Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Stingers fans come, go home happy ~ The Link (Concordia)

Stingers fans come, go home happy

Oh yeah, they're very excited

Sikander Hashmi, The Link

Gray skies and a wet weather forecast didn't discourage fans from attending Saturday's Homecoming football game between the Concordia Stingers and McGill Redmen.

The diverse crowd of 3,719 fought off brisk winds and a steady downpour in the later part of the game to witness the cross-town rivals battle it out for the 36th Shaughnessy Cup at Loyola field.

Among the crowd was Rupert Richards, uncle of Stingers' safety Darnell Danglade. Prior to the game, the excited uncle was expecting his nephew's team to take the game.

"Hopefully, Concordia will take McGill because it's a big rivalry, like always. It's going to be very exciting," said the Laval resident.

The potential storm wasn't going to deter Richards, an eight-year football coach, from cheering on his nephew. He assessed the weather to be great for football.

"This is football; I've played football, coached football in Laval, and this is great, great weather," Richards explained.

Although this was the first time he was attending a football game at Loyola field, Richards thought that the field and the atmosphere were just right.

"I love this field. It seems to have great turf. It's outdoors and not indoors, so it's exciting," he said.

Brian Hughes, a class of '69 Concordia graduate and resident of Port Perry, Ontario, also attended the game. He calls himself a "big Stingers fan" and makes the trip to Montreal every year for the Homecoming Game.

He too liked what he saw of Loyola field: "I've been here twice now since the stadium was renovated. I think the atmosphere is wonderful. The field is beautiful." There was new field-turf installed prior to the start of last year's football season at the stadium.

University and Canadian football aficionado Ian Stevenson wasn't taking sides, but the downtown Montreal resident pegged the Stingers as the better team and was expecting a Concordia win.

He said the renovated field is an improvement: "The atmosphere is much better now. The field itself just brings more people out to the game. It's a great atmosphere here, as it is at McGill." Stevenson often attends games at McGill's stadium as well as at Concordia.

Nine year-old Christian Wright was also rooting for the Stingers. He was asked how he would feel if McGill was to romp over Concordia: "Really, really bad," he replied, as a bee buzzed around his hot dog.

The raindrops weren't going to deter Christian from the game either. He was prepared to tough it out with the aid of a rain jacket.

Stinger fans Connorde Jesus and Adam Freilich, both 11, were attending their first-ever football game. Connorde's mom had just found out about the game and they decided to attend.

When asked if he was excited about the game, Connorde replied: "Oh yeah, I'm very excited!"

Fortunately for excited Stinger fans such as Connorde and Adam, it was worth it to endure the late rain. Richard's expectations and Stevenson's predictions came true as the Stingers went on to buzz by the Redmen, 29-26 in overtime.