It’s finally fall folks and you know what that means! It’s time for the 107th battle for the Grey Cup (for the uncultured out there that’s what the winner of the Canadian Football League receives).
As we all know, last night the Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to win the cup for the first time since 1990. Now, it’s not running back Andrew Harris winning both the MVP and Most Valuable Canadian (yes, that’s a real award) nor the final score of 33 to 12 that’s important... what’s important is that one of the Blue Bombers’ biggest fans will wear pants again.
Gaze upon the sight of a man wearing pants for the first time in 18 years.
To understand why this is something worthy of writing about we must travel back to 2001. Enter Chris Matthew, a diehard Blue Bombers fan who owns calves made of adamantium. The 89th Grey Cup was approaching and Matthew’s beloved Bombers were taking on the Calgary Stampeders and were heavily favoured to win. Matthew, cocky as all hell and still rocking shorts in November, made a little bet with his friend—he’d stop wearing shorts when the Bombers hoist the cup.
It was a bad call, bud.
The Stamps upset his team and wouldn’t ya know it, just like his legs, the Bombers went cold. Matthew has been in shorts for 18 years now—though he does make an exception for funerals. Winnipeg is cold as hell so going pantless in a place that routinely is colder than Mars is one hell of a feat (or incredibly foolish). Somehow, Matthew’s wife Darla has stayed by his side throughout this endeavour, although she doesn’t mince words when it comes to describing her husband’s antics.
"We have been walking down the street when it's cold out, and I have a fur coat, and he's in shorts, and people stare. And I just assure them, yes, he's an idiot,” she said to the CBC before her 18-year nightmare of staring at her husband’s calves came to an end.
When the Bombers ended their 29-year long Grey Cupless streak—the streak is impressively long when you remember there are only nine teams in the league—all eyes were on the pantless wonder. Matthew was allowed onto the turf after the win where he, in front of thousands of Canadian football fans, finally hitched up some camouflage pullovers.
Sports fans are a wonderous, goofy population and those adorable traits are only amplified when that fandom is niche (like, say, being a diehard fan of Winnipeg’s CFL team). So I, and really all of us here at VICE, would like to give Matthew and his now covered calves a nice, long salute.
Enjoy the leg warmth buddy, watch out for chafing.
Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter.