Give the ball to Harris.
Give the ball to Andrew Harris!" Those were my thoughts as I watched my very first B.C. Lions game Friday night at B.C. Place in Vancouver, with our oldest son John.
Harris, of course is "ours," the celebrated Vancouver Island Raiders alumni and record-setting Canadian junior football running back. He's worth the price of admission, and become a bona fide star in the Canadian Football League.
I didn't think the Lions gave Harris the ball enough during the 29-26 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but maybe it wouldn't have been enough if quarterback Travis Lulay gave him the ball on every down.
Football is a great game to watch on television, as slowmotion replays demonstrate the precision and skill of the players like nothing else. Watching the game live has other benefits, and the crowd is really into it, so it was a great experience.
One thing that TV can't capture is the sheer brutality of the collisions and tackles. John described the game as watching "a new car accident each week,"and later, observing a receiver haul in a pass only to be hammered in the back an instant later, drew a parallel with hockey by remarking football was "a game full of suicide passes."
That's an apt description. Imagine going up to catch the ball at full speed, knowing from instinct that a millisecond later, someone is going to hit you with such force it could snap your back in two. It sure looked that way. On one play in the second half, Lulay moved back to pass and, just after he released the ball, an onrushing Ticat defender hit him in the midsection, and carried him backwards.
Harris is a big man, but, I had to keep that in mind when comparing him with the size of some of those linemen. The speed and agility they all possess is something to behold.
B.C. Place was very impressive.
I'd only been there once before, years ago, when the Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, and the Montreal Expos (you know it was a long time ago now) stopped by for a weekend of exhibition Major LeagueBaseball games.
The upgraded and renovated B.C. Place is first-class, and there's a massive high definition screen above midfield that shows the action, replays and reactions of the crowds. It was an expensive refit for the downtown Vancouver facility, but it is something befitting of a world class city.
Social infrastructure is an important aspect in the life of any city. If you want to be in the big leagues, you need big league facilities. Kind of why, like others, I yearn for an entertainment and sports Mmultiplex for Nanaimo. That's the kind of replacement facility we need to be talking about, in order to attract major junior hockey and entertainment.
Oops. Back to the CFL. It was a great show, and I'll go back soon.
" Contact managing editor Mark A. MacDonald at 250-729-4224 or email: MaMacDonald @nanaimodailynews.com
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