Labour Day. A day to relax, take a load off and reset. It’s also one of the most special days of the year for fans of the Canadian Football League.
For decades, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts have waged war on the football field on the first Monday of September.
The CFL’s Labour Day weekend tradition also includes games between Edmonton and Calgary, and Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, and while those rivalries are intense, they are just not the same as Hamilton versus Toronto.
Folks out west will argue that their rivalry is far superior to the southern Ontario showdown, but from an emotional and psychological standpoint, I disagree.
There may be some bad blood between Calgary and Edmonton, and ill will between Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, but it pales in comparison to the hate-on Hamilton has for Toronto — on and off the football field.
Ask any Ticats fan which game on the schedule means the most to them and the answer is always Labour Day. If they could only celebrate one victory out of the 18-game regular season, it would be Labour Day.
Hamilton and Toronto are separated by less than 100 kilometres and the traditional blue-collar Steeltown is always trying to wiggle out from underneath the massive shadow that is cast by the predominantly white-collar megacity.
One way to burst out of the shadows is to win on Labour Day when an entire nation of pigskin purists are fixated on what is happening in Hamilton. The Tiger-Cats have done so more often than not, winning 34 of their 48 Labour Day meetings against the Argos.
This Labour Day is no different. It is us against them. Steeltown vs. the Big Smoke. Win, or wait an entire year to seek revenge.