From Bombers to Bisons

I had it all planned out. Actually, I had the whole thing written: an article highlighting the dismal failures of the 2009 Winnipeg Blue Bombers. It was chock full of delicious puns, devastating burns and hilarious jokes — trust me. I even spent a full paragraph comparing this year’s football squad to an old friend who has fallen on hard times and now calls you late at night after getting kicked out of every dive bar in town. It was going to be great. Then for the first time all season the Bombers went ahead and won two games in a row. Not only that, but they didn’t look too bad doing it either.

After Friday’s game, the Bombers sit at a (semi) respectable 5-8 record and can actually be considered in the mix as far as the playoff picture goes. One thing occurred to me, though, while sitting in the stands last week watching Winnipeg pull ahead of Edmonton on the score sheet. Even fresh off a victory against the Argonauts, this last game against the Eskimos was one of the lowest-attended games since 1999, the lowest in about 10 years. Our CFL team may be capable of stringing together a couple of victories but it’s more than clear that the way the blue and gold have been managed this year has driven some fans away from Canad Inns Stadium. Despite recent wins, many Bomber fans are generally still feeling blue. Ha! I told you I had some puns.

So for all those struggling to decide whether or not to support the current Bomber regime and for all those who at least need a refreshing alternative to the highs and lows of this year’s CFL season I offer you this advice: when it comes to Winnipeg sporting events, you have options. Consider, for example, the U of M’s own Bison Sports program. For as little as $25 you can obtain your very own Bison Sports season pass which gets you access to all varsity sports events for the 2009-10 season, including football, hockey, basketball, volleyball and women’s soccer. If you permit me to shamelessly plug this program some more, it simply doesn’t get much better than this as far as entertainment value is concerned.

Let me put this into perspective. You can go to the theatre, see a movie with a friend, and enjoy some soda and popcorn, or you can see every single home game all school year long for every University of Manitoba sports team. Those two things cost the same price! Imagine if one of our Bison teams ended up doing just as poorly as the Blue Bombers have so far this season. For no money at all you can just shift your attention to one of the many other Bison sports. What can you do if you’re solely a Bomber fan? Watch Grey Cup tapes from the 1980s? Your options may seem limited, but they don’t have to be. Even if you don’t want to turn a cold shoulder to the Blue Bomber organization, a Bison Sports season pass can expand your alternatives for entertainment exponentially without causing so much as a dent to your wallet.

Want an example of some of the action you may currently be missing in the world of Bison Sports? Last Saturday our U of M Bisons football team battled it out with the University of Alberta Golden Bears to earn a well deserved 20-13 victory, evening their record this season to 2-2 in the process. The Bisons compiled nearly 400 offensive yards over the afternoon game but also displayed a strong, stingy defense, picking off passes and limiting the opposition to just one touchdown on the day. For those who could not attend in person, the game was also broadcast, as per usual, on both UMFM 101.5 and on Shaw TV.

To put it simply, if you’re a sports fan there’s simply no good reason not to follow the U of M’s Bison Sports program. It’s not only affordable but it’s also accessible. At a time when optimism for the city’s major sports team generally tops out at just hoping the players don’t embarrass themselves, it’s good to have options.