I am trying to piece together the weekend on Monday morning at the airport.  Speaking of the airport, the Winnipeg Airport no longer looks like a bus station.  Very nice.  This was a sign of things to come.  Winnipeg still looks like Detroit, but they are pushing a lot of fairly avant garde architecture typified by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Alt Hotel downtown.  However, these buildings are surrounded by defunct barber shops, sketchy-looking restaurants, and those weird downtown stores that are filled with bizarre products that bear no relationship to each other like cheap T-shirts with things like “I’m with Stupid” (which never gets old), expired soft drinks, Nazi flags, off-brand toilet cleaner, plastic Halloween masks, balloons and crappy children’s toys manufactured by Chinese companies that have odd ideas about what Western children would want to play with.  I’ve never seen anyone go in or out of these stores, but they seem to flourish like weeds in the cracks of pavement.  The overall the effect is a little discombobulating.

Anyway, enough with the serious stuff.

I arrived at around 4 o’clock on Thursday and headed to the magnificent Place Louis Riel.  Judging from its condition and the on-line comments from TripAdvisor, this place has been under some kind of endless refurbishment that does not look like it will be concluding any time soon.  The signs posted everywhere apologising for the construction look like they were put up sometime during the Mulroney Government.

The rooms were nice enough although there were not enough glasses for booze, so some of the guys had to drink rye and coke out of coffee cups.  Worse yet, the hotel delivered ice to our room in a plastic Safeway bag.  We managed, but it was an ordeal.

On the first night of Grey Cup, everyone coagulated over at my room since it was the largest and had the most central location.  An unusual incident took place.  I was texting my friends to hurry up and get over to our hotel room to drink.  Eventually my texts devolved (as they always do) into an endless line of the word “Hey” until someone texts back.  Suddenly, there was a knock at my door and someone saying “Hey! Hey!” outside.

I swung the door open and said something like “About time!” and, standing in front of me, was Calgary Stampeder Head Coach and GM John Hufnagel.  He apologized for knocking at the wrong door and wandered away.  His friend started laughing at him and told me I should punch Coach Hufnagel’s lights out.  Those were his words exactly:  “punch his lights out.”  Geez, with friends like these, who needs enemies?

Two of my friends, Jay and Rolland, had arrived in Winnipeg on Wednesday.  They visited Louis Riel’s grave site and then apparently started drinking non-stop from that moment forward.  I’m not sure if those two things are connected.  Obviously, they had already been drinking for a few hours before I called them over to my room on Thursday evening.  The ramifications of this fateful decision would become manifest in a few hours.

Two more guys, Joe and Dan, arrived late with one six-pack each, so they had to more or less shotgun every one of their beers so that we could head out to the bar.  The ramifications of this fateful decision would also become manifest in a few hours.

My friend Ron had arrived a few hours before everyone else, and he partook in the consumption of alcohol in a more or less reasonable manner, which has always been his modus operandi.  I believe that is the only reason he is ever punctual: so that he can drink in a more or less reasonable manner. If there is no alcohol involved, he is either late or will not show up at all.

A quick further word on Ron.  For some reason, presumably related to some kind of latent instinctual Neanderthal need to mark one’s territory, Ron usually uses the bathroom in my hotel room sooner than I use it, and not for a casual purpose.  These are usually the kinds of epic deposits which set off alarm bells at the city sewage treatment facilities.  This time I refused to allow him use of the bathroom whatsoever until I had used it and then showered up.  After I had established dominance, at least for a few hours, I relented following his consumption of a few drinks.  However, at this point, the danger had passed.

We decided that we would start the weekend off at The Palomino, a bar on Portage that has existed since at least 1990.  In 2015, it seemed to have fallen on hard times.  We should have known something was up when our taxi driver was fairly sure the place had closed down years ago.  As we pulled up, it appeared from all outward indications as if he was correct.  However, one of us detected some lights on in the building so we made the fateful decision to enter the premises.

