Football Sports

Thirteen years later, Alouettes fans rejoice once again

The Montreal Alouettes defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 28-24 in the 110th Grey Cup final.

The 110th Grey Cup, held on Nov. 19 in Hamilton, was a thriller. The Montreal Alouettes quarterback Cody Fajardo found wide receiver Tyson Philpot with only 13 seconds remaining to give the Alouettes the win by a final score of 28-24. This win came at the expense of the heavily favourite Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who beat Montreal in both of their regular-season matchups.

Thousands of Montreal Alouettes fans attended the team’s victory parade last Wednesday. It was the first championship parade in the city since 2010, the Alouettes’ last Grey Cup win. Following safety Marc-Antoine Dequoy’s emotional post-game speech, Quebec flags filled the Quartier des Spectacles’ Parterre, where the final celebrations took place.

The underdog mentality

“To see [the Alouettes] play this year was a model of courage and tenacity,” said Claire, a lifelong Alouettes fan. This victory is the sweetest she experienced: “…nobody thought they would win, and they did,” she said with emotion. 

Another fan by the name of René, has been getting season tickets for over ten years during the early 2000s. However he did not have a lot of faith earlier in this season. When the Alouettes won their last five regular-season games, he started believing in the team’s chances. “Even if they played a good game in Hamilton and lost, it would have been a good accomplishment. But they were able to win, so it is incredible,” he said.

The team in elation

Only one player from the 2010 championship-winning team was still with the Alouettes this year, former Concordia Stingers player Kristian Matte, and it was a special moment for the guard. “I have been playing football for 30 years. It is the first time I won a championship as a starter,” he said in an interview with The Concordian, “so for me, it is an incredible and unforgettable feeling, and we have the best fans in the world.” 

Defensive back Raheem Wilson had similar feelings and said it was the best moment in his football career. Luc Brodeur-Jourdain, the current offensive line coach and former CFL All-Star centre for the Alouettes, won two Grey Cups as a player with the team. He felt the same joy as when he had won as a player himself. “From the moment you step on the field, yes [it is the same feeling],” he said. “You’re like a kid; you feel the emotions.” 

For general manager Danny Maciocia, this win is the consecration of a stellar career. He won the 2005 Grey Cup as the head coach of the now Edmonton Elks and stopped Université Laval’s hegemony in the RSEQ as the head coach of the Université de Montréal Carabins. “It’s probably the number one [career accomplishment] on my list by far,” he said. “As a Montrealer who grew up watching the Alouettes, it doesn’t get any better than this.”

Mark Weightman, the president and CEO of the Alouettes, was slightly more nuanced. “Every time you win a championship, it’s always gonna be the top, so I would put it right there with all the other rings,” he said. A Concordia alumnus, Weightman first joined the Alouettes in 1996. He worked his way up the team’s hierarchy, eventually becoming president and CEO in 2013, until he was replaced in 2016. He came back to his old role earlier this year.

Arts and Culture

PARADE: Embodying authenticity

Inspired by Dior’s intimate fashion shows of the 1950’s, Centre PHI hosts a celebration of inhibition.

A runway, but no models. A public that doesn’t know what to expect. A funny yet moving performance. Dancers in wedding gowns, rubber rings and underwear. A drag queen singing a cappella. Wigs, hats, high heels and bare chests. These were some of the ingredients to the recipe of PARADE.

Configuration of the space, Centre PHI, PARADE. Photo by Maya Ruel / The Concordian

PARADE, advertised as a playful and experimental performance by its creators, was hosted at Centre PHI on the night of Sept. 21. The public had been promised something unusual—a mash-up of dancing, singing, drag, fashion and much more. Yet nothing could have prepared the audience for the level of artistic freedom displayed on the runway.

“It’s a celebration,” explained Frederick Lalonde, producer of PARADE. “It’s about identity: without any shame or inhibition—who is your true self? We tried to answer that question through the artists’ performance.”

The idea of PARADE first came to creative initiator Carole Prieur during the pandemic. The project had been in the works for at least three years on the night of the performance. The inspiration for it came in part from Dior’s fashion shows in Paris in the 1950s, which often took place in apartments, and from the urge the pandemic created to reinvent oneself. It started out as a small project, likely to be presented in the privacy of an apartment, among friends only, but as it grew and brought more and more artists together, Prieur and Lalonde decided to take a different approach and made the show open to the public.

The public was driven to feel a whole range of emotions during the show: guest artist Klo Pelgag’s rendition of Voyage, Voyage had some people pulling out their handkerchiefs, while other segments made the public laugh out loud by their sheer provocation and absurdity. At times, the sexual tension on stage was so palpable that everyone seemed to be holding their breath. All masks fell—there was only authenticity in the showroom, on the part of performers and audience alike. For an hour, in this Old Montreal venue, anything was possible.

Chi Long performing at PARADE. Photo by Maya Ruel / The Concordian

The artists’ performances were vulnerable, open and fluid. The performers offered themselves wholeheartedly to the audience, inviting viewers  to abandon themselves in return. Since the show took place on a runway, the performers moved through the crowd, transforming the experience into something very personal through eye contact and physical proximity. Sometimes, a gown or a wig would even brush against a spectator’s leg.

The idea of a “celebration” evoked by the producer took on its full meaning when, at the end of the show, the dancers invited everyone in the room to come and dance with them on the runway. People of all ages, sexes, genders and ethnicities stood and crowded onto the dancefloor, swaying to the beat of the music, glued together, smiling, their heads full of art and freedom. It may well have been the most authentic and touching performance of the evening.

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