I have been very fortunate recently to attend a number of great sporting events throughout North America. Sometimes I take for granted that my professional life allows me to meet with teams and players that, at times, may seem unapproachable by others.
I began working with Mike Petrie (Calgary Stampeders – Director of Community and Media Relations) while working with a Saskatoon based company (http://zu.com) that was contracted to work with the Calgary Stampeders on their online initiatives. This relationship led to me consulting with the Stampeders on social media (and the eventual development of StampsConnect – http://stampsconnect.com) and really fueled my interest in expanding my network in the sports world. Through this relationship, I was able to get in touch with the BC Lions media relations department to line up an experience that, I’m sure, my Dad will never forget!
A BC Lions Fan from Saskatchewan?
To truly understand the unusual circumstances of this story, I have to take you back a number of years to when I was just a little kid. Growing up in Saskatchewan, it is pretty much assumed that you will be a Saskatchewan Roughrider fan for life. After all, they are our only professional sports team and for nearly 100 years, they have been the face of a vast province that has always been deemed an underdog competing against the “big cities” of Canada.
For as long as I can remember, my Dad has always been a BC Lions fan. As you can imagine, he has taken years of grief from family and friends for having loyalties that differ from everyone else in the province. And for a guy that has spent his whole life in Saskatchewan, and who had never been to Vancouver prior to this weekend, it is somewhat odd that he chose the Lions as his favorite team. But, regardless, the Lions are “his team” and when I saw that the Stampeders were going to be playing the Lions while I was in Vancouver, I made a point to see if I could make his experience one that he’d never forget.
Meeting the BC Lions
The day before the game, we ventured over to the BC Lions practice facility in Surrey, BC. I lined it up for my Dad to watch the practice and meet with some of his favorite players (Geroy Simon, Casey Printers, Paris Jackson).
Big thanks goes out to the following people for making all this happen:
Mike Petrie (Calgary Stampeders – Director of Community and Media Relations)
Jacqueline Blackwell (BC Lions – Communications Coordinator)
Jeff Armstead (InTheTunnel.com – Athlete websites & online marketing)
And, I have to give a big thanks to all of the players as well. For as long as I can remember, CFL players have always been very approachable and accommodating with their fans, and these guys were no exception. As you can see in a recent interview I did with Geroy Simon, many athletes are now starting to use social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and uStream) to connect directly with their fans. So, for anyone else that wants to have a conversation with or possibly meet their favorite players, they are now only a click away online!
Stay tuned for the Part 2 video – “BC Lions Experience – Game Day”