Archive for June 11th, 2013

New Canadian Football League Franchise Is Born, Ottawa REDBLACKS.

Congratulations are in order.  Finally, a CFL team will once again compete in the Eastern division in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, along with Montreal, Toronto and Hamilton.

Rob Joachim, a young die-hard Ottawa Rough Rider fan in the early 80’s informed me about the launch last week.  Then, I just received a Facebook notice from Santino Filoso,of REDBLACK Nation since I was in the group Bring the CFL back to Ottawa. Why would a former National Football League Philadelphia Eagle Eaglette Cheerleader be interested in the Canadian Football League?

Here is why.

Back in 1980, my former husband began his Professional Football career in Ottawa. On a recommendation from Coach Wayne Hardin, who was the Head Football coach at Temple University, Pat signed a contract. It was Pat’s former Division 1 football team, who he played right guard, started 4 years at Varsity. Coach George Brancato from the CFL was in Philadelphia at Coach Hardin’s office looking for an offensive lineman. A phone call was made to my household. Pat and I drove to Temple’s football office quickly as we were living 15 minutes from the University. Pat came out 45 minutes later and said, ”I signed with the Rough Riders.” I replied in grief, “No, no, I am not going up to Saskatchewan, why didn’t you come out and ask me?” “Donna, it is in Ottawa, only a 8 hour drive straight north.” You see back in 1980 there were two Rough Rider teams, one spelled with one word and the other with two words. He had a tryout, to the team that spelled in two words. I was a Physical and Health education teacher in the Philadelphia School District back then. Pat went to the Rough Riders training camp, an injury occurred to an offensive tackle, West Philips, as I recall. Pat now had made the 11 import roster from the US that was only allowed in the CFL. Now, Pat is starting left tackle for the Ottawa Rough Riders. The Strong side of the O line due to the QB’s Jordan Case, Conredge Holloway. and J.C. Watts being right-handed, Jordan Case, well is my son’s is his namesake.  BTW, Pat would neutralize Junior Ah You  All star Defensive end from the Montreal Alouttes every game.  You see Pat had a tryout with the Alouttes a few months before in Raleigh, North Carolina.  They weren’t interested in Pat’s skills. Pat would get siked every game he played against Montreal. Yes, there is another one of those stories.

I packed up the household items in a U-Haul truck and off we went to Ottawa. What a beautiful City it is.

As I glanced at the field of Professional Cheerleaders in Ottawa in 1980, my imagination began to flourish.  Could I bring an NFL style Professional Cheerleaders to Canada’s capital?  The current cheerleaders were performing pyramids on the field.

Enter the Ottawa Rough Riders Rhythm Riders Cheerleaders.

In 1981, the Rhythm Riders were born. I was now the Director and Choreographer of the team’s new cheerleader/dance team. In that same year, the 69th Grey Cup or as I called it the Superbowl of Canada was being held in Montreal. The Ottawa Rough Riders were the Eastern Division winners lead by QB J.C. Watts (former US Congressman) and Edmonton Eskimos lead by QB Warren Moon were the Western Division winners. It is considered one of the top ten Grey Cups in history. As the 22 point underdog the Ottawa Rough Riders lost the game in the final three seconds. Edmonton had kicked a field goal. Final Score 26-23 Edmonton.

Pat played three years in Ottawa, ,as his option year was finished and returned to the States to sign with a New League, the USFL Boston Breakers.

But, part of my heart of hearts will always lie in Ottawa.  It is carefully placed on the center line grass on Frank Clair Stadium in Landsdown Park between the two 50 yard markers. The field is much larger than the National Football League, only a three down game, exciting Pro Football, Canadian style.

It all starts again in 2014.  Maybe I will petition the former Rhythm Riders Cheerleaders that graced Landsdown Park together for an Alumni Charity event.. Some of the former Cheerleaders still meet once a month for 3 decades as they called it Dinner Club. It includes Natalie St. Amour,. Debbie Guilbeault, Debbie Madden,Gayle Brennan (Mash), Louise Mongeon and Lucille Warren (Mondeau).  (Thanks Natalie! As I was just informed me the Dinner Club meets Thursday night), They are forever a family. Currently, the 65th Anniversary Celebration of the Eaglettes is in the planning stages. (The Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League had their first cheerleaders in 1948.) I was an Eaglette in the late 70’s. at the Vet in South Philly.

As I can implement social media format choreography can be learned and the staging can come at a later time. Girls, you must to begin that boot camp now. Heed the warning. Remember our infamous Kickline.  Anything is possible when there are passionate Football fans such as the City of Ottawa entertains.

Again, Congratulation to the Ottawa Rouge et Noir.

Ottawa REDBLACKS Wiki Link


Below,The Promo video of the REDBLACKS. Also, the Ottawa Rough Riders Rhythm Rider Cheerleaders Pregame performance, 1981′

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