Holy cooldown!! From the oppressive heat of Thursday and Friday where it hit almost 40 degrees in some parts of the province to having to almost put an extra blanket on the bed Saturday night to lows of 5 degrees in some areas on Sunday. For someone who doesn't like mid-30's heat, that was absolutely refreshing--especially when you don't have air conditioning!. I can only imagine what it was like for campers who left wherever on Thursday and perhaps didn't bring that extra blanket with them thinking they wouldn't need it. It must have also been a little cool for those sitting in the Mosaic Stadium stands Saturday night as the Regina Thunder opened up the PFC season with a 48-32 win over the Winnipeg Rifles. It is the first win of the season by a Regina football team and yes, somehow you knew it would be against a Winnipeg team didn't you! Congrats to Scott MacAulay and crew as they start the road to what they hope is their 2nd national title.
With the Thunder on the field, it is now time for the University of Regina Rams to show us what they will have as camp got underway on Sunday. As you know, this is the first time in a long time Frank McCrystal has not been in charge of the "horns" with Mike Gibson now holding the clipboard. Gibson is saying the right things going into camp, but what is said and what is done are two different things. The Rams have a lot of young talent with guys like Noah Picton, Atlee Simon, Riley Wilson, Joey Dwyer, Mike Stefanovic and Tyler Perkins. They also have a very experienced offensive line which should be a huge strength for the young quarterback who gets his first full year as the starter. I think it is safe to say the Rams won't be contending for a Vanier Cup this year because they are still young, but hopefully they start growing some seeds for what could be a Vanier run in a couple of years down the road. Can't wait for the season opener September 4th at Mosaic against Alberta.
To the CFL and it was not a good night to be the visiting teams on Saturday as the final score collectively in the two games was 100-25. The Stampeders flexed their Grey Cup muscle on an Ottawa team that definitely took a step back while Hamilton just steamrolled another team walking into the "Coffee Cup" as it has been dubbed. The games got so bad on Saturday night that the CFL on TSN panel started to dance and believe me folks, that was as ugly as ugly can get. It was somewhat terrifying!!
The Michael Sam era in the CFL is apparently over and while Sam is using mental health issues as a reason for his time with the Alouettes to come to an end, I think the reality is the guy found he couldn't cut it and simply stopped playing to stop embarassing himself. If there are actual mental health issues there then fine, but that line of reasoning seemed to catch many off guard. The story is making headlines across North America because of Sam's sexual preference and that may have had something to do with the decision as well. The glare of the spotlight may have been too bright for him, and when it was evident he was having a problem with the Canadian game he didn't want to continue. It is too bad he couldn't have been left alone, and just concentrated on being a football player. If there are others out there looking to come out like what Sam had the courage to, they may not do so anymore. There are many factors that come with this, but in the end, Sam's days of being a trailblazer are over, and so is his football career. It is because he wasn't good enough to take his game to the next level. End of story!
The Riders get back on the field this week after having the bye week. It is obvious the team will have a different look when they walk back in the room as some player personnel moves were made on the weekend. The love for the team is still there if the scene outside the Northgate Mall Rider Store was any indication on Sunday. Brett Smith and Ryan Smith were signing autographs were fans and there were a lot of fans getting stuff signed. Both are quickly becoming fan favourites around here. I'm looking forward to seeing how the young quarterback does against Calgary on Saturday. One has to think the Stamps will be favoured and favoured heavily to win which they should, but it will be interesting to see what type of fire this team has after the break.
In reading a story on the Patrick Kane situation, I was shocked to see the NHL does not have a policy on violence against women. The CFL has just instituted one. The CFL is ahead of the NHL on something?! It is hard to fathom the NHL has no such policy in place.
If there was any doubt that Tiger Woods is not the PGA Tour the way he used to be, there can be no doubt now after Jason Day won his first major by winning the PGA Championship Sunday at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. Tiger didn't make the weekend and CBS had record numbers with Saturday's 3rd round coverage being a record and the highest they have had in 6 years. The torch has been passed to the likes of Day, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and others. The game is just fine despite what some may think.
Speaking of ratings, the Blue Jays continue to haul in amazing numbers on Sportsnet. What effect is it having on CFL numbers? We will find that out later this week when we see what the head to head was on Friday as the Jays lost a tough one to the Yankees while the Argos were beating the Bombers. Numbers show Wednesday night's Jays game versus Oakland had 1.48 million Canadians watching and I'm guessing many were watching the Yankees-Cleveland game on Thursday or something else because only 574-thousand took in the Eskimos-Alouettes game. I am guessing that beats the Toronto-Winnipeg game. Fans across the country are tuning out the CFL this year and the Jays performance until the end of the season will not help that out one bit. The CFL should be happy that Toronto played in the afternoon on Saturday because had they played a night game against the Yankees on Sunday, it would have had a huge impact on the Hamilton-BC game and a slight one on the Ottawa-Calgary matchup.
Congratulations to the Regina Red Sox! A few weeks ago it looked like the team wouldn't even make the playoffs, but manager Scott Douglas found a way to get his team back on track and make it to the league final. That final certainly didn't go the way the Sox wanted it to as Lethbridge won in 3 straight to take the title, but the Sox have shown again they might have the model franchise in the WMBL. One can not argue with their track record over the past 5 years as they have gotten to the final three times winning it twice. Gary Brotzel, Bernie Eiswirth and many others deserve a hearty pat on the back and some cold frosty ones for the tireless work they do to make this team what it is.
James Harrison has been one of the NFL's best linebackers for a number of years and he apparently hasn't taken too many headshots. The Pittsburgh linebacker is being applauded by many, including this blogger, for taking away his kids participation trophies saying he wants them to earn a "REAL" trophy. Harrison's boys were given two trophies for just being involved in something. Harrison writes
" I'm sorry I'm not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I'm not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best...cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better...not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy." I would hope some parents and more importantly some school boards will take notice of this because in my opinion Harrison is 100 percent correct. If you want to disagree, that's fine and it is your right, but in my books Harrison is getting his kids ready for the world and isn't allowing them to take the easy way out which is what some educators feel is the right task to take right now.
That's all I got. Have a great week!