Don Henley told us via song that everything can change in a New York Minute back in 1990 and as the Rider Nation painfully found out early Sunday night, everything can change in a Calgary minute as well. Add what happened in the 2012 Western Semi-Final to the latest gut-punch that fervent followers of the Riders have had to absorb in recent memory. It just asks the question “Are we cursed?” Do the football gods truly hate us and what do we have to do to amend this.
Romby Bryant’s 61 yard catch and run down the sidelines in the game’s final second will never be as disastrous as the 13th man fiasco in 2009, but this one leaves a mark and one that will take some time to get over. It also adds to a list that has to be longer than all of the other CFL teams combined when it comes to heartbreak.
The Bryant catch now goes alongside the following devastating defeats
--Tony Gabriel in the 76 Grey Cup
--Dave Ridgway’s slip at Commonwealth in the 1992 Western semi
--Paul McCallum’s missed 18 yard field goal in the 2004 Western final
--The infamous 2009 Grey Cup
I’m sure there would have been more had this team not been so putrid in the 90’s when survival almost meant more than winning.
Why does this team come out on the wrong end of these stories? Are the Riders the Chicago Cubs of the Canadian Football League? What reason is there for the most passionate fans in the CFL to have their heart broken every few years. Yes, we have celebrated three times, but the pain is much greater than the party.
Whatever it is, one thing remains true and that is as many times as they have been kicked, Rider fans get right back up and continue the fight and continue the quest to see their team atop the CFL throne. It re-defines prairie tough. While many bemoaned this and that when it came to the Riders in 2012, many others just looked at what happened Sunday night, took some time to get over it and started to look ahead to 2013 where yes once again, we will be invincible and we will win the Grey Cup and this time it will happen in our own backyard. If the football gods truly want to make up for years and years of playoff pain and heartbreak, they can do whatever is necessary to make the 101st Grey Cup the one where Canada’s team got the job done at their house sparking a celebration that wouldn’t just be city-wide and province-wide, but country-wide. Another cold winter begins boys and girls, training camp is six months away.