It may come as no surprise to many, as a Hamiltonian living in Brampton, that I bleed Black and Gold. So what would be the factor involved in my decision to spend a few hours at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus photographing the Ti-Cats’ perennial rivals, the Toronto Argonauts, during a practice session?
Well, for the love of the Canadian game, I suppose, and a chance to get up nice and close without the need for media outlet accreditation. Communications director Eric Holmes was nice enough to e-mail me the suggestion of photographing the open practice since field access at home games is more strictly controlled by the team and the league.
The Argos were preparing for their Saturday night game against the BC Lions in Vancouver, an important match for both teams as they each attempt to slide comfortably into first place in their divisions.
Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray, in his first year with the Boatmen, led the squad through practice drills. Quiet and business-like, Ray took snaps as the offense ran plays.
Hawaiian-born Chad Owens, the Argos’ flamboyant wide receiver/kick returner, was all over the field. Despite being named the 2010 most outstanding special teams player, leading the CFL in punt, kickoff, missed field goal returns and all-purpose yards, I have a few reservations as to his ability to hang onto the football.
Owens mishandled a number of balls during the Argos’ game against Hamilton at Ivor Wynne but apparently made up for it, at least in the eyes of the highlight reel, with a one-arm catch across the middle late in the game. But even in practice, without the pressure of actual opponents , Owens’ apparent propensity to lose the football popped up a number of times, as I captured below on this punt return drill.
General Manager Jim Barker, below.
McMaster Marauder alumnus Chris Van Zeyl, Toronto’s offensive line tackle, is either enjoying the natural aspects of the U of T west campus or marking territory so that Tiger-Cats fans, like myself, won’t find themselves behind enemy territory again.