Shortly after I got married, 15 years ago, I met an amazing woman. We worked together as members of a catering team. Through years of career changes, marital changes, even citizenship changes, we have remained close friends. Although we don't see each other often, we keep in touch - and I must admit, she is much better at calling me than I her!
"Joanie" is my real-life soap opera friend. She's one of those people who manages to attract more than her share of drama and excitement. Overseas work adventure. Car accidents. Not to mention the bizarre circumstances presented by her chosen field of work - she's a death investigator! There is never a shortage of conversational topics when she calls. We share many things in common; sense of humour, taste in music, to name but two.
One of the things Joanie and I share is our love of Canadian Football; more specifically, a love of the Calgary Stampeders! While at university (just a few years back) I developed a fascination with the CFL. Since I live in a football city, it was natural to expect that I might watch a live game or two. Joanie and I spent many hours together, cheering "our team" from the cheap seats. When she left to pursue her career, I had no one with whom to attend games, so I watched on TV, or listened to the local radio broadcast. We'd share the joy of victory or the agony of defeat via telephone and email.
At the beginning of this CFL season, it was announced that Calgary would host the Grey Cup - the holy grail of the Canadian Football League. Fans from across the country make pilgrimage to "the big game" every year. Tickets are purchased (and not cheaply, I might add!) and hopes are raised that one's favourite team might make it to the big show.
At last, the Grey Cup Festival Week is upon us. Sadly, my beloved Stampeders will not be on the field come Sunday afternoon, but my sister-in-the-stands will be joining me! Joanie is making the trek from clear across the continent to sit outside, in Canada, in late November, and revel in the atmosphere of the game we both love. Although "our team" will not be playing, we will enjoy the game. We will cheer. Possibly for the teams on the field. Definitely for the love of the game and the excuse to get together for a big ol' party!