The story of Go Argos Go – the Toronto Argonauts Fight Song

Sing along with the bouncing ball! (The lyrics start 30 seconds in to the above video.)

Words and music by Johnny Burt
From the 1968 album CFL Songs, by Dal Richards and his orchestra.

CFL Songs Album IMG 8761

Go, Toronto Argos, Go Go Go!
Pull Together, Fight the Foe Foe Foe!
Scoring touchdowns for the Blue on Blue
The Argos will win for you!

Full of fight and courage you can’t stop
They pile up the points until they reach the top!
Pull Together ’til the Grey Cup’s won!
Go Argos Go Toronto Go! (second time only)
Go Argos Go Go Go!

about this song

Here are some thoughts on “Go Toronto Argos Go Go Go”, inspired by a comment I read that called the fight song ‘ridiculous’ and questioned the lyric “fight the foe”.

  • It’s “Pull Together, Fight the Foe Foe Foe” because it has to rhyme with the previous line, which is “Go Toronto Argos Go Go Go”. 🙂
  • If we sang “Pull Together, Fight the Edmonton Elks” it would neither scan nor rhyme. 🙂
  • Yes, it’s an old-timey song, written by legendary Toronto tunesmith Johnny Burt and recorded by legendary Vancouver bandleader Dal Richards on his seminal 1968 album CFL Songs – but it’s also a link to a previous era.

I happen to know one of the quartet of singers from this album and I can really hear his voice when they play this song at the games. (I did a whole podcast episode about this 20 years ago, I’ll have to dig that up.)

Just like the slogan Pull Together, the Oxford and Cambridge Blue colour scheme, and even the name Argonauts, the ritual playing and (I hope) singing of this song reminds us of the long history this team has in Toronto and gives the franchise a sense of permanence, and (I also hope) gives the fans a sense of community.

Many teams have an ancient fight song that they still enjoy today.

Chicago Bears fans love singing Bear Down, Chicago Bears, which dates from the 1940s and was written in celebration of a 73-0 victory over Washington. It’s part of their identity. And they still sing it loud and proud.

Washington fans have their own tradition – Hail to the Commanders, which of course was written with a previous team name, but dates to 1937. It’s a great tune too.

And needless to say, every big time college football program features a memorable traditional song sung joyously by the crowd, dating WAY back. USC’s Fight On? 1922. On, Wisconsin? 1909. Notre Dame’s Victory March? 1905. Michigan’s The Victors? it’s from 1898.

The Argos even had an older song called Yea, Argos but sadly I have never come across a recording or even the sheet music.

So, what we have is Go Toronto Argos Go Go Go, and personally, I celebrate it and I’m thrilled when I see others singing and/or clapping along You don’t have to sing along, although I wish you would, but I hope you can cherish some of these links to the past.

There are plenty of other new fangled things – hey, how about that halftime drone show at the 150th Anniversary game? That was cool and unexpected! – but I’m happy we can still hold on to and encourage legendary artifacts like Go Argos Go as well.

Regards,
A Charter Member of the Go Argos Go Appreciation Society

PS. I was deeply honoured to meet the late Dal Richards, the long time BC Lions bandleader and the impresario behind the CFL Songs album, in Vancouver in 2014. He kindly autographed a copy of the album for me…
Dal Richards

… and in 2015 donated it to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, where it rightfully belongs.

HallOfFame

Outside the former downtown Hamilton location of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame; it’s since moved to Tim Hortons Field.

Donation
(with Hall of Fame manager Andrea Lane)

Standard CFL Arguments

The league announced that Green Day would be the halftime show for the 110th Grey Cup next month in Hamilton, and although the response was generally positive (and I think it’s a great choice), it reminded me that there are some evergreen CFL discussions that just won’t go away. I wanted to note these here for future reference.

The Standard CFL Arguments.

1. The Halftime Act.

The halftime act should be Canadian! Dozens of people would surely tune in to hear (obscure band from Flin Flon, or some other band that was popular 40 years ago and which would appeal to that coveted 65+ demographic, or some artist that it turns out has already played at the Grey Cup , etc)”

You know what, we’ve already had Justin Bieber, Gordon Lightfoot, Bachman/Turner, the Guess Who, Bryan Adams, the Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, Nickelback, Celine Dion and Shania Twain at the Grey Cup, so you don’t need to suggest those. Come up with some other suggestions. (Also for the record, Rush is no longer available.)

Incidentally the 78th Grey Cup featured “Esmeralda Colombian Dance Group, Mlada Srbadia Serbian Folk Dance Group, Joy of Movement Studiom Yuen’s Institute of Tae Kwon-do and the Hungarian Csardas Dancers of Vancouver”. Now THAT was a show.

I tend to feel that if the halftime act is a band that I, an old guy, actually like, it’s probably not exactly the right choice to attract new interest to the CFL.

2. CFL Expansion

The CFL should expand! Here, let me show my amazing geographic knowledge with a list of a dozen random cities.”

I have actually seen Churchill, Manitoba and Cornwall, Ontario offered as serious suggestions. Which kind of reminds me of Nate Silver’s infamous recommendation, based on counting up Google searches for the term “NHL”, that the NHL should consider to something called “Sudbury – Thunder Bay.” Never mind that those cities are an eleven hour drive apart. Let’s just name random cities.

3. Location and Time of Games

The right day, time and location for home games (which usually means “more convenient for me, personally”)

(Sometimes people say “If the Argos played at York, they’d attract lots of fans from north of the city”, which conveniently ignores that they’d probably lose even more fans who take Lakeshore trains to the games.)

Paul Woods noted that “it is surely a prerequisite that anyone who says “York” lives west of Thunder Bay and has never been to Toronto.”

4. Attendance Problems in Toronto

CFL attendance is a complicated problem, so here is a simple trivial solution that I can’t believe MLSE hasn’t tried”

Right, put up some billboards, blanket the newspapers with ads, why don’t they let people in for free, that’ll fix everything. Just ignore that, unlike every other CFL city, there are five other pro teams in town, and an NFL team just an hour away, and another couple of NFL teams just four hours away, and another entire CFL team just down the QEW.

My friend Cameron Hayglass added another –

5. Problems Unique to the CFL

only in the CFL!” (highlights problem routinely seen in at least one of NBA/NHL/MLB/NFL)

and I then also remembered to include

6. New Stadiums

Any observation about building a new stadium anywhere that does not include any indication of where the $200,000,000 is coming from.

