A love for football and their favourite team runs deep
We called ourselves “The Boys.” We were ten-strong, 18 years old and invincible. The place was the Rexdale district of Toronto, 1971. September brought that cool tinge to the air—football weather. On weekends, we played tackle football with no equipment. Injuries were minor. We played in the open field right behind our homes, at a local park or the high school field.
Of course our favourite CFL team was the Toronto Argonauts. We attended games at CNE stadium or watched them on TV.
November was playoff month, semifinals. Soon Grey Cup day was upon us. We all met, rain or snow, to play one last time. We had to throw the ball around to set the mood before the big game. I think each one of us secretly dreamed we could be in the shoes of one of those CFL players performing in the Grey Cup.
After our outing, it was off to our buddy Redwood’s house to watch the Grey Cup game. He had the space, and his parents agreed. We drew numbers out of a hat to win the pot for the final score and we snacked, drank beer and cheered all evening. I don’t know how his parents put up with the racket!
One by one, the boys got married but they still showed up at the annual Grey Cup party, thanks to the grace of their thoughtful wives. After Redwood got married and moved away, we had to hold the party at whoever’s home could be offered up.
I left for Ottawa in the ’90s, but there still remained a faithful core who would get together and keep the tradition alive.
Seven years ago, after an Argo’s team practice, I presented then coach Jim Barker and the Argo team with a two-by-threefoot picture frame, featuring a poem about the origins of the Argo name. It was derived from Greek mythology—the Argo was the ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed to retrieve the Golden Fleece.
Founded in 1873, the Argos are the oldest existing professional sports team in North America still using their original name. The Argos also hold the record for most Grey Cup victories, with 17. n
Doug with the Toronto Argonauts; (inset) “The Boys“watching the game in ‘74.