Every victory is sweet, but his one is sweeter than honey.
It was emphatic in superiority. It was stylish in delivery. It was bold in its proclamation. It was special in its tone and tune. It was unmistakable in its message. The timing could not have been better.
This victory is unique.
It speaks volumes.
It reminds all pessimists to focus on that visible tiny ray of light in the overwhelming darkness.
It fires up the optimistic never to wane in buoyancy or relent in cheerfulness.
It awakens the apathetic to take a stand. It restores the confidence in all die-hard supporters.
It rouses the uncommitted to have a second thought and become devoted.
The 2019 Grey Cup has finally landed in Winnipeg after 29 years!
For breaking a 29-season jinx, this victory makes history. It tells us something about the coaching crew, the players, the entire support system, and of course, the supporters. It identifies what we may have been doing wrong for 28 years, and possibly, what we ought to do differently from now on.
It teaches us something special about life – reinforcing the reality that although darkness and weeping may last a whole night, eventually, light and laughter will emerge in the morning! Before we forget, we need to identify why this victory makes history.
First, this victory shows that adversity could actually be a source of mobilization of the best within our rich diversity. At a time when injury threw a spanner into the works, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were able to assess and subsequently access resources to make up and defeat the adversity of injury.
Having three quarterbacks who were different and special in their styles and approaches sure confused opponents and deepened the team’s resilience and firepower.
Talking of resilience, this team most likely got the message at the tail end of the season that they have something that others do not. They became, inadvertently, too complex to be easily predicted, and too dangerous to be stopped.
Where they struggled, their complexity masked it. Where they excelled, their opponents just could not comprehend them. Even when pressure from all sides stretched the team members, resilience forced them to become flexible and elastic, and the team just could not stop functioning well.
The engine would not switch off. The surging force will neither wane, ebb, fade, nor even dwindle. Rather than grind, the engine fired up!
The third reason is that this team refused to be assuming. They were disciplined enough to resist the temptation of arrogance or the easy virtue of being presumptuous. The players and the coaching crew saw obstacles as a pathway to their miracles.
They did not deny the existence of a tough and rough road. They did not run away or hide from facing their giants. Instead, they prepared hard and strong. They embraced their hard and harsh story in order to bring home the glory.
They played each game according to the best approach and most suitable way to surmount the present obstacle. They fought every inch of the way. They refused to settle for a mediocre performance. They believed in their abilities. Nevertheless, they also bonded and battled together as a unified force.
The fourth is that the players played with purpose. They realized the possibility and the importance of re-writing history. They knew the little time spent on the field of play would one day be what history will record for eternity.
They played with the cry and the prayer of their supporters tucked somewhere behind their brains. They marched into field with a now-or-never spirit. The crowd or the cloud did not deceive them. They knew their mission was to neither watch the crowd nor gaze at the sky. They came fired up, focused, furious, fervent, ferocious, and formidable.
This fifth point is very symbolic. The last three fierce games of the season brought the fighting lion in each of the players to the open. Each one showed up, ready to die in order to win.
They came hungry. They were determined. They were as fit as a fiddle. They were eager, agile, aggressive, proactive, creative, strategic, intelligent, unpredictable, bold, tactical, passionate, and highly disciplined. These facts lead to the following important lessons.
The victory that makes history never comes easy or cheap. Think about it – the Winnipeg Blue Bombers had to go into the lion’s den in Calgary to tame the lion. It was no fluke victory. The players played their hearts out and killed the lion is its den.
The victory forced the players to feel comfortable in a foreign turf. The victory conditioned the players to see victory as achievable anywhere despite fierce opposition on and off the field of play. The victory taught the players to realize that adversity may not necessarily be a bad thing – it toughens us for the fearsome and terrible days ahead.
If some waive the victory in Calgary as a fluke, the one in Regina was different. The Western final played on Sunday November 17, 2019 in the city named after Queen Victoria challenged the resounding victory in Calgary a week earlier.
The Regina battle was hard-fought until the very last second. The 2019 Western final battle at the Mosaic Stadium became one adversity that fired up the winning team’s resilience, self-discipline, fighting power, and the never-say-die spirit.
It confirms the saying that problems and challenges are not to kill, but to toughen us up, and make us stronger.
The victory of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers over Hamilton Tiger Cats in the Grey Cup Final on Sunday November 24, 2019 made history as a remarkable watershed that separated pretenders from contenders.
It marked passive spectators from active players. It delineated weaklings from toughies. It distinguished chicken-hearted from the lion-hearted. It underscores the importance of the popular saying that some make good things happen, some watch those good things happen, while some others wondered what happened.
The current crop of players in the Winnipeg Blue Bombers team have all come fully loaded, and did deliver good and great things this year.
Never say die, no matter how bleak things look. Never ever give up or pack up. Refuse the bait of defeat. Whatever situation you are going through today, and in whatever stressful station of life you find yourself right now, always remember that it is not over until you intentionally declared it over.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ solid victory is today’s story and tomorrow’s all-time statutory and mandatory history that will become a repository of that satisfactory laboratory positively shaping the trajectory of the entire territory of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and beyond.
(❚ Dr. Sunday Akin Olukoju is the Director of Distance Education of Providence Theological Seminary, a community newspaper correspondent, and the president of a community organization)