And a problem in every league everywhere –

7. The Fix Is In.

The referees and the league obviously want team X to win“, say fans of team Y that just lost to team X.

Toronto Argos Game Day Off-the-Field Action Report for Game 4: Argos vs Ottawa

Here’s another in the irregular connection of Off the Field Reports. You can read the details of the football action anywhere, but what if you want to know what’s happening in the stands instead? What if you want another report on whether the QR Code pizza slice contest worked? Where can you go? Where?

Well, here as it turns out. And if you just can’t get enough of this, you can catch up if necessary on Game 1, Game 2 and Game 3.

Game Summary

Argos: 44

Ottawa: 31

Weather: Beautiful

Crowd: Boisterous

what were the other people on the GO Train coming down to see?

Something called KidzBop was playing at the Budweiser Stage, and I must extend my congratulations to all the moms and dads who were accompanying the throngs of excited young people. I hope there was something fun for you older folks too, perhaps some Glenn Miller covers.

wait wasn’t Kidz Bop at 4 and the football at 7?

Yeah, we came down earlier than normal. We took a friend from California to his first ever CFL game, and did a couple of tourist things ahead of time. Including visiting Little Canada, an amazing HO Scale recreation of great Canadian scenes, found at Yonge/Dundas Square. Highly recommended! Even if it features 1:87 working models of the Skydome and Air Canada Centre – or whatever they’re called now – but not BMO Field.

Here’s a panorama of Toronto at Little Canada. You really should check it out.

Little Canadapano

And we headed from there to the game.

So anyway our friend James really enjoyed the game and is now the Argos Good Luck Charm, as they have never lost when James has been on hand. (My Apple friends, you know James from his band And the Breakpoints of course.)

could we possibly talk about the football game

I’m getting there.
Before the game, I decided I needed to buy an Argos jersey. I quite like the new 2023 design and decided to go for the Cambridge Blue home version. You know, Cambridge Blue. The lighter of the two Blues associated with the Double Blue, the other being Oxford, unless I have that backwards.

I bought the jersey before the game and then hustled back to my seat, and much to my surprise, the custom name/number lettering was done ALSO BEFORE THE GAME with a speed that surprised me. I guess it pays to be one of the first in line.

what name/number did you get

Well I thought about this a lot. In the Argonotes days I was “DICTATOR / 94”. Maybe. Or I could have got “ARGONOTES / 23”. Maybe that too. Or a lot of people get one of their favourite player, and for me that would have been “BALL / 6” (and here’s why Marcus Ball is my all time favourite.)

Ultimately I went with DICTATOR / 94 for sentimental reasons, but I then spent the rest of the game wondering if the iron-on numbers they’d applied were actually in the same font as the real player numbers. Still not quite sure. Will be investigating this further at the next game.

apart from yours what was your favourite jersey

BOATMAN

BOATMAN. That was pretty good. The Argos are known as the Boatmen, of course, and the team actually had a player named Shannon Boatman who played five games in 2010. It’s almost the perfect jersey!

Except I talked to this guy and said “Hey, that’s great that you have a Shannon Boatman jersey” and he told me that he chose BOATMAN as just the team nickname, not a salute to Shannon Boatman who he wasn’t even aware of, but that it worked out nicely.

i wonder who actually has a legit Shannon Boatman game worn jersey?

BOATMAN

wonder no more.

has the game started yet or are you just going to write about things that happened before the game

Soon. I promise. First though

National Anthem

It came in at 1:31. As usual. Lovely voice. Please go faster.

kickoff!

An odd siren sound was played at the start of the 1st and 2nd halves. I get that they’re trying something new here but they need a better recording, or a better live performance. It was oddly anemic sounding.

how did your american friend James like the game?

He liked that at one point the ball was on the 54 Yard Line, something he’s never seen before.

promotions recap

A good set of promotions this week, including some sort of Match Game thing where you were given a prompt (“Fill in the blank: WATER ______”) and you had to match what the prerecoded player was going to do. I liked that.
Contestant guesses

Player Reveals

This contestant got 2 out of 5 right but the game day hostess said “You’re still going to win.” (cough) isn’t it odd how people just about always win? it’s as if they’re going to give the prize away whatever happens, which is good.

Did they do the spin-the-wheel thing? YES

Did the contestant give yet another extremely weak spin, rotating the wheel only about 60º presumably so it wouldn’t spin forever? YES

Do you understand how this promotion works now? I think so. You get one spin. But you play Rock/Paper/Scissors twice with Jason the mascot, to win additional spins. Something like that.

What about the Possibly Dangerous Tumbling Cross The End Zone Inflatable Thing? NO (unless I missed it.)

Were people throwing footballs into the crowd? YES and the throwers were, I think, actual amateur football players and they were really heaving the things up into the 200 level. That was nice to see.

the cannon

Fired once after every Argo touchdown, and (oops) once after the Argos were stopped by Ottawa on the 1 yard line (oops). A little premature exhilaration there. Whoops. Argos still won. Cannon was fired on the subsequent kickoff rouge to even things up. All is forgiven.

Cannon

the fight song

Played after 4 out of 5 touchdowns. The Section 123 choir is in fine form and I am happy that people are gradually picking up on the Official Gestures, seen here:

I noticed the words on the scoreboard too. Thanks, Argos! (Now if we could just stop cutting it off before the 2nd chorus ends.)

members of the game

Props to the Argos for honouring long time season ticket holders too (or as MLSE calls them, ‘Members’). Here are (I think) Les and Elizabeth, with former Argo Chad Folk. This is a nice initiative.

Members

how about letting members fire the cannon?

Just a thought. The smoke rings are cool.

Cannon Smoke Ring

Halftime

Dogs! Dogs catching frisbees! I love that. Although they spent quite a while erecting some mysterious structure at center field that was used maybe for one jump only.

The dog did manage to jump over the thing, and also Jason. Good doggie.

Dog Jump

the referee

It was everyone’s favourite official, Andre Proulx. The crowd seemed to disagree with many of his decisions. It’s amazing how many experts there are on the CFL rulebook, particular the subsections around Pass Interference or Roughing the Passer, and how clearly the fans can see exactly what happened better than the officials who are standing right there.

