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GULLIBLE’S TRAVELS: From the sports desk…

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Satire from Kellyanne Conway’s dog.

Joe Stevens: And some good news from our WEED Sports Desk. Something is actually happening in town but not what you would expect. Our Weekend Around Town reporter, Betsy Edward is on the story.  And Betsy, you’re at Diablo’s Cantina and that looks like a happy, noisy crowd behind you.

Betsy: That’s right, Joe. I hope you can hear me. We weren’t expecting to do a football story this early in the season but we’re here at Diablo’s Cantina, a favorite football mecca for local fans. Since no one even knows when the NFL is going to get back on these TV screens, I had to ask “what’s going on?” Helping me out are two brothers from Burgaw. Can you tell us your names and tell us what’s going on.

Doug: Hi, I’m Doug. And this is my brother, Bob. We’re all here for the big game. It’s the Rough Riders playing the Roughriders.

Betsy: What did you say?

Bob: Yeah, the Ottawa Rough Riders versus the Saskatchewan Roughriders. NFL fans might not know it but this is a big rivalry up north.

Betsy: You’re watching Canadian football?

Bob: Oh yeah. It’s way better than the NFL. First, you only have three downs and none of that boring punting on the fourth—that just breaks up the excitement. And the Canadian field is bigger. Center field is the 55-yard line. The game was always faster. But this year, when Canadians realized that the NFL was starting late, they made some rule changes to attract all the fans south of the border. I mean, south of their border. Basically they took the best of everything. Look at the field. Like a hockey rink, they put boards around it to keep the ball in play longer.  No more missed catches going out of bounds and everyone checks their email. If the ball comes off the boards, it’s still in play. I don’t think anyone here will ever watch an NFL game again.

Betsy: But, Doug, is that the quarterback? What’s he holding?

Doug: Oh, that’s a tennis racket. Like I say, Canadians put in something for everyone and that’s been really great for the game. The quarterback can throw a forward pass, but instead of a handoff, he has to use the racket. And then he can use it to protect himself. Any offensive tackle coming in for the sack can find himself tweeting with the birdies if he can’t get inside the quarterback’s racket swing in time. The guy gets a lot more respect now.

Betsy: But what about team loyalty? NFL teams you’ve followed all your life.

Bob: You could wash your car in the time between great plays in a Panthers game. There’s only one thing I miss. Late season in Canada, it gets so cold and there’s no covered stadiums so the cheerleaders have to get all bundled up in parkas. They sort of look like the Michelin Man. I think it’s Canadian labor law. They could be Ukrainian grandmothers underneath for all you know. But at least that’s also polar bear season.

Betsy: You’ve got to explain that…

Doug: Yeah. With the arctic ice melting, the polar bears have to scavenge for food. A football stadium is easy pickings. I mean, who eats all the fries? The cheerleaders have been trained to use tranquilizer guns on the sidelines and that can make a pretty good halftime show with gators hauling off sleepy bears. And the real bear action is with the tailgaters in the parking lot. The bullfighting crowd says it’s way better than running the bulls in Pamplona. For the season final, they’re bringing in David Attenborough to do the play by play at halftime. I think they’re trying to pull in PBS fans.

Betsy: Who’s the guy waiting at the goal line?

Bob: That’s Ernesto. He’s from Brazil. Best goalkeeper in the league. Canadians figured the soccer fans needed something. The new rule is you can’t carry the ball across just any part of the end zone. You got to drop-kick it through old-school posts and the goalie can do his thing. It’s pretty exciting. And none of that stupid one-point conversion. It’s like watching paint dry.

Betsy: I hate to ask … did they take anything from baseball?

DOUG: Chewing and spitting. But since it’s such a fast pace game, there’s no players standing around doing nothing. So the cheerleaders chew and spit between routines. I think it makes them look cheap but my brother Doug here thinks it’s classy.

Doug: Classy? You bet your Tim Bits it’s classy.

Bob: Take off, Hoser. Spittin’ makes ‘em look like Saskatoon hookers!

Doug: Oh yeah, you stupid chucklehead. Dad says Mom had a bad day of ice fishing and all she brought home was you!

Bob: Oh Yeah? Your girlfriend wears mukluks.

Betsy (stepping away): Well Joe, you can see everyone’s really getting into the Canadian spirit. Back to you.

Joe: Great story, Betsy. So how often does this happen?

Betsy: Tomorrow afternoon the big game is the Montreal Alouettes versus Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Joe:  What’s an Alouette?

Betsy: Google Translate says it’s an old-world ground-dwelling songbird that is usually brownish in color.

Joe: They named their team after a dingy little French bird?

Betsy: Well, they are Canadian. Their national animal looks like some kind of rodent. Sometimes they do the national anthem with bagpipes. Their super bowl trophy is called the Grey Cup. I guess grey is an exciting color up there.

Joe: And you’ve got to tell our viewers, what is a Blue Bomber?

Betsy: Joe, there are children in the audience. Don’t ask.

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