Stories From Section X: The Herd Visits Toronto

The alarm goes off. It's 3:45 AM. Katherine and I wake up groggy in Edmonton, with a 6:00 AM red-eye flight to Toronto so we can watch the Edmonton Elks play against the Toronto Argonauts in the Big Smoke, on an eventful Friday Night that included the Toronto Argonauts 150th Anniversary Celeberation which, wasn't planned.

   What was planned, however, was this trip to Toronto for Kathy and I. For two years we've been trying to watch the Elks play the Argos at BMO Field, as we had planned and proceeded with this exact trip two years ago when the Elks were scheduled to play against the Argonauts. The 2021 Elks managed to contract COVID right before the game and as we know, flights and hotels aren't exactly easy to cancel, so back then we went on the trip anyways and caught the Blue Jays game instead which, it's fun and all, but it's not quite the football game we really wanted to see.

   Fast forward to October 6th, 2023 at 6 AM, Kathy and I boarded a flight to Toronto to finally watch our team on the road. With our jerseys on and eyes barely open, we made it to our destination and exited Pearson Airport to find our friend and fellow EE fan Brian waiting in his car. We found a Jack Astors in the area, grabbed some quick grub, stumbled across the Cash Cab (?!) and proceeded to BMO Field and more specifically, the Tailgate Party.  

  You see, the "Tailgate Party" was the name of the area where you could find Alumni, a band and cheap booze, but we didn't come to BMO early for a Fan Fest, we came to experience the Tailgate Party that we've been seeing online in the groups and on Twitter. After realizing our mistake, we walked over to an area of vehicles, specifically one with an Elks flag. There we would find The Turf District's Kayla, GingerArgo and a plethora of hard-core CFL fans. We walked in and tried to introduce ourselves but everyone knew who we were already, making the introductions that much easier. From Podcasters to folks that we interact with on X and other platforms, we honestly felt like mini celebrities which was a very new experience for us. We make content and interact with all CFL fans not knowing if we'll ever meet or interact. We're extremely welcoming at our own EE Tailgate but we didn't know what it was like elsewhere, so this experience for us was very cool.

   After enjoying some conversations, beverages and smoked chicken, we linked up with our friends that traveled from various parts of the GTA to join us. Our friend Brock is a major Argonauts tailgater and season ticket holder so, it was great seeing him along with our other friends. From there, we watched the Elks get whooped. And I mean WHOOPED. Aside from a slick Tre Ford scramble that resulted in a Gavin Cobb touchdown, the game was a wash for the Elks. I love the team and we showed our pride all day long, but we expected a loss and boy howdy, was that a loss. The defense fell apart in the second half, the offense couldn't string together a drive, and the run game was non-existent.

   In the second half, we tried to find Friend of The Herd, Argonauts PA Announcer Adam Gosse, for a tour of the booth, but Katherine couldn't hear me and instead I ran into Argonauts legend Pinball Clemons, making the run-in a fair consolation to the PA Booth view. After the game, Adam scored our group a reservation at Local Pub and Eatery and we all talked about our adult lives and enjoyed a beverage or two (Thanks Adam!).  

  Despite some rowdy fans that were unsportsman-like in Section 112 or 113, one of the two, 99% of Toronto Argonauts fans were fantastic and showed us a great time. The night ended with a long drive back to Kitchener for a much-needed slumber, great memories in hand and head. Thanks to the great folks in Toronto, and we can't wait to see you all again!

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