I should note that this bar has never been particularly good, at least for me.  My most interesting story took place in 1990.  I was standing by the fire exit.  A bouncer walked up to me and said I had to move because I was blocking the fire exit.  That made no sense to me since, if there was a fire, I was not going to insist upon standing in front of the fire exit while people tried to clamor past me.  I told him that I wanted to be the first person out if there was a fire. He responded by ignoring that completely sensible statement and told me I had to move.  So yeah.  That was my most interesting story about this place.

Anyway, back to November 26, 2015, there were about five patrons, but The Palomino still had the temerity to charge a mandatory $2.50 coat check and a $5.00 cover.  We paid because we were already drunk.  And our taxi had pulled away in a manner similar to a bank robbery getaway car. (And what is with Winnipeg and these mandatory coat checks?  More on that below.)

Things were so bad at The Palomino, we actually played pool.  None of us had played pool in years but it seemed like the thing to do since it was the only thing to do in this place.  The fact that the place even had a pool table should have told us something, unless we had unknowingly been transported back in time to 1997, and if we had, I want to know why I was still so damn fat.  Surprisingly, our first games were against a series of girls who were probably equally desperate for something to do.  So desperate, in fact, that they would lower themselves to playing pool with a bunch of old men.

In general I have a big mouth and I like to trash talk while playing pool despite the fact that I am a terrible pool player and I get worst when I’m drinking.  I’m also a terrible trash talker; mostly just a lot of yelling and screaming.  Anyway, I may have overdone it since I believe the girls we played all left angry.  I don’t mean they stopped playing pool; they actually left the building, they were so mad.  We even ran into two sisters who graduated from the same high school as me, but that did not buy them any goodwill from me.  I suspect I ruined their entire weekend.

I have a tendency to scratch a lot, given my reckless playing style, so some of these girls got a measure of revenge due to several fairly asinine 8-ball scratches. Ron was not impressed; he takes this stuff way too seriously.

By around 11:30 two things were developing.  First, the word was out to stay the hell away from the pool table since there was a loud guy hectoring women about their pool playing, and second, our friend Rolland was bombed.  He had insisted that he take over for me at the table.  I think everyone agreed that someone needed to take the stick out of my hand since the cue ball was literally flying off the table (I like to play with emphasis; it produces the occasional spectacular shot, but mostly a lot of noise and plenty of attention from the bouncers).  However, Rolland’s decision to get involved meant that he felt the need to take off his shirt.  Rolland is built like a football.  Not a football player. A football. Anyway, we managed to get him to put his shirt on again, but the damage to our collective psyches was already done. Moving on….

After about a half hour of some of the worst pool playing in history, if it could be called playing pool at all, and at the point that some people were starting to wish the drunk loudmouth would come back to knock the balls off the table, Rolland began to slowly shut down as the alcohol overwhelmed him.  I am nothing if not a good friend so naturally I just ignored him and he slunk off to a corner couch to mutter to himself.

It was after midnight and Rolland was only technically conscious.  The place had filled up with maybe 30 people but the band was on fire.  Their lead guitarist was shredding it, whatever that means.  They were really good.  There was a small group of women who were with the band, so to speak, and then a smattering of Montreal and Hamilton fans.  This crowd was unworthy of this band’s talent and effort.  Rolland missed all of this.

Jay finally took pity on Rolland, but only, I suspect, because they were staying at the same hotel in the same room.  I was only marginally paying attention as Jay helped Rolland shuffle out of the bar looking like a 85 year old man.  My attention and amusement was piqued twice, once when Rolland stopped to puke on the bar floor, and then again, when he puked again, this time nearer to the exit.  Puking is always an effective way to clear a path to the door.  Jay and Rolland then departed into the night.  More on them later.

Joe and Dan were in their own alcohol-related trouble.  As noted earlier herein, both had slammed back about six beers before being bum-rushed out of my hotel room so we could “beat” the lineup at The Palomino.  As noted above, that turned out to be unnecessary since the lineup at The Palomino had already been beaten so bad, it was gone.

