So we have arrived back in the United States, but what a time we had in the Great White North. Canada was such an awesome time and we documented everything along the way once we found out we would be road trippin' from Toronto to Calgary -- quite far, as it turns out. Here's everything that went down.
Part One: The Roadtrip
Our cameraman Colin a.k.a. Hammer met us in Minneapolis and we embarked on our journey to the Grey Cup. We went from Minneapolis to Winnipeg the first day, which it turns out is not Canada's finest city. We ended up in some sports bar/casino where we all lost money playing roulette -- red hit six times in a row and I refused to move off black.
The next day, we drove through several hundred miles of nothingness en route to somewhere called Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. We stayed in the town's finest hotel, which I can only describe as having a very Schrute Farms vibe. But there was a fantastic Irish pub in Moose Jaw with some great people who gathered for Thursday night trivia.
We then embarked to our final destination, Calgary, where we met our friend Canadian Steve from Hamilton, Ontario, who hung out with us for the weekend as we engaged in all our hi-jinx.
Part Two: Media Day
On Saturday, we were able to get some thoughts from players from both teams following their walk-throughs at McMahon Stadium.
We talked to some pretty interesting characters, including the Tiger-Cats' center, Mike Filer, who was given to us after one of the Hamilton coaches saw BlackJack and said we needed to interview him because they bore a striking resemblance. I got to talk to fellow Tennessee alumnus Jonathan Kongbo, who, it turned out, was unable to explain to me what a "rouge" is -- somehow in the CFL you get a point for missing a field goal as long as it reaches the end zone; I'm still not quite sure how that works.
Part Three: FanFest and Game Day
Following media availability on Saturday, we headed to FanFest to check out all the activities available to the loyal CFL fans like us who made the trek to Calgary. I raced Canadian Steve in an inner tube before BlackJack and I rode a mechanical Twisted Tea can.
On Saturday night, we were invited to the official Hamilton Tiger-Cats team party, which was a blast. BlackJack got up on stage at one point and started waiving the giant team flag for the crowd. We also got to meet the owner of the team and some other important people -- it was just a great time and we're very grateful they wanted to have us there.
Then came Sunday. Game time.
Obviously the result did not turn out the way we hoped, but we could not have asked for a better experience. Fans from every CFL team were there decked out in all their gear and everyone was just there to have a great time. Keith Urban performed at halftime -- though he didn't do "You'll Think of Me," because screw me, I guess -- and gave a Super Bowl-esque halftime performance.
This trip was absolutely incredible. Thank you to all the Stoolies who hung out with us in Canada, because it's only thanks to y'all that we get to do stuff like this.
I will definitely be tuned in to Hamilton and the rest of the CFL next season and hopefully the Ti-Cats will make it back to the Grey Cup and we can head back up to Canada next year.