit it off.

They've survived three Septembers, but not without some challenges.

Mike still gets uptight when remembering last year's Bombers collapse in the Banjo Bowl.

But, as you can imagine, it was the 2007 Grey Cup that stretched this relationship like Dieter Brock's arm could stretch a secondary.

"Mike stormed out of the room," Shannon recalled. "I bring it up every now and then."

They eventually decided to get married, anyway.

On Aug. 1, they tied the leather knot, complete with some pre-game photos of the groomsmen at the stadium.

One shot stands out from the rest.

"One of my buddies says, 'You know what? This might be one of the last years of the legendary trough.' All of a sudden it just clicked," Mike said. "Like, who else can ever say they've done this?"

So the five of them, plus their female photographer, trundled down to the washroom for a Kodak moment only a male football fan could appreciate.

"I have to say, as a girl I was pretty curious to see what the trough looked like," Shannon said. "It's pretty legendary. So now I know."

And?

"And I was a little disgusted."

After the trough visit, it was off to Hooters to watch the first half of the Bombers in Toronto, then home for the second half -- which ended just in time for the groom to reach the Conservatory on time.

At the wedding, there were no serious outbreaks and nobody objected to the union. Although there is some debate over the existence of a clause in the contract that forces Shannon to switch sides.

"That'll always be a matter of contention," Mike said.

So was the day Shannon dressed their cat in a Riders jersey.

"I could only let that go on for so long," Mike said.

"She's not turning the cat against me, already."

Which raises perhaps the ultimate question: what happens when there's a kid?

"I'm thinking I'm going to have a Bombers jersey waiting," Mike said. "Like, as soon as it comes out of the womb."

Over to you, Mrs. Savory.

"I think the mother probably picks that," Shannon said. "Kind of like Jewish religion."

These next two weeks, I'd pray for a split.

Contact Paul at paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca or 632-2788.


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