Mark Twain, that cowardly liar who would not even use his real name in public, is reputed to have said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes.” He was talking about the calamity that unfolded on Wednesday in Regina.

Team Alberta and Team Quebec squared off against each other in the U18 Canada Cup football tournament semifinal game on Wednesday afternoon.  With Team Alberta leading Team Quebec 11-9 with a few seconds left in the game, Team Quebec lined up for a field goal in the hopes that they could kick a walk-off 3-point game winner.  Team Alberta had different plans and blocked the kick, sending the entire team onto the field in celebratory jubilation. 

But something was wrong.

The referees huddled in the middle of the field. What were they talking about?

As it turned out, Alberta was called for what appeared to be objectionable conduct because, following the blocked kick, the entire team came on to the field to celebrate before the game was over.  The ref’s mic was not working, so the only reason I know the penalty was not “too many men” is because I reside in Riderville and I know the signal for too many men. (Just kill me.)

Technically, and correctly, the game does not end on the blocked field goal.  The game ends when one of the teams recovers the ball. 

With about 40 players on the field (and maybe some of the coaches) while the game was still taking place (for those keeping track at home, only 12 players from each team are allowed on the field while the game is being played), the refs had no choice but to call a penalty on Alberta.

Football games cannot end on a penalty, so Quebec lined up for another field goal, this time ten yards closer, with zeros on the clock.  Their strong and reliable field goal kicker hammered the ball through the uprights and the game ended 12-11 for Team Quebec.

Team Quebec won fair and square, but football is a cruel and unforgiving sport.  The football gods appear to favour teams from Quebec, at least when it comes to freak once-in-a-lifetime plays at the end of important games.

Alberta didn’t deserve the ending they got, but like Clint Eastwood said:  Deserves got nothing to do with it.

Quebec is off to play Ontario for the Canadian U18 championship this Sunday. Team Alberta plays Team Saskatchewan for the bronze.

Hickory dickory dock

No time was left on the clock

A flag was thrown

It caused a groan

Alberta was left in a shock

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