Rider pride: it’s contagious
It is a great time to be a Rider fan
Article: Brady lang – contributor
After Sunday’s 45-28 Labour Day win, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are off to their best start in their long, storied history and seem to be the frontrunner for Grey Cup 101.
44,910 people attended the game and the large majority of the attendees were obviously wearing green and white, with the remainder sporting the gaudy blue and gold of the Bombers.
So far this year, the great fans of Saskatchewan have been packing Mosaic Stadium to the brim. Rider pride has never been this intense; 190,218 people have passed through the gates of Mosaic stadium in the 2013 year, and approximately the same count of Pilsners has been consumed by the crowds that bleed green and white.
And, it’s not only the fans that have been bleeding green and white. The team is packed with hometown
heroes, such as Chris Getzlaf, Neal Hughes, and Brendon Labatte, just to name a few.
But, at the same time, what makes us Rider fans tick? Why do we wear a watermelon on our head? Why do we go to every game? Why are we the best fan base in the world?
“I still remember my first games as a child coming here. It was something that was really special and they are memories I will keep forever,” said ten-year Rider veteran Neal Hughes. “It’s so cool to be a part of it and I can’t really say [playing for the Riders has] been a job, it’s still very surreal.”
Comparing our team to any other fan base would be hard to fathom for any die-hard Rider fan, but CFL great, and now Roughriders’ receiver Geroy Simon, has a different idea.
“Everybody you see, everyone’s on board with this team,” he said. “It’s really something I’m embracing.
After being acquired this summer from the B.C. Lions, Simon has become a mainstay in the Riders’ offence, racking up 268 yards and three touchdowns in only five games, but he still is a new Rider Prider.
You really don’t understand the pride this fan base shows unless you grew up with it. Watching them through the roller coaster times of the Grey Cup in 2007 to the tragic thirteenth man incident truly made you feel a part of the team each week, whether that week ended with a win or with a loss.
One could imagine how backward it would be playing against the team you grew up cheering for. Hometown boy Labatte says that this has always been a dream of his to wear the green and white.
“Coming back to this field and playing for this team was a set out ultimate goal, so to finally reach that and to play in front of these great fans was a dream come true,” he said.
Let’s now hope the former U of R Graduate stays with the team.
I don’t think anyone will ever figure out what makes us tick as Rider fans. Personally, I do believe it’s in our blood and that this team is Canada’s team. The 101st Grey Cup Championship will be played on November 21st in Regina. Every Saskatchewan citizen is hoping that the Green and White will be hoisting the storied trophy.
I just hope that Canada is ready for the Rider Pride.