I’m not sure if Glenn January believes in ghosts.
But the big O-lineman from Texas will have some serious voodoo going on before Sunday’s East Final.
“I’m super superstitious,” the third-year Bomber confessed, Saturday, through facial hair that would make a Shih Tzu proud. “I won’t be wearing sleeves, just because I don’t wear sleeves any other game.”
The forecast be damned.
“I’ll have the same breakfast I always have on game day.”
That’d be the salmon and waffle combo at Stella’s.
“I’ll take the same route to the stadium — I actually have a different route I drive on game day, just to make sure.”
And which route is that?
“I wear the same shirt, same underwear,” January continued.
“I wash ’em.”
See what I mean? This guy means business. Like his hair and beard.
“I did it in college once and had a good year,” he explained. “Coming back from injury, I don’t know — I can’t quite put a finger on it. How many chances in your life are you going to be able to grow a nasty beard like this, and get away with it?”
If January and Co. can ugly their way past the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Sunday’s East Final, they can grow whatever they like, and nobody in this town would complain.
Take this hair-raising season one step further, and a new group of legends is born.
Not every Bomber is aware of what Grey Cup championships mean around here.
As someone who lives here, year-round, and has therefore survived the month that bears his name, Winnipeg’s starting right tackle has a better grasp of it than most.
He’s looked up the history, knows of the man behind the House That Jack Built and realizes winning it all would warm up the winter.
He’s also sat across from some of the legends, looked into their eyes and seen what it would mean, firsthand.
“Been a lot of good ones coming through here,” January said. “Every time I’ve hung out with them they’ve made sure that I understand the importance of being a hog in this community and being fortunate to wear the blue and gold out there.”
Which brings us back to ghosts.
Seems to me the Bombers would be wise to conjure up a few right about now.
They’re going to introduce the Old Girl on Maroons Road to a wrecking ball early next year.
Considering some of the CFL’s all-time greats have walked on that 150-by-65-foot piece of River City real estate, producing 10 Grey Cup titles, there’s really only one proper way to bring the curtain down on this place.
Time for Glenn January to channel his inner Chris Walby.
Buck Pierce, grab a ouija board and look for the initials K.P.
“You look at guys like Kenny Ploen ... you hear about the legends that played some of their best games here in big games,” Pierce said. “I’m not trying to go out there and be something I’m not. I’m just trying to go out there and put our team in a situation to win. Obviously those guys did that.”
Trouble is, for 20 years, nobody has.
In many ways the Old Girl is getting the perfect sendoff: a division final, a full house, a fresh blanket of snow and bone-chilling cold. Makes for great theatre.
But this calls for more.
The stadium deserves it.
The starving fans deserve it.
And so do the ghosts that ruled this place.
“We’d like to think we don’t need their help,” January said. “But we’ll take any help we can get.”