(Quick note:  On the elevator up to my room when I first arrived at my hotel that night, a very rough looking drunk 65 year old male from Toronto (he pointedly told me he was 65; that’s how I know) first berated me for the Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum I picked up on the way over to the hotel (“That stuff’s for girls!” he announced.) and then he told me he had been to The Palomino the night before and it had been dead, so I should immediately depart with him to the Spirit of Edmonton.  He was correct on both counts and I should listen to my elders, even when they are drunk and wearing a stained Rocket-Ismail-era Argo shirt.)

Anyway, back to Joe and Dan.  They were incoherently drunk at this point and were trying to impart advice about something in between buying drinks that none of us wanted or needed.  Unlike Rolland, they still had some of the higher brain functions necessary to understand it was, for them, time to leave.  In hindsight (and foresight, and any kind of sight whatsoever), it had been a bad idea to drink six beer in quick order and then start drinking heavily at a bar where there is nothing else to do.  So they left, leaving Ron and I at the bar with the remaining dwindling patrons.

I later learned that Joe had thrown up a bunch of times at the house he was staying at after arriving home from the bar.  We are all getting too old for this.

The evening ended rather un-dramatically for me.  Ron ran into some associates and began talking business.  I believe I may have insulted them, although they took it well.  Ron has an enormous capacity for alcohol and never appears drunk unless he wants to appear drunk (usually to get out of doing something), so he was able to instantly switch from drunken buffoon to respectable member of the legal community.  This kind of normal human interaction is boring for me so I grabbed a cab and was back at my room by around 2:30.

I woke up Friday morning inexplicably surprised at how hung over I was.  I realized that, last night, I had not engaged in my pre-bed-time-post-drinking process of overloading on water and taking six aspirin.  In fact, I had declined to take my clothes or shoes off and had merely collapsed on my bed face down.  I don’t even know how I got my jacket off.  My memory at this point is a little fuzzy but I resumed normal brain functions in the early afternoon when I found myself at the Prairie 360 Restaurant for lunch with Jay and Rolland.

Prairie 360 sounds like some kind of sex act involving at least three people, as in “A couple of girls came over to my tent after the concert last night and we had a Prairie 360.”  A Prairie 360 could also be a really long poop, the kind that curls around in a circle in the toilet bowl:  “I must have eaten five burgers last night, and this morning I had a major Prairie 360.” I just stepped over the line there, didn’t I?  Damn.

The, um, Prairie 360 restaurant is located at the top of a building that is attached to, and may be, somehow, affiliated with the Fort Garry Hotel.  By the way the staff at the Fort Garry continuously assured us that the only way into the 360 restaurant was to first immediately leave the Fort Garry Hotel, I am not sure.  Anyway, this restaurant slowly revolves, which is just a terrible idea when you are trying to recover from a hangover.  Terrible choice; I just can’t stress that enough. Terrible.

However, the food was excellent and I am happy to report no gastrointestinal incidents.  No Prairie 360s.

The most interesting aspect of this otherwise pleasant pause in our weekend was the news that Jay and Rolland had had quite an adventure the night before after leaving The Palomino.  I will recite what happened, based upon what Jay told me, as well as I can.  Rolland has no memory of any of it.

As the reader will recall, I was able to get a cab from The Palomino without incident.  Jay and Rolland, as it turned out, had taken a frigid and harrowing journey down Portage.  You see, upon exiting The Palomino, Rolland had continued to vomit, and his legs had also stopped working.  Hence, as each cab pulled up, they saw Rolland’s condition, rolling around on the ground in his own vomit, and respectfully declined to accept him as a passenger.  Understandably, the idea of having to clean up barf in one’s workplace for a lousy $20 cab fare was not an attractive one.  Several cabs pulled up, took a look, and pulled away.

