IGF hosts more than Bomber fans
LAURA HAYWARD, CONTRIBUTOR
His green and gold might look out of place at Investors Group Field (IGF), but Jim Giesbrednt feels right at home.
Giesbrednt was one of the first few fans to arrive at IGF before the Winnipeg Blue Bombers took on the Edmonton Eskimos on Oct. 3. Though he’s not a Winnipeg fan, Giesbrednt didn’t have to travel far to see his favourite team play.
The die-hard fan lives in Winnipeg and has cheered on the Eskimos since 1950.
Giesbrednt began following the team at six years old when he first watched Jackie Parker play quarterback, halfback and defensive back for Edmonton. Now, Giesbrednt said he follows the Eskimos across Canada whenever he has the chance. So far, he’s traveled to Regina, Hamilton and Edmonton to back his team.
When asked why he cheers against his city’s team, the Winnipegger chuckled.
“I hate the Bombers,” he said. “I tried out [for the Bombers] at 19-years-old and got cut.”
Giesbrednt said he hopes his family will adopt his Eskimos fandom. He’s already converted his son and said he brought his grandson Bradley to the Oct. 3 game to continue the family tradition.
After Edmonton won the game 24-23, Giesbrednt said he hopes to see his team in the Grey Cup final, which will be held at IGF on Nov. 29.
“If Edmonton makes it to the Grey Cup, then I’ll be attending for sure,” he said.
Giesbrednt isn’t the only anti-Blue Bombers fan who’s coming to Winnipeg in November.
The Steele family was at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg on Oct. 3 to watch their son Eddie Steele play defensive tackle for Edmonton. Everyone in the family wore Steele’s number 97 jersey, green and gold hats and beaded necklaces.
The family said they travel to as many Eskimos games as they can, but they love watching football even when their favourite player isn’t on the field.
“We already have our Grey Cup tickets purchased,” said Leroy Steele, who said the family will go regardless of which teams make the final.
It seems plenty of fans across the CFL don’t mind traveling for the love of the game.
Saskatchewan Roughrider supporters filled IGF and counted for a substantial part of the 35,156 fans at this year’s Banjo Bowl. And when the Bombers take on Ottawa in Winnipeg’s last home game of the 2015 season on Oct. 24, there will likely be a few Redblacks fans in the crowd.
This article is one of a two-part series from The Projector. We’ve sent two first-year Creative Communications students to Winnipeg Blue Bombers games before the Grey Cup final comes to Winnipeg this November. Watch for next week’s issue when Matt Alcock writes about his IGF experience.
Edit: Oct.18 at 4:20pm – touched up for CP style
Edit: Oct. 19 at 12:30pm – tweaked for clarification