Friday, May 1, 2009

I'm Probably In The Moral Minority Here But.......

(Photo courtesy Regina Leader-Post)

Looking at "The Leader-Post's" Rider dedicated website "Rider Rumblings", I see an initiative has started to try and get Ron Lancaster's jersey #23 retired across the whole league. A man named Barry Smith has started a petition which he wants to direct to CFL commissioner Marc Cohon stating through his 48-year career as a player, coach, broadcaster and manager, Ron dedicated his life to the 3-down game. With the exception of his family,the 'Little General' had no greater passion than this game in his adopted homeland. His accomplishments were many and great, but he didn't let any of this go to his head: he considered it an honour to be able to be a part of this great sport.Out of respect to his accomplishments both on and off the field, I have started this petition with one aim: to respectfully convince the CFL to honour this man as he honoured it for so long - by retiring the number 23 throughout the league, ensuring that the memory of his amazing accomplishments are never forgotten. I think this is very admirable but with all due respect to the greatest ever to wear the "S" on his helmet, I can't buy into this.

The only two men I know who have had their numbers retired across the league in which they played are Jackie Robinson and Wayne Gretzky. Robinson broke the colour barrier in baseball. He changed the game. You could say he revolutionized baseball. Gretzky didn't break any barriers--although his presence in L-A did spark the league to call places home it probably wouldn't have. For that he revolutionized the game, he was considered the best of all time and his legacy is cemented by having the NHL bestow the honour on him.

Ron Lancaster is a Saskatchewan institution. He is an icon. There is no denying that. However when you look at the larger picture, Lancaster was just one of the all time greats in a great league. The Riders have retired his jersey which is right. His playing career was right here and his accomplishments should and have been immortalized by the football team for what he did. To say though that no player in the CFL from here on in wear number 23 though is a little bit of a stretch. While I applaud Barry for what he wants to accomplish, I can't see it becoming reality and I can't see my name being attached to said petition. Sorry!! I await the feedback and I think a lot of you will say I'm crazy but that is the way I feel.


Anonymous said...

I like the idea!! Who cares what you think Mitch!!!! :P

Kim K. said...

I actually agree with you Mitch. When you retire a number league wide it means that that person has had a profound and monumental impact on the league. While Mr. Lancaster is an idol in these parts, I can't see him being seen in the same light in say Toronto or Vancouver. Perhaps we should go the way of the Australian Football League where numbers are not retired but rather handed down by the former players and their families. This may be the way to go in future years.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Kim. Ronnie is an icon in Saskatchewan. You can't argue that. I don't think he changed the game though the way Robinson and Gretzky did. I think he would be embarassed if he knew this was happening.