Jay and Rolland began the long trek from The Palomino to their hotel, the Hotel Royal Plaza, which, if you know anything about Winnipeg, is a long way.  The Hotel Royal Plaza is in the middle of the Downtown.  The Palomino is not.

During the journey, Rolland was unable to stand, and he spent much of his time on the ground.  At one point he was on the ground for 20 minutes dry-heaving.  Jay estimates that Rolland finally puked up some watery substance about the size of a “small pancake.”  While Rolland was on the ground for one of his extended stays, a police car pulled up with two members of the Winnipeg Police Service.  They asked if Rolland, lying on the ground groaning, was okay.  Jay told them he was just drunk and they were welcome to take custody of him.  They declined, likely as enthusiastic about having some guy get sick in their patrol car as the taxi drivers who had taken a pass.  The police left Jay with Rolland, still lying on the ground.

Eventually Jay and Rolland got moving, but Rolland became motivated to punch bus stop benches and traffic signs.  Jay, as he is wont to do, encouraged Rolland since it helped to keep Rolland upright and moving, and Jay is, generally speaking, a bit of a shit-disturber who enjoys provoking problems for his own amusement.

As Jay came into sight of The Bay downtown, he was approached by four young individuals who, after quietly talking among themselves for a few minutes, asked Jay if he had any smokes.  Jay did not.  These young people then fell in behind Jay and Rolland and assumed the casual and patient demeanor of vultures.  Jay, sensing an opportunity rather than potentially the last moment of his life, asked the four young men if they might be willing to help carry Rolland, who had returned to his more phlegmatic and less upright orientation. Surprisingly, these perhaps unintentional good Samaritans took over the heavy lifting and, very quickly, Rolland and Jay were back at their hotel room

Oddly (at least I think this is odd), Jay invited the four young people into the hotel room, where they simply hung around for about ten minutes.  Jay suggested to Rolland, who was lying on the floor between the bed and the dresser, that he pay the helpful individuals for their trouble.  Rolland dug out an entire five dollar bill and the evening ended peaceably, if not a little weirdly.

So returning to our pleasant afternoon at the Prairie 360 as it spun wildly around (at least, that’s how it felt), we decided that it might be fun to go the courthouse since Jay and I had worked there about 25 years ago.  Also, a friend of ours with whom we had worked was in court pleading out one of his exemplary young clients.  I won’t go into details but I’ll just say that kids these days spend their free time more or less the same way I did, except I never got charged with anything.  My mom knows what I’m talking about.  As it turned out, an added bonus was that the judge was a woman with whom we had all gone to school.  It would have been a delightful reunion had we (Jay, me and Rolland) not felt so nauseated the whole time.  (By the way, I would normally have used the word “nauseous” instead of “nauseated”, but I recently learned that this use of the word “nauseous” is controversial, and I don’t want to start any fist-fights among my highly literate readers.)

After court was done, our friend had another thing to attend to so we left him to wander around the Great Library and eventually found ourselves at one of the many, many, many, many food courts in downtown Winnipeg. (What the hell is it with all your downtown food courts, Winnipeg?  Chrissakes.) The thought of food made us all ill so we retired for a few hours to our respective hotel rooms.

That evening, I went over to the hotel at which Jay and Rolland were staying, the rather misleadingly-named Hotel Royal Plaza.  This hotel is the subject of another separate rant here at Discombobulated.  Long story short, I had stayed at this place at the last Winnipeg Grey Cup when it was known as the Gordon Downtowner.  I was not going to stay there again, ever, regardless of the fact that the new owners cleaned the place up.  Jay and Rolland have no class, no self-respect and no sense of self-preservation, so they decided to return to this, uh, place.

By around 8 o’clock, I had been drinking alone in my own room for about three hours, like all well-adjusted humans, so as I said, I headed over to Jay and Rolland at the Hotel Royal Plaza.  Jay and Rolland had also been drinking for several hours in their hotel room.  Sometimes it feels like Grey Cup is really just about sitting in your hotel room for hours drinking, largely because Grey Cup is mostly about sitting in your hotel room for hours drinking.  I’m not complaining.  I hate interacting with other humans.

