On Friday night, I was just one of many students who watched from the stands of Griffiths Stadium, as the University of Saskatchewan Huskies met the University of Regina Rams to open the Canada West football season.
I have to admit, the list of Huskies games I have attended during my time on campus is small at best, but as I head into my final year I can’t help but feed my desire to watch more games and rally behind our home team.
I am convinced that the root of this desire stems from my upbringing. Growing up in small town Saskatchewan, we lived at the rink during the winter and out in the field during the summers. We cheered our hearts out for our home teams and, while playing, received that same support in return. It was this type of atmosphere of that I loved the most.
As I took my seat and eagerly waited for the season-opener to begin, it became apparent to me that the experience of attending a game is about much more than just watching; it is about the camaraderie that is shared between fellow fans, the anticipation at the beginning of each quarter and the support we show for our favourite players as we come together.
The Dogs took the field donning jerseys which read “courage,” “duty,” “country,” “honour,” and “integrity” out of respect for our troops in service. The memorable pre-game ceremony included a colour guard, moment of silence and a flyover. The first game of the season wasn’t like any other I had attended before and I was grateful to be in the stands.
By the time the ceremonial coin had been tossed, and the teams were lined up ready to charge at the moment of kickoff, the crowd was breathless with anticipation.
Our Huskies came out strong and had a solid lead on the Rams after the first half. Despite some tense moments that had me squirming in the second half, we managed to come out alive with a 40-33 win.
As my friends and I were leaving Griffiths Stadium, we stopped for a minute to marvel at the post-game fireworks. With explosions of colour streaking across the sky and a stadium full of cheering fans surrounding me, I couldn’t help but get that same familiar shiver that I used to experience sitting in the stands back home.
It was then that I was reminded there really isn’t anything better than watching our home team win under the Friday night lights.
Photo: Pete Yee