You know what, I wonder if he gets hassled more than other CFL referees mostly because he understandably speaks with an obvious accent, so you KNOW it’s him.

I like the guy. Hey, we won. Quit complaining.

signs of the game

I didn’t see any particularly great fan signs this week, but I will point out that our Hide the Defensive Coordinator Signs are WAY better than Ottawa’s. One tiny little logo on the side? Come ON, you can do better than that.

Our Signs
Their Sign

before or after 1914?

This was a fun quiz too. Asking players if certain things had happened Before or After the Argos won their first Grey Cup in 1914.

1914 Quiz

Hey, we all learned something. Vacuum cleaners predate the first Argo Grey Cup

Drum Battle

I liked it when mascot Jason and a fan were taking turns wailing away on a drum. More like this please.

Drum Battle

the QR Code

Did they figure out the Pizza Pizza QR Code technical glitch that has often plagued this giveaway? Well, here’s the code…

QR Code

This QR code happens to translate to this URL: `https://uqr.to/1jlea`

and once again I think they’ve botched the Javascript on that web page, as it is trying to redirect to this nonsensical URL

            window.location='https\u003A\/\/pizzapizza.lnk.click\/toronto\u002Dargonauts\u002Dscore\u002Da\u002Dslice\u002Dckw482\u002Daugust\u002D13';

I can see what they’re trying to do, they want to redirect you to this link

https://pizzapizza.lnk.click/toronto-argonauts-score-a-slice-ckw482-august-13

which would work, if only they hadn’t messed up the Javascript code on the original page.

This promotion STILL needs some work. if you were at the game and this QR code worked for you, let me know what I’m doing wrong, because it sure seems broken.

conclusion: did you have fun

yes. And you should come too! Here’s yet another reason why: No annoying digital ads on the field unlike when you watch the game on TV!

Thanks Argos for another great night of football, and thanks to the Section 123 Choir for fight songs that just keep improving.

footnote on GO Transit and Metrolinx

Generally taking the train to the game works great, from either East or West. We come in from Oakville. Super easy. Train drops us at Exhibition Station 100 yards from the stadium. But all week long, Metrolinx had been announcing that the Lakeshore East line would not be running on the weekend. This caused a great deal of confusion. Lakeshore East? Like, travelling eastbound? Don’t we travel eastbound from Oakville?

Wait, NO. What they meant was that the eastern half of the lakeshore line, from Union Station out to Oshawa, would not be running. The Lakeshore WEST line, which we take, was still operating from Oakville to Exhibition Station and on to Union, and then back later.

I wonder if they ought to rename the line. Trains run Eastbound on Lakeshore West, and vice versa. People were confused. I don’t mean to slam Metrolinx, I know the work has to get done some time, and there was at least one time when Argo fans persuaded them to postpone a construction stoppage until after the game had concluded so people could get home, so they are trying to do the right thing.

next time you do this: Include a diagram!

Go

Toronto Argos Game Day Off-the-Field Action Report for Game 3: Touchdown Atlantic

We’ve previously analyzed the Off the Field action for Home Game 1 and Home Game 2 – both, oddly enough, played in Toronto.

But, once again, the fans of the Good Ship Argonaut have, er, graciously donated one of our Home Games to the fine people of Atlantic Canada. So off we go to Husky Stadium at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for Touchdown Atlantic 2023.

Bottom line, we had a great time, even if it didn’t feel like an Argos home game, and I really, truly, deeply, want Halifax to get its own CFL team.

TDA Banner

Argos 31, Saskatchewan 13

Scoreboard

Let’s get the score out of the way. A resounding victory for the Double Blue.

you might want to skip the next part

And, what’s this? A palindrome? 31-13? How often does that happen? Let’s fire up the Unnecessary Analysis Machine! When was the last CFL palindromic game? It musta been a long time ago … let’s see …

CFL Palindromic Analysis

Well, uh, the last time it happened was last season. Winnipeg 31, Saskatchewan 13. And it turns out 31-13 is the Most Common CFL Palindromic Score. Since 1958 the CFL has had 56 games with palindromic scores, but 17 of those were ties, and we are hereby deciding that ties are Uninteresting. Sorry, Saskatchewan-Calgary 4-4 in 1963.

And neither is a score like “10-1” a palindrome even though that’s happened twice. Amazingly, Montreal lost to both Edmonton and Calgary in 1963 by identical 10-1 scores, the only time that score’s ever happened.

31-13 has happened a dozen times.

More CFL Palindromic Analysis

I cannot let this go. After 5,974 CFL games since 1958, there have been 39 True Palindromic Games, starting with Toronto over Ottawa 42-24, and a score of 31-13 is by far the most common, having occurred 12 times (including this year in Halifax.)

The highest scoring palindromic game was the very satisfying Toronto 52, Hamilton 25 in 1991.

now that you’ve actually set up this database, what else should we know?

  • after 5,974 #CFL games since 1958, the most common score is 27-24 (35 times), and there have been 1,252 different scores.

  • there are 333 scores that have only occurred once, including

  • 1-0 (Montreal 1, Ottawa 0, in 1966)

  • 56-0 (CFL’s Biggest shutout – Winnipeg over Saskatchewan in 1986)

more oddities –

  • Hamilton and BC have beat each other 3-0
  • 2-0 has never yet happened, but 3-0 and 4-0 has
  • the average CFL score is 30-17
  • the most common score (35 times) is 27-24

  • every number from 1 to 70 has been a Winning Score, except 2 and 69

  • every number from 0 to 52 has been a Losing Score.

could we get back to the game in Halifax if it’s not too much trouble

Er, I’ve got more. The (late) Baltimore Stallions are the only team with a Perfect Palindromic Record, having won twice, each time by the same 41-14 score, over both Toronto and Hamilton on consecutive weeks in 1995. That’s crazy! (Either that or there could be a bug in my database.)

Mike Hogan of the Argos helpfully pointed out that 82ºF is 28ºC (another palindrome) and mentioned this off-topic and yet still entertaining Weird Al video “Bob” in which every line is a palindrome –

Anyway, back to Touchdown Atlantic in Halifax

Cathy and I flew down for this and enjoyed the weekend very much. This was supoposedly a TORONTO ARGONAUTS HOME GAME but as you’ll see, it didn’t exactly feel like one.

the overall atmosphere

Halifax was crawling with Saskatchewan fans wearing green. Probably outnumbering Argo jerseys 10-1 or more. How many had actually come from Saskatchewan for the game? Who knows, but somehow that entire province’s identity seems to be wrapped up in the Roughriders and even people who moved away decades ago somehow still have a Roughrider jersey they can dig out.

