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Dec 12, 2012 7:53pm
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

Its been a long time since anyone has really considered Toronto a football town.
Aaron Hernandez Womens Jersey . That would be
back in the 1970s, when the Argonauts were just a notch or two behind the
Toronto Maple Leafs in the local sporting consciousness, when the signing of
Heisman Trophy winner Anthony Davis out of USC was enough to bring tens of
thousands out to an intrasquad game at Exhibition Stadium. And certainly no
later than 1983, the year the Argos ended Torontos 30-year Grey Cup drought, an
achievement celebrated by a massive crowd that jammed downtown Toronto for the
victory motorcade to City Hall. That event, however, also seemed to be the
jumping-off point for a a whole lot of Torontonians who simply stopped caring.
The reasons for the CFLs great decline in the Centre of The Universe have been
widely discussed – the rise of the Blue Jays, arrival of the Raptors,
fascination with the National Football League and a sense that Toronto had
simply out-grown an eight (sometimes nine) team, all-Canadian league, are all
part of the puzzle. And then of course there is the Rogers Centre, the cavernous
stadium that makes it feel as if a football game were being played in some kind
of super-sized shopping mall. But what no one has figured out over the past 30
years or so is how to make the Argos matter to more than a hard-core of CFL fans
in a market of six million people. And Lordm there have been those whove given
it their best shot: with everything from marquee football names such as Rocket
Ismail, Doug Flutie and Ricky Williams, to pre-game parties aimed at families,
playing the nostalgia card, superstar ownership, filling the roster with as many
ex-NFL players as possible, pushing affordability, the presence of local
players, community involvement, etc. You name it, theyve tried it. But none of
it has had much impact at making the team more relevant to the average sports
fan. True, the Argos have been less than stellar on the field for most of the
past 30 years. But even two of the very best Argo teams ever – the 1996 and 1997
Grey Cup winning editions – barely moved the needle at all. Meanwhile, the Argos
have become marginalized in daily conversation. Most Toronto sports fans, if
asked during any point in the past 10 years, could perhaps come up with the
quarterbacks name or the result of that weeks game. But the conversation would
likely end there (One Toronto newspaper even recently ran an article about the
citys four pro sports teams – the Leafs, Jays, Raptors and Toronto FC). All of
which raised the question of how Toronto would respond to the Argonauts being
part of the Grey Cup? And whether whatever noise the team makes this week will
have any lasting affect after Lord Greys mug is handed out on Sunday. On the
first matter, there seems a genuine sense of welcoming the Grey Cup to Toronto –
at least if you judge by the local media and the general feel in the city thus
far. It would be difficult not to know the Grey Cup is happening, the game is
sold out and tickets are incredibly scarce, and even a downtown Argo pep rally –
which might seem like a bit of a risky proposition given that most of the teams
fans are suburbanites – drew a more-than-decent crowd on Tuesday night. The
second question is a much tougher to answer. The biggest challenge the Argos
face is that a whole generation of fans has grown up without them being
top-of-mind. And that generation is now raising another generation which
presumably thinks the same way. That isnt going to change in a week. But what
chance the Argonauts do have to improve their standing comes in linking
themselves to a larger experience, to being part of one big national celebration
that is being recognized from coast to coast as an important part of our nations
culture. Being a sports fan is at its core a tribal experience, the sharing of a
passion that results in a feeling of belonging or oneness with others. Thats a
feeling the Argos have had trouble providing for the last 30 years. So attaching
the Argonauts to a uniquely Canadian experience certainly seems to be the play
here this week. Let Torontians hear and feel and taste that and see if in some
small way it can make the Argos and the CFL more meaningful to them. The CFL has
certainly had some things break its way for this week, with a match-up full of
great storylines and the sense that Sundays contest could be very competitive to
the very end. The NHL has co-operated nicely by keeping its doors shut, the
Raptors are off to an awful start and even the Blue Jays got their big moves out
of the way ahead of Grey Cup week really heating up. This Grey Cup didnt need
the Toronto Argonauts to be in it. It would have been just fine with or without
them. But the To