Elvis Presley’s, A Mess Of Blues
That’s the song I’ve had going through my head since Sunday. It’s not the first song that most will think of when you say, Elvis. After all, it wasn’t one of his biggest hits, it only peaked at number 32 on the charts when it was released in 1960. But when news broke that the Federal Government had denied a 30 Million Dollar loan to the CFL, a move which effectively killed any hope of a Shortened Season, that’s the song that I immediately thought of.
Let me back up a bit. This past Sunday was the 43rd anniversary of Elvis’s death. Being a lifelong fan of his, I already had been reflecting on the king's life, and career, when news broke that the Feds denied the CFL the 30 million dollar loan it was asking for to play a shortened season. It was a very unfortunate coincidence that it was also the day the CFL Season died.
I realize those of you who read a previous article of mine will be confused about the one you’re about to read. As you may remember, I wasn’t a fan of the league asking the Government for financial assistance. History has proven that no good can come from asking any Government for help, and I do stand by that belief, but upon some further thinking on the subject, I must admit, maybe, just maybe, Government assistance would have been warranted.
Let’s start with the economic benefit a CFL team, or any sports franchise can generate in the cities they are based in. A 10 Game pre-season and regular season schedule can have a very positive effect on numerous businesses in the retail, and service industries. That’s not taking into account when said city hosts the Grey Cup, then we can assume those benefits can very likely rise exponentially! I’m no Economic professor or mathematician, but if you tried to put a dollar value on what the average CFL franchise has done for its host city’s economy, I suspect the number would be quite staggering! 30 Million Dollars would be a very small price to pay! And if the economic stimulus argument didn’t work on our policymakers, we should remind them of all the tax revenue that’s generated because of it.
My next point is political. I know that this is a sports blog, and I really don’t want to get too political, but the league did Cross that line when it approached the Feds for help, so please indulge me. If the current Government was willing to give a charity nearly one billion dollars to run a scholarship program, which should have been run by the Government in the first place, why couldn’t it loan a Canadian institution like the CFL 30 million? There may have been some extenuating circumstances to why the loan was denied, I get it, but, from where I’m sitting, I just don’t see the logic.
Randy Ambrosie and the BOGs are not entirely blameless in the whole ordeal. Their lack of leadership and procrastination didn’t help the matter. From the commissioner’s ill-fated appearance in front of the Parliamentary Finance Committee in May to their shabby treatment of the players union, I can't help but think their chances would have been much improved if they could have presented a better prepared, and more united front.
The reality is now that for the first time since World War One there will not be a football season in Canada. To put that into perspective, that was a century ago! In that time Canadian sports Fans have followed the exploits of teams such as Toronto Argonauts, Sarnia Imperials, and the Regina Roughriders, providing a welcome distraction from events like the great depression, World War 2, and September 11th, just to name a few. Who would have thought it would take something as small as a Microscopic Virus to stop them dead in their tracks.
A Mess of Blues indeed.