I spent Grey Cup weekend in Toronto with my son, who became a teenager on Saturday. His birthday always falls around Grey Cup time, and since this year was the 100t h GC game and our Alouettes looked like a good bet to make it this year, I decided to buy tickets way back in May.
Tickets secured, I booked a hotel just two blocks away from the Rogers Centre, knowing we would be in the heart of the action. I booked flights into Billy Bishop airport right near downtown so we could get back early enough on Monday to make sure he would not miss too much school.
We looked forward to the trip all summer and fall, but then the unthinkable happened. The arch-rival Toronto Argonauts upset the Als in the eastern final a week before the big game. Ugh. Not only would our team not be there, we would be in Toronto watching Toronto play for the Cup.
Oh well, we might as well make the best of it, right? We were looking into the activities that we could enjoy on Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday, since the game was not scheduled until 6 PM on Sunday.
So after getting to our hotel Saturday around 2 PM, we went across the street to Gretzky’s restaurant for some chicken and ribs , and got a bit of the Grey Cup experience of people from all over Canada coming together for a good time, a great many of them wearing their team jerseys over a number of layers of warm clothing.
I had heard of this tradition and seen clips on TV, but it was pretty cool to be a part of it. We had not been sure about wearing our Als jerseys when we first set out, but after our lunch we headed back to our hotel room and dressed like so many others, proudly wearing our team colours, despite our team’s absence from the big game.
Alright, off to the activities. We had heard about the Grey Cup train that had made its way all across Canada, containing a whole museum of Grey Cup displays and memorabilia. We could have seen it a month or so earlier in Montreal, but figured why not wait to see it in Toronto, since we would be there for the game. Well, someone had the bright idea of ending the cross-country train trip a week before the game.
Oh well, no Grey Cup train. At least we could check out the Adrenaline Zone where they had an urban zipline near City Hall. It was now late Saturday afternoon and pretty cold out, so we decided to put that off until Sunday, since we would have the whole day to kill anyway.
I guess the same geniuses that were in charge of the train schedule were also in charge of the Adrenaline Zone, since it turned out that it closed down on Saturday.
Sunday turned out to be a pretty uneventful day, a great deal of it spent in our hotel room watching NFL games and waiting for the big game.
I felt pretty bad for my son about how lame this whole trip was; no Alouettes, no Grey Cup train, no Zipline. Oh well, we could still hope for the Calgary Stampeders to beat the Argos and make it all worthwhile.
Of course it did not work out that way. The hated Argos won the game handily. The final score was 35-22, but it was not even that close.
So the entire weekend felt like a huge disappointment. But then something interesting happened, and it came from an unexpected source. From my teenage son. He looked at me with a big smile and said, quite simply, “Hey, can we go to next year’s Grey Cup?”.
The grey mood that I had been in suddenly disappeared. The Grey Cup weekend that had seemed to go so poorly was not such a big deal. It was still a heck of an experience, and so what if the right team didn’t win.
After all these years of trying to teach him some useful lessons, could he possibly be starting to teach me some?