Bombers should tone down boasting

Paul Friesen, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:42 PM ET

The e-mail came from a longtime Winnipeg Blue Bomber fan now living on the Wet Coast.

But I think it might sum up the feelings of more than a few members of Bomber Nation, especially the west side set who are old enough to remember Tom Clements and Joe Poplawski, if not Ken Ploen and Dr. Ken Nielsen.

Can we hold off on Swaggerville until we play Montreal, the e-mail began. Because Montreal still holds the rights to Swaggerville and being arrogant. Maybe we should wait until we win a playoff game to become Swaggerville. Or a Grey Cup.

And if we lose Buck Pierce, Swaggerville is finished. Remember, we still play Montreal four times.

Actually, it’s three times, not counting the playoffs.

Other than that, I couldn’t have said it better myself, I told Rick, the e-mailer.

But I’m going to try, anyway.

Two distinct camps

Having spent much of the last week around the Big Blue, I sensed there are two distinct camps in Swaggerville.

Setting up shop on the main drag, their Swaggerville signs proudly displayed, are the founding fathers, people like Mayor Odell Willis, his deputies Jovon Johnson and Jonathan Hefney, and most of what I like to call the dirty dozen — the defence.

Off the beaten track, on some of the side streets, live an equal number of equally passionate residents who didn’t ask for their town to be renamed, and who don’t particularly relish the attention the move has brought. People like Brendon LaBatte and his buddies. Paul LaPolice. I believe I saw Buck Pierce in this neighbourhood, too.

It’s not that they work any harder than the high-profile members of Swaggerville, who bust their tails like everybody else in this blue-collar community.

It’s just that these quieter, humble types don’t like to talk about it.

Now, this isn’t an angry split, just a minor philosophical difference. There’s no animosity between the two groups. They’re actually quite content to live and work side-by-side for the common good.

But until your community has actually accomplished something, what’s the sense in sounding the siren of self-approval?

If you think the Bombers are the greatest thing since sliced bread because they’re off to a 5-1 start, then you’ve conveniently been ignoring the bodies of fast starters strewn along the road to Irrelevance.

Irrelevance happens to be the place most of the members of Swaggerville are from.

Willis, Hefney, Johnson — they all lived there in 2009 and ’10. When they tried to rename it back then, nobody took them seriously.

So they put their heads down and got to work on changing their town’s reputation.

Now that they’ve gained some respect — and good on them for doing it — they’ve hammered some posts into the ground, slapped some paint on a sign and declared their new home Swaggerville.

The masses, hard-done by for so many years and desperate for a reason to feel good about their town, are flocking to the new monument.

But does the name really fit?

Or will people look at it one day and say, “Why the heck did we call it that?”

Maybe it’ll be embarrassing. Or maybe one day something even bigger and flashier will fit.

It certainly looks like Willis and his deputies, with help from LaBatte and his, plus LaPolice, Pierce and all the rest, have improved the place dramatically.

But the paint has barely dried on what they’ve done. The real weather of autumn still has to test it.

Not to mention the Alouettes.

If it stands up to all that, we can call a town meeting and they can call the place whatever they want.

And about 50 people will be popular enough to be the mayor.


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