I’ve been a Saskatchewan Roughrider fan for decades.

I remember Ronny Lancaster and George Reid squeezing out short yardage plays with ease. I’ve watched the evolution of equipment, the emphasis on safety, and the concern for concussions. Gainer the Gopher, the Rider Nation and the watermelon helmet grew up during my days in Regina (at least that’s what I claim – and I’m sticking to it!).

So . . . sitting in a family living room with a 14 year old girl, watching a Riders game, was a new revelation to me. Half-time was the usual snacks and banter with the family. Rider Nation was alive and well.

And then the young lady, whose name shall remain nameless, exclaimed: “Now I get football!”

We were all ears. Most of us gathered had watched football, played the sport and been armchair coaches for more years than candles on her birthday cake.

“This is a game of extreme hugging!”

Not what we expected. But we rolled with it.

Soon a more complete understanding, never before imagined, began to unfold. You are about to be lifted from your impoverished understanding to a new level of enlightened truth!!

First off, the football just needs a hug. Seldom do you see anyone kick, redirect or dribble the ball with their feet. You just hug the ball.

And when you want to talk about what you want to do with the ball, you get into a “huggle”.

The person who gets the ball let’s everyone know they are going to start by saying, “Ready, set, hug, hug.”

And then if you have the hugball, people just want to hug you! They grab you and hold on tight. Love is everywhere!

If you do get the ball to the end of the field, your team comes and hugs you. They give you hug-pats on the head and other extremities of your body. You even get into a huggle and dance.

And what about hugball fashion? The men with inflamed shoulders wear beards that are face-hugs, and even have bandanas that are head-hugs. The organic helmets in the audience look like the protective helmets the players wear – which the league says you can’t hug. And if you do, the party begins as people throw bright red flags in the air and everyone has a party – more hugs!

Next football game, join other spectators of that extreme sport. You might learn something new!!

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Ron Baker
Ron Baker is a recently retired (2005) member of the Kindersley community. His roots run deep – his grandfather homesteaded just outside Kindersley in the early 1900's. Ron was born in the old Kindersley Hospital, has made his home in various other communities over the years, but keeps coming back. Committed to the community, Ron has found his local involvement has proved to be great fodder for some hilarious tales and tragic events. His experience in administration and working with people, along with his love for a good story, ought to help to bring daily life to life! Ron blogs at, and is pleased to be a part of the writing “crew” at Kindersley Social.