Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Edmonton Eskimos

As a volunteer appreciation gesture, my fellow board members and I were fortunate enough to receive two free tickets to an Edmonton Eskimos game this year – we even had the opportunity to pick from any of their home games. I offered to take Amanda (who had never before attended an Eskimos match), and she chose last Saturday’s tilt against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.


Roughriders vs. Eskimos

Though it wasn’t nearly as chilly as my below-zero experience last October, the intermittent rain during the first half and breeze throughout didn’t make it an entirely comfortable three hours either. Then again, we were probably two of the wimpiest spectators in our section – many around us were simply dressed in sweaters and jerseys.

Amanda and me

Amanda and me, all bundled up

Amanda’s principal reason for choosing a Saskatchewan game was that she had heard-tell about fervent, zealous Roughriders fans. Between the painted faces, green wigs and costumes, I can now verify those tales firsthand.

Though the majority of the fans to the left of us were cheering for Saskatchewan, there were thankfully still a fair amount of Eskimos fans scattered throughout our section, which made the scoring plays and the ultimate win even more fun to celebrate.


Field action

Though it wasn’t the most entertaining game to watch, scoring-wise, we were both happy that we were able to be a part of their 17-14 victory. The relief on the field (and in the stadium) was palpable.

Esks win!

Esks win!

With a record of 2-6, the Eskimos will try to continue their “streak” in Calgary on Labour Day. Go Esks!

Soccer Night in Edmonton: Portsmouth FC vs. FC Edmonton

I’ve attended more sporting events this summer than I did for the whole of 2009; I’m not sure what spurred it on, except to say that it has been a nice change of pace.

Last Wednesday, we joined Mack’s parents, Thom and Lana to watch the city’s North American Soccer League pro team, FC Edmonton, compete in the inaugural Edmonton Cup against Portsmouth (a team, which I am told, just fell from the premiere tier to the second tier of professional soccer in the UK – meaning they are pretty darn good). For this year, FC Edmonton is playing exhibition games, warming up to their first full season with the league to start in March 2011.

Go FC Edmonton!

The crowd on hand totaled nearly 9,000 – organizers must have been expecting as much, as they had closed off half of Commonwealth to better concentrate the crowd (thankfully, they chose to seat us on the east-facing side, protecting us from the harsh evening sun).

Mack and me

Though I knew Edmonton had our share of hard core soccer fans (evident with the outpouring of emotion during the World Cup), I didn’t think they would manifest at the FC Edmonton game – I was wrong.

Conga line of painted fans

This was my first time witnessing a game played on Commonwealth’s newly-installed artificial turf. It looked pretty good to me – much more realistic from afar than the flat, neon-green Astroturf I remember from the 90s. What was difficult to get used to was watching the spray of rubber pellets spring up in the wake of any hard pressure to the turf.

Game on

I always cite the lack of goal scoring during a match as the primary reason for my lack of interest in soccer, but in person, it was a little more interesting, being able to people-watch in addition to watching the game. Count me surprised when FC Edmonton managed to get on the board in the sixth minute.

FC Edmoton celebrates

Conversely, I wasn’t surprised that the next goal took another thirty-two minutes to score, bringing Portsmouth even with Edmonton.

The game was ultimately decided by penalty kicks, which was probably the exciting ending everyone was hoping for anyway. I still wonder how the goalkeeper is supposed to stop the rocket shots, but the Portsmouth keeper managed to save one, and helped his team defeat Edmonton 2-1.

Penalty kick

While I’m not sure I’d become an ardent fan of FC Edmonton, I know many people are looking forward to having a local, professional soccer team to cheer for again. Their next game is against the Victoria Highlanders on August 11, 2010 at Foote Field.

Friday Night Football: BC Lions vs. Edmonton Eskimos

When I told my family I had complimentary tickets to the football game on Friday, they laughed – they wouldn’t subject themselves to inclement weather even if provided with the opportunity free of charge. At half time, I started to agree with them.

Mack and I “bundled up” (in quotation marks because we did not have the a) winter boots, b) blanket, or c) long underwear that those sitting around us clearly did) and headed to Commonwealth Stadium after work on Friday to watch the Eskimos play against the BC Lions. I am not a football fan, but I haven’t been to a game in several years, so we went.

Before the start of the game, when we could still feel our extremities

The snow that fell just before the opening kickoff soon relented, but the wind did not, constantly reminding us about our mistake of under-dressing for the game.

Esks’ introductions

A flurried opening kickoff

At the end of the first quarter, we ducked into a heated concession area for a hot chocolate and a strange cheese-stuffed pretzel (enduring the cold translated into free reign when it came to greasy food, at least in my mind). The “mozzarella” had a consistency in between liquid and solid, and wasn’t all that pleasant to eat.

Mack with the pretzel

Half time meant hot dogs, and we made sure to take our time warming up. Though it was only around –10 with the wind chill, it felt much colder, sitting stationary and at mercy to the wind.

Other cold fans get warm at half-time

As for the football? The Eskimos trailed for most of the night, but with a minute left in the fourth quarter, managed to score a touchdown which vaulted them 31 to BC’s 27. If the Eskimos won, we figured the cold would have been worth it.


With 22 seconds left however, the Lions managed to deflate the whole of Commonwealth Stadium, with a touchdown that won them the game, 34-31.

Will the Eskimos make the playoffs? You’ll have to stay tuned. As for whether we’ll be back to another game soon – maybe, but a toque will definitely not be required at that time.