On my way over, I passed the MTS Centre, where I thought the Sheepdogs were playing.  (The Sheepdogs are a band, but a Canadian band, so you would be excused for not knowing who they are.) My friends Joe and Dan were attending that Grey Cup concert.  I was impressed with the number of young people attending this concert and thought that the CFL must be doing a better job at attracting the kids.  I also saw a lot of young ladies wearing clothes that were completely inappropriate for the weather.  I thought that the CFL must be doing a hell of a job attracting young girls with an affinity for high heels, spandex bandage skirts and tight jeans.  I later discovered that The Weeknd was playing at the MTS and these young people were not here for any Grey Cup event at all.  Boo CFL.

Anyway, the Hotel Royal Plaza is run by what looks like an extremely large and extremely nice Pakistani family.  It resembles the hotel you would find in a movie about two guys on the run from Mexican gun runners in a small Tijuana-like border town, except if it was set in downtown Winnipeg and they weren’t smuggling illegal guns but illegal perogies.  I don’t know what else to tell you.

So anyway, after about a half hour or so of insipid conversation and more drinking, the three of us caught a cab to the Spirit of Edmonton.  As I have indicated elsewhere here at Discombobulated, Spirit of Edmonton is the best Grey Cup hospitality room.  I wandered in and immediately said hello to all the regulars; the people whom I do not really know but I know them strictly because we see each other once a year at the Spirit of Edmonton.  Then we began drinking in earnest.  By the end of the evening, I literally could not talk properly, so it was a good thing I said my “hellos” at the beginning of the evening.

(Quick note:  The guy who sings Sweet Caroline at the end of each evening at Spirit of Edmonton, who I said in a previous post here at Discombobulated looked like Roger Lodge, looks nothing like Roger Lodge.  I made a point of looking at him up close.  It probably made him a little uncomfortable, but I’ve got a job to do here.)

As always, we (Jay, Rolland and I) were among the last individuals to leave the Spirit of Edmonton.  Cab service was okay, but we still had to wait out front.  In order to keep myself amused, I removed the hotel’s big Grey Cup lobby sign and tripod and placed it into the street outside.  In retrospect this was not funny but merely dumb, much like everything I do.  If they ever do a movie retrospective about my life, it would be called Not Funny; Merely Dumb.  Anyway, hotel staff pleasantly but firmly retrieved it from me, and now they have a story about the dumb guy who thought it was funny to move their sign out into the street for no reason.

A pizza delivery guy drove up and was upset that someone at the hotel had ordered a pizza but then refused it, or something, so I bought the pizza from him for $20 and passed out the pieces to the dwindling crowd of people waiting for cabs.  I am very community-minded when I am drunk.  When I am sober, it’s every man for himself.  In retrospect, I am not entirely sure the pizza guy was angry about anything.  I think he was merely delivering a pizza and I intercepted it.

The next day (Saturday) started out bright and early at 12:30 with a trip to a local deli for lunch.  I did not want what this deli was serving so I bade my friends goodbye and went looking for a steak.

I first went to the downtown Keg.  I walked in and was immediately met with the sight of two RCMP in red serge, CFL signs everywhere, and a bunch of well-dressed people.  Well-dressed people at Grey Cup can mean only one thing: they’re lost.  Just joking. It means some mucky-mucks have gathered together to have fun away from the regular CFL trash who must pay a cover charge.  Naturally, I was denied entrance.

As I walked out, I almost tripped over CFL Commissioner and former champion jockey Jeffrey Orridge talking on his cellphone.  He was profusely apologising to what I assume was his wife for some thing.  Who knows.  Probably for taking the CFL Commissioner job in the first place.