I like to joke that the reason you see so many Roughrider fans at road games is that people just cannot WAIT to get out of Saskatchewan.

Halifax’s waterfront is great but

disappointment

there were no signs or banners or flags or anything to let you know that Touchdown Atlantic was actually happening. The game was sold out, so maybe someone thought it didn’t matter, but it would have been nice to see a little hype for the locals. Vendors were asking me what was happening, was there a game on? Even the hotel we were in – where the CFL league staff were also staying, and where we were the only people to notice the Grey Cup entering the lobby – showed no evidence that anything special was happening.

The long term goal here is for Halifax to get its own team, not just for it to host some out of town fans once in a while. I wish the event hadn’t been so invisible.

pockets of pregame fun

The team sponsored a night at Durty Nelly’s bar and we’re grateful for the free beer! Pinball was on hand, exuding 110% charm as always. I’m ready to run through a wall! Just say where!

Of course you only heard about this event if you bumped into another fan; there didn’t seem to be much of an official plan to let the Argo faithful know about it.

game day

The game was Saturday afternoon. We made our way over to the campus of St. Mary’s University in the middle of Halifax and the temporary stadium therein. Turns out this is the second time I’ve seen the Argos play here – my son and I came in 2005 for an exhibition 16-16 tie vs. the Ticats. This time I was with Cathy. And weirdly it almost seemed like we were in the exact same seats. Here’s 2005 and 2023 – hey, I got a new hat somewhere along the way.

Me and Alex, 2005

Me and Cathy, 2023

Cathy had been bugging me all week to be more like a Maritimer, to ask the people at drive-thru windows how they’re doing or to chat about the weather with the guy at the toll booth, and the guy sitting beside me overheard and said “Well it must be working, you actually talked to me when you sat down, unlike typical Torontonians.”

sidebar: Former Chief Centurions of the Warriors Band

How many CCWB’s were on hand? Three! At least! That we know about! It was a treat to invite Halifax’s own Dr. David Greenberg, CCWB I, founder of the Most Illustrious UW Warriors Band back in 1966. Cathy joined the band when I was CCWB IX, and later became CCWB XI herself. And 30 years later we got married. (Me and Cathy, that is.) Thank you Dave! And thanks Mrs Dave (Cheryl) for taking this picture!

CCWBs

signs of the game

Here are a couple of my favourites. Grey Cup in Halifax? Sign us up!

GreyCupInHalifax

Also be sure to bring a marker in case you need to adjust your sign for the conclusion of the game.

SixAndO

whose game is it anyway?

Update: I’ve been told that despite what we all assumed, the CFL decided this was to be a neutral game, not an Argo home game, and directed the game day staff and announcer accordingly, which would explain a few things. I’m not sure I agree with that decision, but I guess it’s their show.

This [edit: see above] was an Argo “home” game but it sure didn’t feel like one. Forget that Argo fans were outnumbered by weird green-clad Saskatchewanians. It was still OUR home game. Small but enthusiastic groups with Argo jerseys, and the native Haligonians sitting near us were pulling for Toronto. (And there was at least one guy in a Doug Flutie San Diego Chargers jersey. I’ll count that as double blue apparel.)

So tell me why –

  • the (local Halifax) announcer – enthusiastically welcomed Saskatchewan mascot Gainer the Gopher to the field, but never mentioned the presence of Argo mascot Jason (i have since been advised by another attendee that Jason was introduced, so apologies if I missed that);

  • the local announcer guy eagerly told us to stand for the fourth quarter traditional playing of “The Last Saskatchewan Pirate”, which I will concede is a good song, by (ahem) a band from Ontario, but this is a SASKATCHEWAN HOME GAME TRADITION, so why are we doing it at an Argo home game?

  • “Green Is the Colour”, Saskatchewan’s fight song, was played after the Riders’ lone touchdown. Played louder and repeated more often than Go Argos Go.

  • The prime VIP seats in the center of the opposite grandstand seemed to be 80% full of people wearing green. How’d that happen? Why didn’t Argo fans hear about those seats?

VIPseats

The hype sure seemed to be for Saskatchewan.

Look, if we Argo fans are going to donate one of our precious home games to Halifax, let’s not turn it into a Rider home game like this.

what else was happening off the field?

None of the regular Argo promotions happened. Hardly any giveaways. But they did have a guy attempt to kick field goals – I think he won a $200 OK Tire gift card. OK Tire also donated $50K to Nova Scotia youth football. Well done! More than OK.

I fondly remember the old Wendy’s “Kick for a Million” promotion and was lucky to be at Skydome when that guy won the $1,000,000, even if it really was just $20K/year for 50 years.

There was another promotion where two fans competed to see who could put on a totally frozen solid T-shirt. That looked cool. (see what I did there?)

what about the anthem

O Canada clocked in at 1:18, sung very nicely by a local singer. Fastest anthem of our “home” season so far.

remember those signs I was wondering about last time?

Well we got a good look at what was on the other side – nothing.

signs

what about QR codes?

There was a temporary jumbotron in the corner and as far as I could tell, the QRCodes it displayed were indeed encoded properly (unlike the Pizza Pizza QR code promotion at home game 2.) This one, for instance, is https://qr.link/qbRUfS which redirects properly to Purolator’s Tackle Hunger promotion.

QRCode

Another QR code looked for feedback on Touchdown Atlantic for a chance to win a prize package. Hey, fill this out, you never know. (It’s a survey looking at the economic impact of the game – and asking you if you would support the idea of a team in Halifax. Why yes, I would. I’ve been to every CFL game in Halifax so far! (total: 2))

Let’s hope our QR Codes at BMO are fixed for the next game. (Trust me, if they are, I’ll let you know.)

souvenirs

They were handing out little yellow footballs. I gave mine to a kid who didn’t get one. Reminder, this is what you do with free things at sporting events. Give them to kids.

There were Touchdown Atlantic shirts and hats for sale. I wish there’d been a nice souvenir pin. I would have added that to my collection.

