The daily Bob Hughes column
There are times when Regina is not so much a city as it is a puzzle. Since it was born on the banks of the mighty Wascana, surrounded by blue sky, see forever flat treeless fields of dirt, and called Pile O Bones, the study has been, what to do with it.
It always been the capital city of the province, which gives it a national focus, but nothing of particular lasting interest. At times, it has headquartered some large national business interests, but most of them vanished with the wind. It once had a vibrant downtown that buzzed with people and businesses, where no stores were empty, where everybody would gather on Saturdays to shop and visit. Now, downtown is slowly, painfully becoming a ghost town of empty stores and creaking buildings.
There is always the question from those not familiar with its relaxed and friendly lifestyle, Why does anybody live there? They used to say that the most exciting thing that happened in Regina was to sit at the corner of Hamilton and 11th and watch the dust pile up, while listening to Whistlin Willie the traffic cop scold the jaywalkers. Or for lasting drama, they would say, you could go up on top of the Legislative Building, before they shut it down after people kept trying to jump off it, and watch your dog run away, for three days.
Of course, Regina has its many good sides, it just takes time to appreciate them. It is a place that can be as pleasant to the senses as a walk around Wascana Lake, watching the RCMP sunset ceremony, or the scent of newly mown grass. Spring here is an awakening, the summer mornings can be as soothing as morning coffee, autumn colourfully bracing, the winters can offer days that are pristine. To the outsider, to the rest of Canada, Regina is too cold in the winter, too hot in the summer, too windy all year, and too hard to get in and out of.
But if the city, indeed the province, has ever had an enduring identity tommy hilfiger uk that spans the times and reaches the nation, it has been the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It wasn always upbeat, mind you. It survived years of a talent drought, emerging after the days of Glenn Dobbs, through much of the 1950s and into the 1960s, a time when the Riders were easy pickins for the rest of the Canadian Football League. They were desperate for help.
Enter Ron Lancaster. He came into town with no real fanfare. There was no band to meet him, no police escort, no tour of al tommy hilfiger uk l the best spots in town. He didn even look like a quarterback, let alone a saviour. He looked more like somebody who would meet you at the front door of the Hotel Saskatchewan, and you hand your bags to. He was short, a little chunky, wore a brushcut, but there was something about him that general manager Ken Preston liked.
Preston got Lancaster from the Ottawa Rough Riders in exchange for, some say, a bottle of scotch. Ottawa had to make a decision, get rid of either Canadian Russ Jackson or Lancaster, who had played there for three seasons as both a quarterback and defensive back. It was the best deal the Roughriders have ever made. That was 1963.
All it took for Lancaster to bloom as a quarterback was the appointment in 1965 of Eagle Keys as head coach. He, too, saw something special in Lancaster and gave him his head. Preston shrewdly found the talent to go with him. The rest, as they say, is history.
To Lancaster, football wasn a game of hard flesh slapping against hard flesh. It was chess, a puzzle to be solved. He spent far more time watching, studying game films than he did practising. His idea of a good time was to sit and talk football strategy endlessly with anybody who would listen, or offer advice. To him, defences were a diabolical plot. So, he learned more about them than they themselves knew. He knew what defences were going to do before they knew it themselves. I once watched a game with him in the press box at Taylor Field and he was correctly predicting the defences and then the offensive plays before the ball was even snapped. Lancaster mused, as I figured, you really don know anything about footbal tommy hilfiger uk l. quarterbacked the Riders from 1963 through 1978, never missing the playoffs in his first 13 seasons. He gave the Roughriders super respectability. He put the team on the gridiron map. He backboned what was a dynasty. Five Grey Cup appearances. They won a Grey Cup under him, he was named an all star quarterback numerous times, the league most outstanding player twice, and he became the CFL all time leading passer. He also led the world in interceptions, but only because he never would accept that there existed a defensive back he couldn beat. put guys like Larry Highbaugh in the Hall of Fame, Lancaster laughs. If a defensive back intercepted Lancaster four times, but got beat for the winning touchdown, Lancaster would go home happy, mission accomplished.
His fourth quarter comebacks were of legendary stuff. He was at his best when the Riders were trailing, there was only two minutes to go in the game, fullback George Reed was exhausted, and Lancaster had the ball. This was his kitchen. His office. This seemed to be what he lived for, was born to do. Nobody ever felt safe uttering the words, is running out for the Roughriders. may not have been the greatest quarterback to ever play in the CFL, but he was the smartest, and nobody was more competitive. He was like a shark when he smelled blood, lunging for the jugular. He tracked defences the way a hungry wolf stalks a deer.
Ron Lancaster became the most visible symbol of the little province that could since the Depression of the 1930s, or Tommy Douglas and medicare in the early 1960s, and he dragged the Roughrider franchise with him on the giddiest ride this team has ever taken.
When he retired as a player in 1978, he took over as Saskatchewan head coach and lasted two years before packing it in after back to back 2 14 seasons. He worked for CBC television until 1991 when he took over as head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos. They won a Grey Cup under him tommy hilfiger uk , then he moved to Hamilton in 1998 where he coached the Tiger Cats to a Grey Cup. He has never missed the playoffs as a coach in Edmonton and Hamilton. It figures.
He be in Taylor Field again tonight, 62 years old now but just as enthusiastic as ever, prowling the Hamilton side of the field. There will be times when you will wish you could turn back the clock and go through the gloriest of Rider glory years. It was then that the Riders became permanent fixtures in the mindset of Canadians. will all return next seasonPosted on May 9, 2014Designer missing from opening night SFW lineupPosted on May 9, 2014American Idol: Jessica Meuse sent packing; Jena Irene, Caleb Johnson, Alex Preston form final threePosted on May 8, 2014