A Spectator Weekend with the Edmonton Capitals and Eskimos

It was a bit of a coincidence that the first two sporting events Mack and I had the chance to attend this summer both fell on the same weekend, but it worked out wonderfully given how beautiful it has been these past few days. Surprisingly, the mosquitoes weren’t bad on either night.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

First up on Friday was an Edmonton Capitals game with some of my fellow Downtown Edmonton Community League members. Given we were playing the rival Calgary Vipers, we expected a larger than usual crowd, but the good weather (and promise of fireworks) also seemed to be big draws – there were over 3,000 people in the stands that night.

Edmonton Capitals

Play ball!

The game went pretty quick – the Caps seemed to put up a fight in the first half of the game, making a dent in the Vipers’ 4-0 lead amassed in the first inning, but in the end, they just couldn’t muster up the runs. The Capitals fell 9-6.

Edmonton Capitals

Captain Capital’s superpowers weren’t enough

In between innings, on-field antics kept the crowd entertained, including my favourite – a race featuring several mascots. I had no idea giant perogies (named Chee and Mo for one of the sponsors) could be so hilarious.

Edmonton Capitals

Mascot race

It was to be the last “Fireworks Friday” game until August 12, so we were fortunate to catch it that evening. Although Mack and I can see glimpses of the fireworks from our balcony, there was no doubt the best views are from the seats at Telus Field.

Edmonton Capitals

Light show

And no trip to Telus Field is complete without beer and a “gourmet” hot dog. Since The Dawg Father closed, the ballpark is the only place that I’ve come across in Edmonton that offer creative hot dogs (menu here). Mack’s Mexicali Dog ($5), topped with chili, nacho cheese, jalapenos and salsa cream was spicy, but texture wise was one-note. On the other hand, my K97 Dog ($5), with chili, cheese, fried potatoes, bacon and onions was a definite winner – I loved that they used bacon strips instead of bits, and the crispy fried potatoes made all the difference, adding a delicious salty crunch.

Edmonton Capitals

Mack tries his first Molson M

Edmonton Capitals

Mexicali and K97 Dogs

Football Frenzy

Mack’s Dad was in town again this weekend, and as Kim was able to secure us some free tickets to the Edmonton Eskimos game, we spent Saturday evening together at Commonwealth Stadium (curiously, it was the first-ever “Ladies Night”, with the first 1,000 women through the gates eligible to win a diamond ring. We didn’t arrive early enough to cash in, but we had to wonder if it was a draw at all).

Edmonton Eskimos

All decked out in Esks gear

This was the first time we’ve ever had seats on the east-facing side of Commonwealth, and boy, does it make a difference. Protected by shade, it definitely made watching the game more pleasant.

Edmonton Eskimos

Hanging in the shade

The Esks have been actually doing pretty well this year, undefeated at 2-0 so far. Playing the BC Lions, we were hopeful that they would continue their streak. After the first quarter, we were even more optimistic.

Edmonton Eskimos

Ready, set, hike!

Their momentum carried the length of the game, and the Esks beat the Lions 33-17.

Edmonton Eskimos

Touchdown fireworks

Because of how one-sided the game was, some fans had the need to find other ways to entertain themselves…such as building a pyramid out of empty beer cups.

Edmonton Eskimos

How high can you go?

Of course, we had to indulge in some stadium food. We chose mini doughnuts (thinking they would be a nice pre-cursor to the midway fare at Capital Ex). The doughnuts were crunchier and had less cinnamon sugar coating than Those Little Donuts (our favourite), but made a decent snack.

Edmonton Eskimos

Mini doughnuts!

Thanks again Kim for the free tickets!

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.

Eskimos

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.

Eskimos

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!