Denied service at The Keg, I headed to Hy’s.  Hy’s was closed.  I walked across the street to an old-school restaurant called Bailey’s, which describes itself as a “Posh institution for refined steak meals.”  Perhaps a little oddly worded but I won’t argue.  It looked like it had probably been a private club back in the day.  Lots of oak panelling, reds and browns.  Carpet needed to be replaced.  Half the lights seemed to be broken.  I liked it.  I grabbed a seat in front of a TV, ordered a steak and watched the Vanier Cup.  The place was filled to maybe one-quarter capacity by a bunch of guys.  One guy had a lot to say about gluten-free beer.  He was really enthusiastic.  And loud.  Near the end of the game, an older gentleman sat down near me who clearly thought I wouldn’t notice that he was passing some pretty serious gas.  Thank god I had finished my steak.

After the Vanier Cup ended with what I consider a surprising UBC victory, I then joined my two friends Joe and Dan at The Elephant and Castle in the Delta Hotel.  We conducted a fairly civilized conversation which started to bore me to death at the 30-second mark, so I began to order shots.  Eventually, after Jay and Rolland concurred via text, we decided to get tickets to the Loverboy concert that night.

A few hours later, we were on the floor of the MTS Centre listening to a rotund but game Mike Reno (who frankly looks like an elderly housewife with that bandana and blouse) knock us all dead with a pretty amazing set.  I felt simultaneously old and young as Loverboy started the concert by pounding out Notorious.  I also felt simultaneously drunk and drunker as I pounded down endless rye and cokes.  Did you know they will not let you drink straight rye at the MTS Centre?  Some committee apparently concluded that it will slow us down if they force us to have some coke with the rye.  Well, it most certainly did not slow us down, so the joke’s on them.  Or me.  I’m not sure who gets the last laugh on that one.

After Loverboy was over, we dashed over to Riderville.  There were “MANDATORY $2.00 COAT CHECK” signs all over the Winnipeg Convention Centre.  I am not sure why they are so jacked up about getting their hands on our coats.  This seemed to be a really important thing to management.  As I am typing this, I cannot honestly recall retrieving my coat from the coat check.  Whatever.  I got plenty of coats at home, but only a limited amount of self-respect, so I will not be calling them to see if I left my coat there.  They can have it.

Riderville, I must say, does a hell of a job.  They have a really good band that plays right to the final second the place is open, and I have to believe they are breaking the local liquor laws with the very casual observance of any cut off for alcohol service.  I had a very good time.  My friend Joe is a real man about town, even when the town is Winnipeg, so he seemed to know half the place.  At least he acted like he did, and no one ever seemed to mind if he didn’t.

I also stopped in at the Atlantic Schooner Kitchen Party; at least that’s what I thought it was.  There was no cover, no security, the food seemed to be all over the floor, the bar appeared to have been looted and the staff looked drunker than the guests.  I am assuming that was all part of the “kitchen party” theme.  The band had a bagpipe player in it.  Everyone was having a great time.  I left.  I hate good times. And bagpipes.

It is always fun to watch the end of Saturday night when the few remaining women are swarmed by guys.  Grey Cup does not attract very many women in the first place, and the ones who are left at the end of the evening are subjected to a real mauling.  Nothing physical, mind you.  Just a lot of dumb comments, sudden interest in their shoes and attempts to make eye contact.  The ladies seem to take it well.  Men are idiots.

Game day Sunday arrived at around noon.  Jay, Rolland and I agreed to meet at The Forks.  I had some interest in going to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights but that interest passed (thank god).  We wandered around The Forks looking for the Ukrainian food stall Jay had researched before coming to Winnipeg (he does restaurant research for Grey Cup; I know– what an asshole).

