I joined the online CFL community almost 10 years ago. Shortly after, I had a few people refer to other CFL fans as "our CFL Family". At first, I thought that was a cute way to mean we were together but nothing more than that. Boy was I wrong. The more people I met more I found we were checking in on each other outside of the football season. I found we were having some amazing laughs and playful barbs, but congratulating each other on each other's successes. When I attended the 2014 Grey Cup, I found it truly was like seeing long lost friends….no…more than friends, my "family".
The next year, I started the podcast and my "family" grew exponentially. More people like the same things I do? More people want to follow this great game together? Yes please. It was also how I found my "brother from another Mother", Superfan Mike. He then introduced me to his giant football family and I was welcomed in. It was an amazing feeling to know I had "family" all across the country. (Even Rider and Stamps fans) Over the next three Grey Cup festivals, it continues to grow. Grey Cup week is now the family reunion that everyone looks forward to!
This past January, after an accident that left me with a broken back, there was never more evidence that this is a true family. I immediately received worried messages, messages of encouragement, messages to make me smile, offers to help wherever needed and support from that family. I've had people visit, check in, bring lunch, help with things around the house, chats of football to keep me distracted, and many offers to keep me company both online and in person. This came from every level of this family. My Esks friends, my friends from other teams, my Grey Cup buddies, the Canadian Football Network podcasters, Edmonton media, Esks players, Esks alumni, the Esks president and even the CFL office and Randy Ambrosie himself. It kept surprising me (quite literally with Mr. Ambrosie) how much support and encouragement kept coming and still is, but that is what families do.
So, thank you family. Know that every message, every check in, every visit was not only appreciated but grew my love for this group and this game we are all connected with. It was a huge part in keeping me positive, pushing me forward and generally keeping my sanity. The podcast will return very soon and I can't wait to connect with all of you again.