As a politician’s wife I have developed a great deal of tolerance. People often stop my husband in the mall, on the street, at functions, usually for a friendly chat, but sometimes to lodge a complaint. I have learned to be patient and indulgent on such occasions. Sometimes people call directly to our home, (sometimes much too early in the morning) and again I practice my best manners and try to steer them in the right direction to get assistance. However, every once in a while someone crosses the line. The “line” of which I speak has nothing to do with politics but refers to anybody disrespecting my province and our Riders!
It was 2010 in Edmonton and we had just lost the Grey Cup final to Montreal – again! We solemnly headed back to our hotel room, but feeling much too gloomy we decided to go down to the lounge for a drink. We were still wearing our green jerseys so our allegiance was very apparent. The lounge was packed and we were just about to leave when a couple we had met earlier waved us over to their table. It was a table filled with about 20 Stamps fans. (You might guess where I’m going with this.)
They asked us to sit down, so we squeezed in. Well, this group was ecstatic over the Montreal victory and every time a replay of an Alouette TD came on, they let out a big whoop. Okay, I got it. We were their big rivals and they refused to cheer for us. This was pretty much the way it had gone the previous year when Calgary had hosted Grey Cup and we lost the final when…no, I’m not going there!
I could tolerate their cheering but one woman at the table took it to the next level. She point blankly told me that Rider fans were the rudest in the League. I politely countered by saying that a few of our fans might get overly rambunctious because of too much alcohol, but every team has these yahoos. She then went on to claim that the 2003 Grey Cup hosted by Regina was the worst she had ever attended. (I was beginning to sense a pattern here.) I responded that I was surprised by her comment since most people had a fantastic time. Barely taking a breath, she ranted on about how Regina should never be allowed to host another Grey Cup since it did not have the infrastructure or facilities to accommodate people. After taking a deep breath I explained that Regina had grown and changed and was very capable with its many volunteers to handle such an event. But my patience was wearing thin!
By now my husband had caught my eye and was giving me the signal that we should leave. I could tell that he too was getting annoyed. So we got up to leave and then she went and did it – she crossed the line by mentioning the 13th man! I turned to her and with a smile on my face and in my sweetest voice said, “You’d better be careful how you talk because we’re coming back next year and we’re going to kick your butts again.” (Okay, I might have used a stronger word than “butts”.)
Her mouth fell open and for once she was speechless, but the rest of the table burst out laughing and gave me a light round of applause. As we rounded the corner out of their sight, my husband gave me a quick hug and said, “Thanks honey! I couldn’t say it, but you could.” Well, nobody disrespects our Riders and gets away with it!