As it turned out, the lady who had run the well-researched Ukrainian food place had just retired and was replaced by, apparently, a 14-year old Pilipino girl and some Millennial-looking guy in his 20s.  They were making perogies with some kind of plastic device (!?) and the signs all touted the organic and locally-grown-ingredient bona fides of the new management.  They were even bragging that their sausages had no nitrates in them.  Who wants sausages with no nitrates?  Nitrates are what makes sausage taste like sausage.  Otherwise it’s just a rubber tube filled with repulsive meat.  Jay hit the Fish ‘n Chips place.  I still had some perogies and rubber meat tubes, but I could taste the no nitrates. NOT good.

We took a cab to Investors Field.  We always leave it up to Jay to buy the game tickets and he is one cheap bastard, so we had seats that were literally located outside of the stadium in the crazy temporary stands.  And they were obstructed view seats!  And the stadium had not bothered to turn on the speakers that were hanging nearby, so we heard virtually nothing (no anthem, no announcements, no Rod Black trying to sound dramatic).  Since we were technically in North Dakota, the game itself was more of a rumour.

Rolland wandered away to the “Rum Hut” and somehow managed to find some good seats near the playing field.  Jay joined him at one point.  I strolled around the stadium and watched the game from various spots along the main mezzanine where they sold beer and food (including sausages with nitrates; I believe they were call “Chock-Full-O-Nitrates! Fuck Yer Colon!”).

A quick note on half time.  Terrible idea to put the band up on one side.  This isolates the band from too much of the audience.  And as far as I could tell, none of the speakers towed onto the field were operating.  The fireworks were far louder than the band, and if the band was not playing loud, it sounded like they had stopped, leading to the occasional smattering of confused applause.  This still beats the last Winnipeg Grey Cup half time show when they had Love Inc.  That “show” consisted of two dancers standing alone in front of two microphones in the middle of the field, lip-synching “You’re a Superstar” before a distant and indifferent audience. For next time, Winnipeg, just have those two jets fly back and forth for twenty minutes.  That was awe-some. (Maybe strafe the visitor’s bench or the TSN desk.)

I was indifferent as to the Grey Cup game itself this year.  I hate the Edmonton Eskimos for the same reason everyone else hates them.  I hate Ottawa because 1976.

When the game was over, we left and caught a bus back to Manitoba.  Jay stole a sign from Investors Field; petty vandalism was really all he had the energy for at that point.  I’ll give him points for trying but I am otherwise apathetic.

Downtown Winnipeg was dead after the game.  The host city is always dead after the Grey Cup game is over, but for a few isolated pockets of revelers.  The most excitement I have ever seen downtown after a Grey Cup game was a) a Baltimore Stallion hotel room a couple of years after the team had already folded, b) a Dash Tours-sponsored after-game party that we were barred from for reasons I am too tired to explain, and c) riding up an elevator with three members of the Toronto Argonauts after the 1997 Grey Cup while they were carrying the Grey Cup itself.  Actually, that was more uncomfortable than exciting, given that we were all dressed in Rider gear, and we all know how that game went.

This does not include Regina after the 2013 Grey Cup, which resembled Benghazi during the 2012 attack on the US Embassy.

Okay, anyway, Jay, Rolland and I had a bite to eat at a quiet hotel bar while watching the Patriots lose to the Broncos in overtime as several downtrodden members of the Ottawa Redblacks appeared to be making winter vacation plans with their girlfriends.  Then Jay and Rolland came over to my hotel room briefly to pick up the left-over alcohol.  I watched them slink away down the hotel hall, and that officially concluded the festivities for me.

I called the front desk for a 8:45 wake-up call because I don’t know how to use my cell alarm.  By 9 o’clock the next morning, I assumed they had forgotten to call me.  No matter.  I was at the airport by 10 o’clock.

And now I sit here, on my way back to civilization.  Grey Cup 2015 is in the books.  And I see here that the Roughriders are already trying to rob the Edmonton Eskimos of Head Coach Chris Jones.  I hate that guy, but I could get used to him.  2016 Grey Cup Champion Saskatchewan Roughriders has a nice ring to it.  Here we come, Toronto.

Thanks for the memories, Winnipeg.

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