Please Advise! I Wish to Ironically Enjoy the Grey Cup

Come all ye hipsters feigning disinterest, and hear our sportive Steve's advice.

By Steve Burgess 28 Nov 2014 |

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Read his previous articles here.

[Editor's note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a Ph.D in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

The Grey Cup is being played in Vancouver this weekend, preceded by the usual festivities. I am considering taking part, but I am a hipster. Is there an appropriately hip way for me to spin my participation in Grey Cup hoopla?


Hipster Feigning Disinterest

Dear HFD,

It can be done. It won't be easy. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats fight song goes, "Oski wee wee, oski wa wa; Holy Mackinaw Tiger-Cats, eat 'em raw!" Plus, they're from Hamilton. Their opponents are from Cowtown and are named after a rodeo. It would seem this game is hipster-proof.

But if it was easy, it wouldn't be hip, would it? Hipsters don't just sit around grooving to U2 albums involuntarily downloaded to their iPhones. They don't even have iPhones. They have Walkmans. Or transistor radios. Or -- dude! -- a fixie with a turntable strapped to the back. Oh yeah. Screw your fancy corporate Walkman.

Yes, hipness takes effort. It may seem impossible to turn Grey Cup Week into the sporting equivalent of Neutral Milk Hotel. But let's try.

The Grey Cup is styled as the National Party. There is no way for you to straight-up enjoy that. Your participation must be ironic. Luckily, that stance may be easier to pull off this year.

This has not been a great year for the CFL. Football fans (i.e. people who watch the Grey Cup unironically) usually sing the praises of the Canadian league as more exciting, offering a more wide-open style. This year, CFL games were often more like NASCAR races with pedal cars. A lot of injuries to star quarterbacks left offences sloppy and struggling. Not a vintage season. As a hipster, this works to your advantage. With the league in a down cycle, the time is ripe for you to join. "Actually," you can say at Grey Cup parties, "I preferred the league this year. Better defense."

We lose, you win

The Grey Cup itself has a significant problem this year. For the past few years, the unofficial league rule has been: home team wins. Last time the game was held at BC Place Stadium in November 2011, the BC Lions defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and the year after that it was the Toronto Argonauts' turn to win at at home. Last November, the cruelty of holding the game outdoors in Regina, where people were forced to go shirtless and wear frozen watermelons just to make a point, paid off as rabid Saskatchewan fans cheered their Roughriders to victory and were subsequently hospitalized.

This year, the Lions fell short. Like, Wile E. Coyote-under-a-piano-at-the-bottom-of-the-Grand Canyon short. Finishing fourth in the West Division, the Lions were transplanted into the Eastern semi-final to play the Alouettes. The East Division rejected the transplant. Montreal won by an approximate score of 457-12 (the scoreboard broke.) Like that tiger spotted in Paris that turned out to be a fat house cat, the BC Lions transformed into Team Garfield. Coach Mike Benevides was fired, but only after team lawyers explained that prison time was not an option. So no Grey Cup home team this year.

Again, hipster, that works for you. If everybody is root, root, rooting for the home team, you can hardly join in. As it is, you are free to wear any team jersey you like. Why not the Alouettes? Salute the team that busted up the local franchise like a candy-stuffed burro.

Obscurity gold mine

But what hipsters truly love is obscurity. The CFL offers a gold mine of obscurity -- specifically, the Sacramento Gold Miners. Or perhaps the Memphis Mad Dogs, the Birmingham Barracudas, or the Las Vegas Posse? Obscure sports franchises do not come any more obscure than the orphaned children of the failed experiment that was the American Canadian Football League.

In the mid-1990s, the cash-strapped league expanded south of the border. Somehow Americans failed to embrace a football league with the word "Canadian" in the title -- they probably should have called it the Freedom Football League. It was an important marketing lesson that no doubt explains why Senator Ted Cruz later abandoned his Canadian citizenship.

But in its wake, the CFL left behind hipster gold. What could be hipper and more obscure than a Shreveport Pirates CFL jersey? eBay must have one. Or it might be necessary to access the Dark Net, where Bitcoins are traded for mail-order cocaine and stolen credit card numbers. Surely there lurks an anonymous vendor peddling vintage San Antonio Texans CFL merchandise?

A simpler idea: show up at Grey Cup parties in a Montreal Expos cap. Quite possibly the hippest defunct sports team ever, and it's not even the right sport. Bonus.

Enjoy Grey Cup Week, my hipster friend. Just remember, you're drinking that Molson ironically.  [Tyee]

Read more: BC Politics

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