I think I’ve mentioned before that our province has some very faithful Canadian Football fans. Our province’s team is the Roughriders, and their team colours are green and white. The Roughriders were founded in 1910 and over the years has garnered a fan base that occasionally borders on fanatical. Green and white are very popular colours in Saskatchewan!
The 13th man has a few connotations familiar to citizens of Saskatchewan:
- The fans are sometimes called the 13th man because their noise in the stands has supported their team in many games.
- The team mascot is Gainer the Gopher and he wears #13 on his jersey. A fan even changed a tree stump in their yard into a likeness of Gainer the Gopher
- A statue erected outside the new stadium is called “The 13th Man” and depicts an unnamed player wearing #13 being helped up by fans to catch a pass. The inscription on the base says “As we evolve, we strive to soar higher; that soaring quest of our lives makes us who we are. In the act of sport, the fans create the lifting culture that unites us all and gives us a sense of togetherness, pride and belonging.”
Sadly, the term 13th man is also a reminder of the 2009 Grey Cup (Canada’s Super Bowl) game lost because a 13th player for the Roughriders was on the field on the last play of the game, a field goal attempt, and miss, by the opposing team. Since the game cannot end on a penalty, the opposing team was able to retry the field goal, this time successful, winning the game 28-27.
Four years later, the Roughriders won the Grey Cup in their hometown of Regina to the delight of all their fans!