Also “Touchdown” beer.

TouchdownBeer

what’s with these orange lines?

I don’t get what these orange lines on the field are.
orangelines

halftime show

At first I thought, wow, the divot replacement squad here is armed with swords but no, those are Scottish dancers. Nice work, ladies.

HalftimeShow

did you sing Go Argos Go?

yes! Thank you, game day folks, for playing this (however I think the recording needs a little audio attention or level setting or something. It’s hard to tell at first if it’s actually playing, and then people stumble into the song on about the 4th line.)

Of course I conducted the faithful – thanks Will for the picture!

GoArgosGo

Two different people said to me “Hey, didn’t you used to be the bandleader?” Made my day.

creature comforts lacking a bit

You can only do so much with temporary seating. Frankly I found it all to be a little cramped, and if you were sitting in the middle of a row, there was almost no way to get to your seat without everybody else getting up and out of the way.

Trash cans were overflowing. OK I get it this is a temporary setup, but still, not a good look.

Worst of all, the food and drinks were sold out of food trucks located quite a ways from the seats themselves, and the lineup for the restrooms was horrendous. Cathy missed most of the 1st quarter in line for food, and almost all of the 3rd quarter in line for the temporary porta-potties (she reported “at least 30 people in line for each of the 20 toilets.”) Even more aggravating, not far from us in the end zone was another row of portapotties, that were off limits unless you had a special wristband for that area.

The stadium was surrounded by campus buildings. Aren’t there restrooms in there we could use?

Which leads me to –

Can the CFL work in Halifax with a setup like this?

I think so. I hope so. The buzz in the packed stadium – uncomfortably packed, but thankfully packed – was great. Everybody wants it to work!! BUT – A flimsy temporary stadium isn’t going to be good enough, at least without substantial improvements to the food and restroom situation. People might tolerate that for a single exhibition game but the casual fan would be unlikely to return. Fix that situation.

The CFL staff were all staying in our hotel and I had a few conversations with some, including one with a senior exec where I said “look, we all want this to work, we just need to find someone with $200,000,000 for a stadium, so you should find someone with $200,000,000.”

I was informed it’s a little more complicated than that. But I’m hoping. I want to go to a Grey Cup in Halifax too.

Toronto Argos Game Day Off-the-Field Action Report for Game 2

Argos 45, BC Lions 24 in a thrilling battle for first place between the league’s only unbeaten teams. But you can read about the action on the field anywhere. What was happening off the field? And why doesn’t the Free Slice of Pizza QR Code work?

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Weather

Beautiful. Absolutely a great night for football, although if you were sitting on the east side staring into the sun, you probably enjoyed the 2nd half better after the sun set. I wish TV could show the west grandstand though. it was pretty full, but the east was, as usual, kind of sparse. BECAUSE YOU’RE STARING INTO THE SUN

Anthem

Anthem clocked in at 1:31, and we will concede once again that she is a lovely singer and we only wish she could pick up the pace a little bit.

Apart from the Argos, What Were Other People on the GO Train Coming to See?

Garbage was playing at the Budweiser Stage nearby, along with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and I am not nearly hip enough to make any kind of a comment about either group.

Was There Live Music At the Game Itself?

Yes! For the first time in a while, the half time show – a dance number by the Argos A-Team and a few Caribbean dancers – was accompanied by a live steel pan band, Pan Fantasy, who performed on the northwest terrace. Well done. And if I can figure out the name of the dancers, I’ll be sure to update this post.

Steel Pan
Dancers

What Was This Musical Instrument?

I’m not sure about that either.

MysteryInstrument

What About the Traditional BMO Field Half Time Show

Not to worry, we were entertained by the Divot Replacement Squad, the standard BMO Field half time show for the past several years, who you can see working alongside the dancers in the photo above.

Do Kickers Care About Half Time Shows?

No, they’re going to warm up anyway.

kicker

Signs

Sadly, there were no signs to equal the majesty of the “Days Since Last Grey Cup: Ticats 8,603” we saw last time. However I did notice that the “All Time Argos” list has been relocated from its previous position amongst the multitude of Grey Cup banners over the south stands, to a new spot in the middle of the west grandstand.

The new row of 18 Grey Cup Banners looks pretty good, though.Banners

Other Signs

I still don’t quite get what this is for. And one of the two guys was holding his upside down for most of the game.

IMG 7094

Update! Actual Information!
From a comment on Facebook by Argos Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Usama Mujtaba (thank you!)

It’s for two reasons:
1) So that the playcallers are more visible.
2) So that when opposing teams get the film on the tablets (the sideline view will be from behind the bench), they can’t see the signals and as a result won’t know which signal related to which call. This unfortunately won’t work when you are in a stadium where the benches are on opposite sides of the field (why we didn’t use them in Edmonton).
Hope that helps!

Speaking of All Time Argos

It was great to see both Damon Allen and Derrell “Mookie” Mitchell added to the All Time Argos list during a break in play! We were lucky to get a good view. BUT … Their announcements were rushed, and an official actually had to shoo Mookie and his entourage off the field so the game could restart. That would have all been better to do at halftime.

Two All Time Argos

Speaking of Derrell “Mookie” Mitchell, What Song did Argonotes Play when He Retired in 2007?

M is for Mookie. That’s good enough for me.

M is for Mookie. That’s good enough for me.

M is for Mookie. That’s good enough for me.

Oh, Mookie Mookie Mookie starts with “M”.

did anybody apart from the band think that was as hilarious as the band did

No need to ask.

Speaking of Alumni

They introduced Matt Black, hero of the 2017 Grey Cup, to a resounding cheer. And once again I could see it all on the scoreboard, but had no idea where to look in the stadium. (Tip: It’s usually in the alumni suite in the southwest corner.) I wish the scoreboard could tell us where to look!

Matt Black on scoreboard
Matt Black in alumni suite

Infinitely Spinning Prize Wheel Update

You’ll recall that at the last game, the Prize Wheel spun and spun and spun and seemingly wouldn’t stop until the mascot and/or the game day host actually put their hand on the wheel to slow it down.

Well, last night, they must have said something to the contestant because he gave it a tremendously weak spin and I don’t think it even went all the way around once. Also there is some rock-paper-scissors thing that happens before the wheel is spun and honestly nobody understands this particular game.

