I am unable to take any credit for what follows. This is an email received from our good friends Curtis & Heather Parker.
Even though we are in Calgary, we are still trying to keep our Saskatchewan heritage alive in our family. In particular, this includes our allegiance to the Roughriders. As parents we have ensured that our 7 and 4 year old children have a deep understanding and knowledge about what is important in this regard. For example, like knowing which division the Roughriders, and all of its opponents, are in and what the current standings are. Of course, this is helpful when faced with the inevitable task of figuring out which other teams need to win to give Saskatchewan a mathematical chance of making the playoffs!
However, there is one simple truth that has no relevance to the standings. We never cheer for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers – ever. Even if the season lay in the balance, and our only hope was that Winnipeg defeat some other team, we would not utter even the feeblest of cheers for a Blue Bomber win. And that is why the annual Labour Day game between the Green/White and the Blue/Gold takes on such special meaning. While we cannot make it to Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field this year, we have been anticipating this game for weeks now. The children know the start time and they will be decorating the family room with flags and pom-poms.
Some would say that we are imposing our will and have been forcing our kids to believe as we do, without any freedom to make their own decisions. This couldn’t be further from the truth, though. In our house, everyone has the freedom to cheer for someone other than the Roughriders – even the Blue Bombers! (However, they do that knowing that they will have to sleep in the shed with small rations of bread and water for a week if they choose that option).
A recent incident around the dinner table did cause me to re-think our nurturing of this Rider Pride, though. Our family was talking about how excited we were about the upcoming labour day football game between the Roughriders and Blue Bombers. I explained to the kids that there are other labour games too, like Calgary vs. Edmonton and Toronto vs Hamiton. We talked about how the Labour Day weekend kicks off this new season, when school and other activities begin, the leaves begin to turn, and harvest is underway. And then Noah stepped in to the middle of this conversation and said “Mom…I bet that people who are not Christians…” There was a pause and Heather said “yes Noah, what?” He started all over and said, “Mom, I bet that people who are not Christians – cheer for the Blue Bombers.”
After his mom and dad laughed hysterically for a few minutes, I contemplated what had just taken place. On one hand ,it was a proud moment for me as a father, in that I saw that he had internalized the concept that we had been trying to teach from birth (Riders – good; Blue Bombers – evil). On the other hand, I realized that we have some work to do to continue our teaching about sin, grace, redemption – and the Truth – that even Blue Bomber fans can be saved!
Thinking of you all today. Go Riders Go!