CFL game

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Montreal’s mascot; I have no idea what it’s supposed to be. This just shows where our seats were, which indicated how much of a steal our tickets were in terms of location. Hurray for end zone seats!

This might buck away from traditional travel commentary posts, but I think it’s a fun little thing. When I was up in Montreal (and Quebec City) two summers ago, my mom and I went to a Canadian Football League football game. Honestly, it happened completely by random as we just happened to be in town in time for a home game; we read in the English language paper that a game was on that night. So we decided to go, and boy was it great. We took a cab up to the fabled McGill University, which was a treat in it’s own right; the Montreal Alouettes play in McGill’s stadium. We were fortunately able to get tickets for $25 each from a scalper, which was amazingly cheap for where we sat (Fifty bucks for end zone seats? Yes please!).¬† I’ll just say that the view from the stadium was gorgeous, and the night was a perfect night to watch some football as well. The atmosphere was incredible (if you’ve been to or seen the Bell Centre, home of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens play, it was basically like that), and I honestly think that it beats the NFL in terms of passion. (Of course, smaller stadiums mean that you can hear people better.) While I wasn’t able to confirm it, the probability that they tailgated before the game was pretty high-it’s a part of Americana being brought up north.That night, they were playing the Saskatchewan Roughriders, so we got to hear rowdy (and already drunk) Montrealers serenade the opposing team/fans with the obligatory “people from Saskatchewan are hicks” jeers, though I’m sure they’re nice people. This happened a lot, because we had some rowdy people in our section-it proved that there are SUPER passionate/loud fans outside of the NFL. Personally, one of my favorite things was how different it was from the NFL. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Canadian Football League, it’s different than the NFL. The biggest and most noticeable difference is that the CFL plays with 3 downs, meaning they punt on third down, instead of fourth down. The scoring system is complex, and honestly, it’s better that I don’t explain it just to save time and not to fry anyone’s brains. The action was back and forth and every time that the Alouettes did something good, the whole stadium went absolutely nuts. As a reward, we collectively forgot that we were in an American football stadium and started to break out the soccer chants-Ole! Ole! Ole! Oh Montreal, how you never cease to forget your European roots. The Alouettes won in the end, holding off a furious Saskatchewan fourth quarter rally, much to the delight of the hometown fans (and thankfully nothing was burned in celebration). All in all, it was an entertaining night of football and a great way to be immersed in the spirit of Montreal sports. Mingling with the locals while cheering on their favorite in-season team was interesting, even though it was slightly intimidating being around drunk French-Canadians and not knowing what to do or where to go. Even walking back to our hostel from the stadium served to show us how the Montreal culture was like, as the streets were empty and every tv we passed by had the game on. It definitely was one of the best ways to get a feel for a city, and I’d definitely recommend going to sporting events to see places in a different light.

You can see the teams from here. Montreal is in blue.

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