PrizeSpin

Let me know if you understand how this one is supposed to work.

What about the Dangerous Inflatable Race

Went much better this time, the winning team clearly figured out how to make these things work. I’m still amazed nobody gets hurt bouncing around inside.

Roller

Did the QR Code for a Free Slice of Pizza Actually Work This Time?

IMG 7148

No.

a forensic analysis of why the Pizza Pizza QR code does not work

I happen to know a little about how QR codes and other barcodes work. (Ask me about the PDF417 format some time – that’s the code on the back of your drivers license. It’s encoded as a base 929 number!)

QR Codes – and other formats – are usually just strings of text encoded in a way that your phone’s camera can decode and turn back into text.

Here’s how this promotion is SUPPOSED to work.

1) They show a QR code on the scoreboard, like this

QRCode

Notice that it says “Scan this code and turn on push notifications to redeem your free slice tomorrow.”

2) You take a picture of the QR code. Your phone will – usually – automatically decode this image for you. In this case, the QR Code contains this string:

https://uqr.to/1jle9

3) Your phone recognizes that that string is a URL, and opens that URL in your web browser

4) Your phone’s browser goes to

https://uqr.to/1jle9

So far so good.

This is where it starts to fall apart. That web page contains some Javascript code, which your browser is supposed to interpret to redirect it to a different web site. Normally you would not be aware this is happening – the browser fetches code from uqr.to, and then quietly redirects to a different site.

Here’s the problem. This is a piece of the Javascript code on that initial uqr.to web site – you would normally not see this but your web browser would read and interpret it as an instruction to go to a different web site

<title>PizzaPizzaSAS_Argos_G2_Jul3</title>
 <script> 
function redirectToContent(){ 
    /* window.location='https://pizzapizza.lnk.click/toronto-argonauts-score-a-slice-xkr325-july-3'; */ 

    window.location='https\u003A\/\/pizzapizza.lnk.click\/toronto\u002Dargonauts\u002Dscore\u002Da\u002Dslice\u002Dxkr325\u002Djuly\u002D3'; 
} <
/script>

But this is coded incorrectly. The real URL they want you to go to is this one

https://pizzapizza.lnk.click/toronto-argonauts-score-a-slice-xkr325-july-3

but somehow that real URL is inside a javascript comment, and the window.location line below it is really redirecting you to this url, which doesn’t make sense, it’s encoded all wrong.

https\u003A\/\/pizzapizza.lnk.click\/toronto\u002Dargonauts\u002Dscore\u002Da\u002Dslice\u002Dxkr325\u002Djuly\u002D3

Your web browser will not know what to do with that URL, and as a result you’ll never wind up on the right site to redeem your free slice. You’re probably staring at a blank screen after snapping the photo of the QR code. I know I was.

Now if you’ve read this far, you could of course just click here but you shouldn’t, if you didn’t go to the game.

I wonder if Pizza Pizza ever notices that nobody redeems their slice and asks themselves how much they’re paying for this ad.

did you catch a T-shirt thrown into the crowd for the first time in 30 years?

Yes!

shirt

what size is it

medium

what size are you

Well in college I was a medium but I’m really now more of an extra-medium.

can we see a photo of you wearing the shirt because that would be quite humourous

no.

Hey There’s a Siren

I think this was new, an attempt to get some grassroots supporter to crank a siren to make a glorious sound. This is a great idea

Siren

is the siren loud enough

not nearly.

ARGOS SOGRA

Game day off field highlight for me is that the runners with the flags that spell “A” “R” “G” “O” “S” have finally realized that they should run back in the OTHER order, so that the word ARGOS is spelled out properly first for the west grandstand and then the east. In other years, the east side only ever saw SOGRA. Congrats to the team for figuring this out at last!

A-R-G-O-S

S-O-G-R-A

Singing of ‘Go Argos Go’

The team played the touchdown song 4 out of 5 times and I am pleased that the crowd started to react to the big clumsy guy in 123 trying to conduct the Section 123 choir.

Conducting

amount of fun that was had

Plenty. You should come. Argo games are a great value. Not ridiculously overpriced, a great stadium, a beautiful night, easy to get to – AND WE BEAT THE LIONS. come on down.

Toronto Argos Game Day Off-the-Field Action Report for Game 1

Argos 32, Ticats 14 in the home opener. But more importantly, what was going on OTHER than the football game? Here’s a report.

Anthem

The usual. Could have been faster. Nothing deflates an excited crowd faster than a slow performance of the anthem. She is a nice singer, though.

Game Day Plus

  • Overall the pregame Grey Cup Banner Raising was pretty good, the banner attached to the balloon was a nice idea – I wondered how they were going to “raise” it. I’m happy they let some long time season ticket holders have the honours.

Pregame Banner

  • Jason – the mascot – has been equipped with a proper T-shirt gun to reach the higher seats. (I don’t know who actually wants these free shirts, though, and I bet they’re all “Extra Medium.” A reminder, if you catch something like this thrown into the audience, give it to a kid.)

  • Despite all the Ticat fans in attendance, I don’t think I heard a single “Oskee-wee-wee”. But I bet they were happy with the promotional giveaway – it’s the closest a Ticat fan will get to a Grey Cup ring.

Game Day Minus

A lot of the stunts and promotions didn’t click, or were rushed to completion before the game resumed.

  • Spin a wheel to win a prize – and the wheel wouldn’t stop spinning, until the host put her hand on it to slow it down. That really looks bad.

  • the Rolling across the end zone in an inflatable tube thing race probably sounded like fun in a meeting but honestly looked a little dangerous (and didn’t come close to finishing in time.)

  • Father-and-son match answers on a whiteboard, well, come on, we can’t see what the wrote on the whiteboard and it looked like they spent most of their time furiously erasing the previous answer.

I hear there’s a new game day coordinator this year so it may take a game or two to work out the details.

  • A north end zone full of brand new empty seats looks bad. I hear the stadium capacity needed to be expanded as part of the World Cup bid but they should find a way to put people there.

North End

  • The usual issues of inequitable distribution of “free to the first 10,000 people” handouts. We entered through Gate 1, and it was a bit of a madhouse as they were being distributed, but many who came in other gates missed out. Surely there is a better way.

I got my ring, but I gave it to a kid sitting behind me. Gotta pay it forward.

