July 26, 2023

Cauz: My dream Touchdown Atlantic weekend

Thomas Skrlj/CFL.ca

Here is my best impersonation of someone far younger than me: “Is everyone else filled with as much FOMO as I am about Touchdown Atlantic?” Yeah, that sounds awkward coming from a Gen Xer who actually goes into a bank to cash a cheque.

I promise I won’t do that again, but the sentiment remains.

Remember how smooth everything went down in 2022? Beyond the pregame shenanigans between Duke Williams and Shaquille Richardson, everything else before and after the game was a smashing success.

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You couldn’t help but feel the energy every time there was a news story or social media video of what was going on in the town of Wolfville or around the campus at Acadia University. The game itself matched the excitement of the weekend with five lead changes, nearly 800 yards of offence and the Toronto Argonauts coming back to beat the 4-1 Saskatchewan Roughriders on a late Wynton McManis interception return touchdown.

As much fun as the 2022 Touchdown Atlantic weekend was there is no reason to think this year’s edition can’t be even grander. Halifax is back at the centre of all the attention for the first time since the inaugural event back in 2005. The game is a sellout, the city knows how to throw a proper party and for the first time ever, the defending Grey Cup champions will be on the East Coast.

I won’t be able to attend the game, so I decided to put together what the best-case scenario weekend looks like. Yes, the actual best version is me in Halifax eating far too much seafood, pairing it with one too many drinks, not getting enough sleep and being among the masses in the Church Brewing Party Zone for the game. In lieu of that here is how I hope the weekend goes.

On the Friday fans can take part in the TDA Football Clinic. My dream version would include AJ Ouellette and Jamal Morrow competing in a World’s Strongest Man competition with both running backs tossing pilsner filled kegs over wooden walls. How about a CFL version of ‘American Gladiator’ involving “lucky” contestants taking on Larry Dean and Adarius Pickett in a game of capture the flag?

How long do you think it would take to eliminate Mario Alford in a heated contest of tag? There is only one way to find out! Finally, if I’m being greedy, we get a special appearance from Dustin Crum fresh off his Friday game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to break down the game film from that crazy comeback over the Bombers.

Next up is the live music so on Friday we’re heading to the Marquee Ballroom to be in the middle of the glory that is Riderville. I have this image of the Canadian Air Force working the bar. Is it far fetched to think about Andy Fantuz, Jason Clermont, Rob Bagg and Chris Getzlaf pouring drinks and serving crab cakes? Yes, it is, but this is my dream and damnit, I want Fantuz to ask me if I’m sure I don’t want another jumbo shrimp. (Spoiler: I do) As for the music selection I’m requesting The Mellotones to perform ‘Going Down’ in honour of what Pete Robertson does to quarterbacks.

I’m going to treat the SiriusXM Touchdown Atlantic Stage like that over zealous wedding guest demanding the DJ play every song that I desire. During the tailgate before kickoff, I’m going to want DeeDee Austin to play her song ‘16’ in honour of the soon to be overhyped storyline of ‘can the Toronto Argonauts reach 16 wins’ this year? The team’s record is 15 regular season wins during the Doug Flutie years. We are three Argo victories away from me writing an overly long column that will heavily feature Robert Drummond, Lester Smith and Don Matthews.

Next, I’m looking for The East Enders to do a cover of ‘Working Man’ as a tribute to the offensive linemen who ply their trade all over Canada. Finally, is it too much to ask Paul Lamb & Wreckhouse to perform their entire album, “The Prize” to recognize that every team is out for the same goal, to win the Grey Cup.

Next, for everyone with the financial means to do it, in honour of former offensive lineman and media legend Chris Schultz, each family brings enough non-perishable food items that would make Schultz good and full as part of the Purolator Tackle Hunger that will be going on during the game (click here too learn more about Chris’ relationship with Purolator).

As for the game itself I want to see Timberlea, Nova Scotia’s own Gregor MacKellar pancaking defensive linemen all over the field while opening holes the size of a family sedan for Andrew Harris to run through. On the other side, who isn’t getting pumped when Brett Lauther from Truro, Nova Scotia nails a 54-yard field goal as time expires to send the game to overtime?

As for who wins the game, yes, my obvious bias says Toronto, but hear me out for a moment. I know many of you can’t stand the fact that Toronto is No. 1 in the Power Rankings, but isn’t the league just that much more compelling when there is that one team that everyone is gunning to beat? The Argonauts are a couple wins away from becoming a legitimate sports villain which is a hilarious thought when you remember Pinball Clemons is the general manager.

So how about a final score of 40-33 with Mason Fine putting up the kind of numbers that knocks Crum off the headlines and the conversation turns to all the new faces making a name for themselves at quarterback?

I understand the final score may not thrill everyone, but you have to admit I have put together a pretty great Touchdown Atlantic weekend. Now if only I could have been there to enjoy it.

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