Naylor: Regina family cheering for "the wrong side"

David Naylor
11/25/2010 7:59:06 PM
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There aren't many homes in Regina that don't have a single Saskatchewan Roughrider item in them, especially at Grey Cup time.

But Phil and Norma Flory's is one of them.

It's not that they don't like football. They do, a lot.

In fact, all four of their sons played the game and each has at least one Vanier Cup ring from playing for the University of Saskatchewan. And Scott, Joel, Chris and Trevor all grew up cheering for the Roughriders, just like their friends did.

But all that changed a dozen years ago when Phil and Norma's third son, Scott, was drafted by the Montreal Alouettes. And now, for the second year in a row, the Flory's find themselves cheering for what people in Saskatchewan widely consider the wrong side of the Grey Cup match-up.

''I wouldn't call it the wrong side,'' said Flory, one of three Alouettes along with Ben Cahoon and Anthony Calvillo who will be playing in his eighth Grey Cup game on Sunday. ''I'm so happy where I'm at. Just because I'm from Saskatchewan doesn't mean I have to bleed green.''

Oh but he used to, just like everyone else in the football mad Prairie province.

And back in 1989 when the Roughrider captured their first Grey Cup in 23 years when Scott was a 13-year-old, he and his brothers ran into the streets to celebrate.

''It's something that's bred into you,'' said Flory. ''You're not given a choice when you grow up in that province.''

There was a time a few years back when Flory almost became a Roughrider. He'd played out his contract with Montreal to become a free agent, was about to sign on the dotted line and move home when he had second thoughts.

''That was an interesting time,'' said Flory. ''There was some pull but you learn from that situation you can't worry about what everyone else wants, I could only worry about me and my family.''

These days Scott calls La Belle Province his year-round home and aside from a visit to his parents' home at Christmas time, doesn't have to deal with Rider fans. And while his parents and brothers no longer count themselves among the Green Wave, other family members haven't changed their stripes so easily.

Which is why no matter what happens on Sunday there will be some interesting dynamics when Flory goes home this Christmas, just as their was a year ago.

''I've got a few family members, and I'm not going to mention names because I don't want them to have the satisfaction of seeing it in print, that are still die-hard rider fans,'' said Flory. ''But my (immediate) family, they know who to cheer for. But the people there care so much you can't get upset. It's just passion for the game.''

But that passion in Phil and Norma Flory's home is now expressed in the red, white and blue of Les Alouettes, as Scott has kept his parents well equipped with Montreal gear.

There have been lots of pro athletes who profess to still harbouring childhood loyalties to a particular team, even cheering for them as long as they're not playing against them.

It's something that's in them and can't be changed

But while Flory respects the passion Roughrider fans have for their team, his last drop of Rider Pride dried up a long time ago.

''I've got allegiances to the University of Saskatchewan and that's the only team I support,'' said Flory. ''And I'm not shy to say that.''

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