Rings

I have already seen some of these for sale on eBay. Reminder, you can just buy a new one. you don’t need to pay some ridiculous markup.

  • It’s 9:30 AM the next morning and there is nothing on argonauts.ca about last night’s game.

game day travel

We took the GO Train, which was evenly split between people who wanted to see the Ticats, the Argos, and Ed Sheeran.

The Opposition

I hadn’t seen one of these before, a pop-up tent of sorts that shielded players from view of the fans. Here’s Hamilton quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell entering the Tent of Concealment.

SidelineTent

Performances of “Go Argos Go”

I led our section in singing Go Argos Go three times – after each touchdown – and people are beginning to get the hang of it, even if the audio they play cuts off before the 2nd verse. Next time I’m bringing a baton.

Total Argonotes Alumni in Attendance

At least 6.

did anybody ask about Argonotes

One guy said to me “I loved you guys, I heard you at the Skydome 45 years ago.” Um, I’ll have to check the math on that one

was there an actual band?

No. Lots of empty seats in the North End Zone where the Burlington Teen Tour Band, a.k.a. the At One Point Argos Band, used to sit.

Signs:

Major props to whoever brought the sign that said “DAYS SINCE LAST GREY CUP WIN – ARGOS 210, TICATS 8603”. That was awesome.

Days Since Last Grey Cup sign

Orchestra Wee Wee

In 1999 the Hamilton Tiger-Cats managed, somehow, to win the Grey Cup, a feat they have not accomplished since but they’re going to try again next Sunday.

In June of 2000, the team held a banquet at which the players were awarded their Grey Cup rings. And since the team had a sense of humour, they actually contacted, us the arch-rival Argonotes, the Toronto Argonauts Band, to see if we’d pretend to be the Ticats band for this event.

(Hey, they offered us food and beer – and T-shirts – how could we say no?)

So here is Orchestra Wee Wee, the temporary Hamilton Tiger-Cats Pep Band, at the Grey Cup Ring Presentation Ceremonial Dinner

OWW

As far as we could tell, nobody noticed that the band looked kind of familiar, but we gave it our best shot and played the Tiger-Cat Marching Song multiple times. Our band has a long history of playing that song in Hamilton and wondering if anybody recognizes it.

The Ticats, recognizing a good thing when they hear it, briefly set up their own pep band and we were delighted to confront them at Ivor Wynne Stadium at a game in 2003. Here’s a joint picture of the Massed Bands of the CFL East Division at the Labour Day Classic in 2003.

P1010022 1

That too didn’t last but it sure was fun.

here’s an email I sent to Argonotes after our rousing success as Orchestra Wee Wee –


From: Steve Hayman
To: Argonotes
Subject: Orchestra Wee Wee!
Date: June 30, 2000

I want to thank the 14 members of Argonotes who became Orchestra Wee-Wee, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Band last night for Hamilton’s Grey Cup Ring Ceremony dinner. Over 800 people were in attendance to see the Ticats presented with their championship rings, and as far as I can tell nobody managed to put 2 and 2 together and realize that some of the music they were hearing sounded very familiar!


We got off to a shaky start. Weather caused the mother of all traffic tieups on the QEW – *three*hours* from downtown to downtown –
and everyone (including Premier Harris) was late, and when we started playing we had a whopping four people on hand, but once we all got there, they hustled us up to the balcony overlooking the banquet hall and had us play the Alleged Former Ticat Song (“We love those Cats,
those Tiger Cats ….”) over and over and over again while the players were being introduced. I imagine we played it more timesin that one stretch than it was ever played at Ivor Wynne Stadium in history.

We did a nice, tight, post-banquet show outside the hall as well. It’s amazing how good you can sound with the right 14 people
in place!

We got a picture or three of the band, in our souvenir Hamilton TiCat shirts, with the Grey Cup, and I’m sure it will be featured prominently on our “other” web site, www.ticats.com, as soon as yours truly gets his scanner fixed.

Thank you again to saxes Clem, Steve and Trevor, trumpets Alex, Gary and James, trombones Richard, Ian and Deb, tuba James, and percussion Bud, Angela and Tina. I really enjoyed doing this and I thinkwe did ourselves and Argonotes proud. Fundamentally I think we are all CFL fans as much as we are Argo fans, so if we can do the odd thing to help Hamilton, it will be good for the league, and maybe it will even shame Hamilton into actually organizing an actual band.

They’re already looking forward to having us visit for the Toronto at Hamilton game on Friday October 13. Game time is 7:30. based on what we saw of the traffic yesterday, I think we should all plan on taking the GO train.

Have a great Canada Day and we’ll see everyone at our next ARGO game, Tuesday July 11 vs Montreal. Meet at 6:30 at Front and Simcoe. More details later.

Oskee-wee-wee—excuse me, that should be
Argos Rule,
Steve

P.S. The Fan 590 has inquired as to whether we might be available for some sort of parade on the 11th from their downtown studio to the dome. It’s intended to celebrate Toronto’s home teams and will involve both the Jays and Argos, and a double decker bus which we might be able to ride on. I think, unfortunately, it’s during the day but if it’s at lunch time we might be able to find enough people. I’ll let you know the plan, if there is one, when I find out more details.

P.P.S. Yesterday I got a call from someone wanting to hire us for a Canada Day parade. (As you might expect the answer is “No, even if we did do parades, don’t you think we would have figured out something for July 1 before June 29?”)

P.P.P.S. I got another invite for a parade later in the year in Mississauga. Here is how this kind of thing usually goes. They tell me that they’ve got the Argonaut cheerleaders, so they figure they could get the band; however it usually means they have 3 of the 30 cheerleaders, and while that works great for the cheerleaders, if we had a turnout of 3 people it wouldn’t be quite as great, soI usually politely turn this sort of thing down.

People of Edmonton, I’ve got your back. Even if you don’t notice.

You might have heard that the Edmonton Football Team – until recently, the Edmonton Eskimos – has changed its name to the Edmonton Elks, and I like this change. It’s a great logo, it retains the historic “EE” abbreviation too.

Edmonton Elks logo

Plus Elks was actually the team name for a couple of years in the 1920s. Good choice!

The old name was unsustainable – you could argue, I suppose, about whether it was intended to honour the Inuit people, but it’s just not appropriate any more. I’m glad they changed it, and they did a great job with the big reveal this week. Check out the video!

