- Free Agency
As a paid employee for TSN Radio I naturally have to say nice things about TSN’s documentary series, ENGRAVED ON A NATION: STORIES OF THE GREY CUP, THE CFL AND CANADA.
It’s like ‘When We Were Kings’, ‘The Thin Blue Line’ and ‘Hope Dreams’ all wrapped up into one film, only a 100 times better. All joking aside how could you not be excited to see the eight original documentaries if you’re a CFL fan? I’m sure there will be plenty of stories of triumph over tragedy, great players rising in the face of adversity plus a whole lotta love for Roughrider fans.
But there is one Grey Cup story that is screaming to be told.
No I’m not talking about a 4th quarter touchdown pass to win it all.
I’m talking about: A Coors Light Tall Boy (Or King Can, which ever term you want to use), the eight yard line and the richest man in the league.
Please allow me to job your memory for a moment:
Just go on ahead ans click here and go the :26 second mark.
Allen Pitts had scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Danny Barrett to cut Toronto’s lead to 22-21 with under 11 minutes left in the game. Any momentum Calgary had was swiftly ripped away on the ensuing kickoff as Rocket pulled away from the Stamps special teams giving Toronto their first Grey Cup since 1983.
I want to find the fan that threw the can of can of beer. I want to know his story. There is almost no coverage of it. Bruce Garrioch mentioned it in a short post about his memories of the game. Beyond that there is zero write up about that moment.
In fact here is how you know this is an under reported story… just type “1991 Grey Cup “Coors Light” Rocket” in Google. The top story is one by me. I can’t be the only one who is still mildly obsessed about that moment, can I?
I’m upset that the cameras did not pan through the crowd to find that disgruntled fan with his Dave Sapunjis jersey on over top five sweaters as he struggles to keep warm in temperatures below -35 C. This could have been a watered down Steve Bartman moment just without all the anguish that comes with being a Cubs fan.
I’m not going lie I wish we could have interviewed this fan.
Here are the questions that I would ask plus my predictions of what his answers would have been.
Question: “How much of the beer was left in the can?”
Answer: Oh it was near full at the time. No way could I have got that kind of distance with a near empty can. Hey, don’t get me wrong I love the frost brewed taste that comes right from the mountains of the Rockies. But it was a sacrifice I had to take. Plus cold wet metal on your lips was no treat by the fourth quarter. I was concerned my tongue would get stuck to the can like Flick from ‘A Christmas Story.’
Question: Did security accost you after the throw?
Answer: Are you kidding? They hated the Argonauts almost as much as I did. Plus I never actually hit the guy. From what I can remember security was huddled around a space heater making fun of Matt Dunigan’s mullet.
Question: Did you brag to your friends after?
Answer: Listen I don’t like to throw around the word “hero” but I’m pretty damn close. That beer toss will go down in history, you can’t miss seeing it just as Rocket has his goofy arms outstretched celebrating his touchdown. I’d of thrown a flag for taunting, but that’s another story. Sure my throw was off by a couple inches but on the bright side for years after I didn’t have to buy a drink in any reputable bar in Calgary.
Question: Why did you do it?
Now this is where my fake documentary would take an interesting turn. One of the subplots of this game was the hatred the rest of the nation had for the Argonauts. Now of course this is nothing new in Canada. Hating Toronto is as easy to Canadians as hating New York is for so many Americans. Of course this edition of the Argonauts was especially easy to loath considering all the glitz, sizzle and Hollywood star power behind this team. On top of that, Rocket Ismail was “the” prize acquisition that year. A star from Notre Dame, Toronto managed to pry him away from the NFL with a contract that had never been seen on either side of the border. This Grey Cup was a classic case of class warfare. If this fan’s aim had been true he would have struck a blow for all the small market teams by embarrassing the million dollar man.
But unlike so many documentaries’ mine would have a happy ending. I’d reunite Rocket and the fan. I’d give the fan a chance to say sorry for nearly hitting Ismail in the legs while Rocket could apologize for playing a part in Bruce McNall being able to lift the Grey Cup. Than as the documentary is coming to an end the two men would toast to the memories of 1991, with the drink of choice being an old school Coors Light King can, not one of those new novelty wide mouth bottles.
My documentary has it all! Thrills (An 87-yard kickoff return touchdown), spills (Beer on the field) and of course chills (-16 degrees Celsius).
The main plot would be the trajectory of one single can of beer hurtling at Toronto’s shiny new toy while the subplot would delve into issues of sport and the part it plays on the major philosophical differences that separates Toronto from the rest of the nation. Plus just think of all the drinking games you could invent as well?