OK, maybe not Stella, but there is a certain presence from the Eskimos receiving core that made a huge impact. In case you didn’t watch last Saturday Night’s game vs. the BC Lions (shame, shame, shame….), there was some spectacular plays made by Bryant — oops, sorry about that! Force of habit… let’s try again; made by Adarius Bowman. Yes my friends, Adarius had monumental game and absolutely carried our team to victory. Now of course this is a bit of an exaggeration: the defensive line was dominant, Mike Reilly was Mike Reilly, and we had — uh, other things… but this is about our Adarius Bowman.
I think we all have a soft spot for AD. After all, it’s hard not to like someone with such a genuine and infection smile such as his. But for me, it’s more than that, he set the precedent of dedication: committing to become a Canadian Citizen, embodying our community and our culture, and launching the non-profit organization Adarius 4 Autism, in which he is president. This is a guy who wants to be here, wants to make a home here, start a family here, and be able to call himself a Canadian. There’s way more to AD than a great and talented football player; the charitable, kind and humble guy is the reason I personally cheered like a crazy banshee when he returned to form last Saturday night. As much as I want my other favorite players to succeed, I did not want it at the expense of someone I so revere, especially knowing Adarius still has this extreme, albeit hibernating, talent it in him.
So on that Saturday, I decided to send an encouraging tweet to AD, knowing he probably would not see it before the game. But to my delight, he did. Now, I am not saying that it had any impact at all (in my own fantasy world, it did… a little bit) but he absolutely dominated the receiving line. The chemistry between Mike and him didn’t miss a beat, it was like watching magic unfold; how they picked up like the last several games didn’t happen. I think they knew. They knew this game would be the one to reignite the flame. Despite his struggles since returning from injury, he didn’t stop trying, he didn’t stop practicing, he didn’t stop assisting, he didn’t stop smiling; he just didn’t stop! And that’s Adarius.
But that tweet got me thinking; what if we as fans rallied behind our teams and our players rather than ye ol’ “oh, here we go again; another dropped ball; another disappointing season; another missed opportunity; yadda yadda yadda”. Obviously, criticism is needed to iron out the flaws, but it needs to be constructive. I for one see more whining than I do solutions (seriously people, lighten up or shut up), and that helps no one…. well, maybe your own sad ego.
I knew Adarius could do waaaaay better, and as a CFL leading receiver, we ALL knew. But maybe all he needed was an Empire to rally behind him. May be instead of continuously criticizing, we unite, we devote and show our guys what this Empire is truly about; prove that we ARE #OneEmpire.