Cleveland Indians. Atlanta Braves. Kansas City Chiefs. Washington “Football Team”. See? That was easy. They’re selling a ton of new merch. What’s holding you back?

i knew this would happen

here’s the thing: I knew this was going to happen. Six years ago, in fact.

I registered the Twitter account @EdmontonElks in 2015,just in case. The team had been using @Esks for their account, and seeing as how I’m a kind, considerate CFL fan, who wants the best for the league, and who knows that people sometimes hold useful Twitter names for unreasonable ransom, I wanted to make sure it would be available.

I fully intended to turn this @EdmontonElks account over to the team, if they decided to become the Elks; if they’d gone for Energy or Empire or one of the other suggestions, no problem, I’d just forget about @EdmontonElks.

Last summer the rumblings began that the team might change its name. I sent an email, offering @EdmontonElks to them.

Heard nothing.
Crickets.

This week they changed the team name, and for a while were still using @EdmFootballTeam on Twitter. I sent another note to the team president. Hey, you can have this account for free, no strings attached.

More crickets.

But the @EdmontonElks account was getting the occasional misdirected tweet from people who thought @EdmontonElks really was the team account.

Then – a couple of hours after the grand name unveiling – the team unveiled their new twitter identity: they had secured @Elks and that was their Twitter handle going forward. I don’t know who had that one before. The Elks Club, maybe? I bet they had to pay somebody for that name. Short, memorable Twitter handles are tough to come by.

I’ve still heard nothing – and @Elks is certainly a better account name than @EdmontonElks, so perhaps they don’t need it. But the offer still stands. Edmonton Elks, you can have this twitter account just for the asking. Otherwise, I guess I’ll just let it sit there, unused.

oddly enough, I had another edmonton twitter sports account

Incidentally at one point, a decade ago, Edmonton was bidding for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and I noticed they had registered @Edmonton2022 on Twitter and the edmonton2022.com domain name.

But – the city abandoned the bid and refocused on 2026. So guess who happened to register @Edmonton2026 and edmonton2026.com? This time, though, I did manage to transfer the twitter handle and the domain to the City of Edmonton, again, no strings attached.

People of Edmonton, I’ve got your back.

Elks, if you want that twitter account, just ask. (And if you wanted to send me a hat, I wouldn’t say no. Geez, the antlers. You could really make awesome hats.)

Edmonton 2022 logo

Grey Cup 2001 (Montreal; Calgary 27, Winnipeg 19)

1eed3418
Ah, Montreal. The band’s first overnight grey cup trip. In 1998 we’d come down for a regular season game at Molson Stadium – worthy of a blog post of its own, the team chartered 3 cars of a Via train to Montreal and miraculously offered the band a free ride – and we all remembered that so fondly, how could we NOT go to Montreal for the Grey Cup?

Plus it’s an eastern division cup. Those are easy. In all our history, we only ever managed to get the band to fly somewhere once (to a “home” game in Fort McMurray, Alberta) but hiring a bus to go to an eastern opponent seems simpler. And here’s Rick, our bus driver from Great Canadian, a great guy.
65

(More to come, this blog entry more or less a placeholder.)

I’m indebted to Colin “Trombone” Leech for the photos on this page (and for showing up! As the Ottawa branch of Argonotes, we could always count on Colin to show up only for certain road games.)

Argonotes at the 2001 Grey Cup

Grey Cup 2017 (Ottawa; Argos 27, Calgary 24)

Part of our Ongoing Series of Argonotes Grey Cup Memories.

2017 Grey Cup

Wait, what? Argonotes at the 2017 Grey Cup?
Didn’t the band fold in 2017?

Well, yeah, it kind of did, the band packed it in after 22 years just before the start of the 2017 season (and reunited for one reunion performance in July) but that’s a topic for a much longer post. Or if you subscribe to The Athletic, you can read about it here…

However, Argonotes did actually perform on Grey Cup Weekend. Sort of! So it gets its own entry in the archives.

the eastern final

So I guess the Curse of Argonotes that we applied to the team didn’t work, because they won the Eastern Final and made it to the Grey Cup against Calgary.
I was delighted to take my dad (and brother (and one son)) to the Eastern final at BMO Field, and the Argos beat Saskatchewan.

IMG 0181

should I stay or should I go

Yours truly was kind of moping around that week, debating whether to go to Ottawa for the game.

I’d talked myself into Not Going. I can’t go. Not without my band.

But after some intense lobbying by basically everybody I’d ever met in my entire life, all saying “What, are you nuts? Go!”, and especially after an invitation to connect with the Saskatchewan Roughrider Pep Band (who were making their 4,000th straight Grey Cup trip), I found a ticket and headed to Ottawa for the weekend.

hanging out with musical friends

The Roughrider band even let us hang around and play and possibly even conduct.

Drums

It was a fantastic experience, and I owe a lot to the Rider band for the invitation, and to my Argonotes colleague Jenn “Piccolo” “Or Bass Drum” Annis, because I think we both agreed that two people is, legally, a band.

two people are legally a band

Two Argonotes

And we found ourselves at the Argo bash. I had this informal plan to have the entire Riders band show up and I was going to give them Argos shirts if they’d just play Go Argos Go and pretend to be Argonotes, but that kind of fell apart when they said “Sure, we’ll do it, but wearing green”, which wouldn’t have been nearly subversive enough.

So, what the heck, whaddya gonna do, there’s a stage and a rowdy group of Argo fans and there’s beer and we had a trombone and a bass drum, what more do you need, and without further ado, here is a performance of “Go Argos Go” by Argonotes, the Until Recently Toronto Argonauts Band, at the Argos Ottawa party the night before the Grey Cup, and I promise you, there are much better recordings of this song!

My thanks to Spitzka for the video and all his support over the years.

Was it a great weekend?
Absolutely! Inspired, no doubt, by our performance, the Argos beat Calgary in an epic snow globe of a game, with some wild plays, an incredible finish, a great halftime show by Shania Twain (who arrived on a dogsled) and I had a great 2nd row seat surrounded by Ottawa REDBLACKS fans who couldn’t have been more gracious after the victory.

Was this our greatest Argonotes performance ever?
Probably not. Other than the part where it inspired the Argos to victory the following day.

Was it our final Argonotes performance ever?
Hey, you never know.