By Marika Washchyshyn
I’ve got some advice for the BC Lions. Take it or leave it, but as someone who has lived through being the away-team at Percival-Molson in a high stakes game, and lived to tell the tale, you might want to read on. And take notes.
My dad, a native of Glenaven, Saskatchewan and a Rider fan through and through, follows the team around to the Toronto and Hamilton games. We’re Argos ticket holders and go to all of the games for the love of football, but those special trips to the Skydome/Rogers Centre and to Ivor Wynne/Tim Hortons were always way more fun when the Riders were in town.
I was attending Carleton University in Ottawa and half way through my journalism degree when my dad decided that, hey, Montreal is close to you, and really not so far from us – why not make another eastern trip out to cheer on our Melon Heads?
The three of us (my mother, by extension, has become a football enthusiast – she says it was in the vows) made the trek out to Montreal before I headed back to Ottawa for the year. It was August 6, 2010. The Saskatchewan Roughriders were still getting over the jabs about the “13th Man” flub that cost them the 97th Grey Cup against, you bet, Montreal.
After narrowly squeezing by 54-51 (in overtime, no less) at the highly anticipated “Grey Cup Final Match-Up” at Mosaic on July 2, 2010 due to another “too-many-men” call, we were understandably apprehensive about entering Percival-Molson.
We were right to be – and Montreal fans should be proud of that.
The Riders lost that game 30-26, and even though they managed to keep 12 players on the field instead of 13, the “13th Man” was still the underlying narrative. The three of us left Percival-Molson, heads held high making our way to our car, which was conveniently UPSTREAM of the crowds of Montreal fans, to chants of “1…2…3…THIRTEEN!” all the way to the shelter of our vehicle. We laughed…a little.
So, BC fans – here’s my advice for you, if you plan on attending the upcoming Eastern Semis in person:
- Make sure you can count. For heaven’s sake. These people will NOT let it go. Twelve is your lucky and favourite number from here on out.
- Be loud, or be louder. This is Montreal we’re talking about. They’re loud, they’re proud, and for the most part, they’re French. That means they’re going to take “fait du bruit” to the next level.
- Warm up beforehand. Have you ever done the climb up to Percival-Molson? Condition yourselves beforehand if you want to make sure you look like the stronger fans coming into the game. They are seasoned. They will still have more breath than you. Try anyways.
- Try to find the BC fan section. I wish we had known that there were a slew of Rider fans coming. We should have realized – they are everywhere! – but it would have helped us, and our voices, to have a little bit of cheering support.
- Be happy – and optimistic – that you’re not the Riders. In the 14 years that the Montreal Alouettes have been back playing at Percival-Molson, the Riders have won there a total of three times. Your odds have got to be better than that, so roll with it and have fun.