Zahra Ehsani considers herself “lucky” in more ways than one after taking in her first Saskatchewan Roughrider game this past weekend.
The 37-year-old woman born in Iran was introduced to the sights and sounds of the Canadian Football League (CFL) during the recent Labour Day Classic at Mosaic Stadium, and they didn’t disappoint.
“One of my friends who has seasonal tickets invited me to come here, and I was so excited but I didn’t know anything about Canadian football because it’s not common in my country, actually … we (call) soccer football in my country,” Ehsani said.
“When I went to this stadium and I saw the huge stadium with lots of fans that you can see all just came here to watch the game and you have a chance to come here with your family, kids.”
The defending champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers handed the Green and White their first loss of the 2021 season by a score of 23-8 on Sept. 5 in front of 32,975 fans.
“Winnipeg won but I want to say that I am one of Riders’ fans and although they couldn’t win, I am proud of them,” Ehsani said.
“Unfortunately, they didn’t do well for this game but I love them.”
The Regina resident said she cherishes the opportunities since coming to Canada in 2019 and considers herself to be one of the lucky ones — especially after losing her left leg as a child.
“I was nine (years old) and one day when I came back from that academy that I was learning English. I had an (car) accident and my knee was broken and after two months the doctor told me that I had a bone cancer and he told my parents that I would die after a month,” Ehsani said.
“Fortunately, I survived. And I had so tough time those days, I had to do chemotherapy and I lost my leg and I had to deal with my prosthesis … that was so tough for me and my parents but fortunately, I was so powerful and I am a good fighter.
“I was so lucky because the doctor told me that car accident showed the cancer sooner, so maybe I had a chance to start my chemotherapy sooner … I’m so grateful, actually in all of my life, and I’m just trying to change bad things to good things.”
Ehsani is pursuing her second master’s degree through the University of Regina’s industrial systems engineering program. And while she started learning about CFL football just 11 days ago, Ehsani said she’s already a Rider fan for life.
“Yes! … I bought the T-shirt and a hat and I’m ready to go to the stadium for all of those games!” she said.
Saskatchewan and Winnipeg face each other again on Saturday in the Banjo Bowl.