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Saturday Night At The Pitch |  Journalism

Saturday Night At The Pitch | Journalism

This is my favorite photo of Montreal. From our seats we have a view of the treetops looking out over the North Stand, their silhouette contrasting with the blue sky shimmering with orange reflections, and, above the perfectly squared lawn, the pearly mast of the Olympic Stadium, the Imperial, to our left.

Albert Camus said, “Nowhere in the world is a person happier than on the football field.” Journalist and analyst Vincent Destouches recalls this in his book From impact to CF Montreal, which looks back on the 30-year history of our professional football team and was recently published by Éditions de l’Homme. It is not I who will contradict the Nobel Prize for Literature.

“It will be 20 degrees on Saturday!” Sun, who is not used to paying attention to the weather, pointed this week to me. It’s not a rejection after a week of rain. We’re lucky: every Saturday game since the start of the season we’ve had good weather.

We have been going to Saputo Stadium more and more over the past few years. We’ve taken the leap. I bought 2 subscriptions to this team and I will never stop calling the effect. It’s my Régie des alcools, my liqueur commission, my Perry de Montigny…

Since we’re all in, our little habits are on their way to becoming rituals. We leave home after a quick dinner. It is Viston, his education permit in his pocket, that leads to the outskirts of Maisonneuve-Parc, which we cross on foot to the stadium. A strategy to review at the end of the evening, when it gets dark in the park. You can’t tell the water fountain from the fox from the rooftops.

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I love this walk, almost as much as I love the game. Even if it is mostly silent. It reassures me to align my step with my son. It’s a reminder that we’re still in sync, in tune, despite the passage of time and the harsh, inevitable feeling I get the older I get, say I have to seem to a boy of about 17. He walks faster and faster. I adjust my pace to follow him.

I’ve always loved “going to the field”. I have old memories of the mania at Olympic Stadium, the Supra at Claude Robillard Stadium, the sway at the Big O and at Saputo Stadium (even at the Molson Center).

You have witnessed joyful victories and defeats, victories and disappointments. Spirited games drew over 50,000 spectators in the early 1980s and mid-2000s, and lackluster games in the early 1990s were played in front of only a few hundred fans.

I saw one of my childhood idols, Alessandro Nesta, play in blue, white and black, and the most formidable opponent of my career was Mauro Bello. Shook with Marco Di Vaio, Didier Drogba and Ignacio Biatti. Yet there is nothing in the wide spectrum of feelings these great players have inspired me with, beyond the simple fact of finding myself on the field at a match with one of my boys. win or lose.

We’d clearly rather jump for joy, one arm in arm, and the incredible ecstasy that Rommel Cueto had just scored in stoppage time, than shyly return from a packed Olympic stadium after losing the Champions League final to Club America.

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Victory is always better. However, for me, the outcome is never as important as the match experience itself. Of these few hours of complicity shared with my son.

He may not see things the same way. Veston is a true CF Montreal fan, aware of the latest club news, trade and transfer rumours, results (in real time) of other MLS matches and their immediate impact on the standings.

Saturday, for us, is now Football Night. We watch matches on TV when they are played abroad. Otherwise, we’re in the ballpark. Yesterday, we were there to see Patrice Bernier, our eternal leader, enter the Wall of Fame. Next Saturday, we’ll be there to see Toronto FC get screwed (when it comes to Toronto, the exception proves the rule: the score matters to me).

I find myself hoping that this new ritual will turn into a tradition. That in 10, 15, or 20 years, we’ll still find ourselves on the field alongside Sonny and me. Watching the sunset on the north platform, after crossing Maisonneuve Parc, at the same pace.