Vanstone; Desperately missing the CFL during a forgettable fall

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The chill in the autumn air that signifies football games of elevated importance.

It all kicked in on Labour Day weekend, which is often referred to as the unofficial start of the CFL season — a football feast that ignites the stretch run.

On a Sunday afternoon that would ordinarily be spent watching the Roughriders play host to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, I bravely immersed myself in housecleaning and found an assortment of 14-year-old sandwiches. (They were delicious.)

A return engagement, the Banjo Bowl, should have been played the following Saturday.

This past Friday, the Roughriders were to play host to the Calgary Stampeders. Instead, that evening was spent splattered all over the recliner, watching the NBA playoffs.

At least there are live sports to enjoy from the comfort of one’s home — a welcome contrast to the dismal days of March, April, May, June …

But nothing can replace the buzz that accompanies a Roughriders game, especially when the leaves are changing colour.

The Green and White would have been preparing to begin its regular season if holding all games in a Winnipeg-based bubble had been deemed feasible.

However, the league did not receive the $30-million, interest-free loan it had sought from the federal government.

Members of the CFL’s board of governors opted against swallowing all the costs and going it alone, the consequence being the non-season of 2020.

Either way, Mosaic Stadium would not have been a CFL venue this year.

Something would have been missing, even if professional three-down football had been played in a bubble.

But the CFL would have been part of the conversation. In a shortened season, every game would have had a massive impact on a team’s fortunes.

And there would have been something, as opposed to the numbing nothingness that characterizes this forgettable fall.


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