Good Night Old Girl: A Farewell to Taylor Field
Published: Friday, Oct 27th 2017, 12:10pm
by Greg McCulloch (@GregOnSports)
***Editors Note: This post was first published a year ago on Greg’s personal blog. Since the final piece of the grandstand is going down today, feels like a good time to repost it. Enjoy.***
Saturday marks the end of an era to the people of Saskatchewan, the final Rider game at Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field (Yes that is indeed the official title). While the Riders will not be the ones shutting off the lights, it will be most people’s final goodbye to the old girl before New Mosaic officially opens next year. Countless people have visited Taylor Field for various events: it has held concerts, stage shows, football games from high school to Junior to Collegiate, movies, and even hosted the Toronto Blue Jays.
My relationship with Taylor Field has been an interesting one…
My first trip to Taylor Field was a game versus the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the early 90s, can’t remember the exact year but I do know 2 things. 1) Don Narcisse was THE MAN, after that game I was his biggest fan. 2) My dad was either given the tickets or won them because there is no way he as a Bomber fan would have paid to drive to Regina to watch the Riders and Ti-Cats.
After that, Taylor Field wasn’t really in my life until my second year at the University of Regina. That year I was elected Sports Editor of “the Carillon”, the U of R’s campus weekly. While it was easy to get someone to cover the Rams in their second season of CIS football, it was near impossible to get anyone take pictures at the games. So, I spent most of that season doing my best photographer impression every other weekend. That assignment landed me my first real press pass and I still have it to this day as a reminder.
My third year I was on the sidelines again but in a much different role. I was the first male cheerleader in U of R history. Long story short, I tried out for the team as a feature for the Carillon, supposedly they were scared I was going to rip them in the piece if they cut me… so they didn’t cut me. Then my buddies started taking bets on how long it would take me to quit. So, at first I was just being stubborn because I was challenged, then I was having fun, then I got to know my future wife and I stayed on the team. (And when I say future wife I mean way down the line… it took 13 years of friendship and several relationships in between before I could con her into walking down the aisle).
While it is easy to point to all the amazing games I have been to like the Blackout Game, the 2007 Labour Day Classic, all the Rams-Huskies rivalry games, the 2003 Grey Cup which landed on my birthday, and obviously, the 2013 Grey Cup Victory. To me, the allure of Taylor Field was never about the building itself, or even the event, but the people I went there with.
It was about the memories, like the “Lee Cherkas fan club” chanting “Throw the guy! Throw the guy!” towards me and my cheer teammates. The Rider game where the mother sitting in front of me and my buddies asked us before the game if we wouldn’t mind watching our language because of her young children, so we spent the entire game yelling things like “Balderdash” and “Poppycock” much to her amusement. Taking both of my kids to their first football games and meeting Gainer. Getting our wedding pictures at Taylor Field so we could get the one at the tunnel where we used to run out onto the field or getting “sacked” by my wife. Watching my son run (well more like waddle) up and down the sidelines having the time of his life while I was playing a touch football game. The game this year where my daughter got to perform halftime on the field “Like mommy and daddy used to do”.
Taylor Field will always have a place in my heart and Saturday will be both a day of celebration and sadness.
Good Night Old Girl. Let’s send you out the right way on Saturday.
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