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Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Ian Logan and Brady Browne pose for their picture with the CFL's Grey Cup trophy during their team breakfast in Vancouver.


Good morning, a grey morning, the grey sky is set to unleash rain on the city. It's been a relatively dry November, in what's normally the rainforest's wettest month. The Grey Cup Festival gets going today, with perennial drinking favourites such as Riderville opening (with a $20 cover) at the Convention Centre at 5 p.m. PT. The Blakes-sponsored after party for tonight's CFL awards, also at the convention centre, is sold out.

To maintain thematic consistency, we move from yesterday's blog about sex-before-football to the topic of touching of trophies. As Canadian sports fans know, there are widespread superstitions about fondling trophies before they are won, and their hoisting, kissing, drinking from, dropping, etc, earned.

The effective ban on touching before marriage is most prominent in the NHL, at least based on a Google search of "trophy touching." Thinking from a recent Vancouver perspective, the Swedish twins who star for the hockey team at Rogers Arena across from BC Place refused, as is tradition, to even glance at the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl when they won it by thumping San Jose 4-1 last May.

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(Fat load of good it did the Canucks, who blew 2-0 and 3-2 series leads against Boston.)

Sidney Crosby took the try-both-methods method. In 2008, the 20-year-old dutifully eschewed the Prince of Wales Trophy and thereafter lost the Cup to Detroit. So in 2009, the 21-year-old made a show of claiming the Eastern Conference hardware, and lo, that single act (clearly) won the Pens the Cup in their rematch versus the Wings.

The respect-for-the-chastity-of-trophies, or something like that, is a CFL thing, too, where the Grey Cup's nearly a centenarian.

Doug Brown had an anecdote about trophy touching at the Bombers team breakfast Thursday morning at the Hyatt. The voluble 6-foot-8, 290-pound Winnipeg defensive tackle plans to retire after Sunday's Grey Cup. In his last Grey Cup, losing in 2007, he had a Bombers high nine tackles as he took it to Saskatchewan in a 23-19 defeat.

"Believe me, I know all about the superstition," the local New Westminster/Simon Fraser University kid said, when asked about it, with the note that he had lifted the Eastern crown last Sunday.

Brown's story was of an American footballer who came north in 2009 and didn't know of Grey Cup superstitions. This player- left unnamed by Brown- "not only touched the Grey Cup, he got his picture taken touching the Grey Cup."

This, the player learned, was "poison."

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And Brown, smiling, pointed to the proof of the 2009 results, " not one of the fondest" seasons for the Bombers (7-11, third in East, missed playoffs as B.C., last in West, got in at 8-10).

He then mentioned a TSN promo he just did, with the Cup. His hands near, but not touching. Like what the teachers try to enforce at junior high school dances.

"You only touch the Grey Cup," counselled Brown, "if you earn it."

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About the Author
National correspondent, Vancouver bureau

David Ebner is a national correspondent based in Vancouver. He joined The Globe and Mail in 2000 and worked in Toronto and Calgary before moving to Vancouver in 2008. He has reported on a wide range of stories – business, politics, arts, crime – and has covered sports since 2012. More

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