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2 and Out Podcast celebrates Gord Downie

Last week all of Canada woke up to news of Gord Downie, iconic frontman of The Tragically Hip, being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

To say the country was shocked to hear the news would be an absolute understatement. “The Hip” are the soundtrack of Rocky Mountain road trips, bush parties, long September nights on the combine, broken hearts and the last Stanley Cup win for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1967.

You could put Gord Downie on the Loonie and not one Canadian would blink an eye.

The Hip are a Canadian history lesson and they’ve inspired an entire generation. Red Deer’s own Ron MacLean’s piece on Gord puts his impact on Canada into words more effectively than I ever could.

Despite performing on Saturday Night Live in 1995 and hitting the stage at Woodstock 99, the Hip were never as popular south of the border as they were and are in Canada.

And they wouldn’t change a thing. Gord Downie and the Hip could have conformed to whatever was going on in music at the time but they stayed true, stuck to their guns and wrote about what they loved most: Canada.

In the latest episode of the 2 and Out CFL Podcast co-hosted by John Fraser and myself, we do our best to celebrate Gord Downie. It’s no lie that we drove from Edmonton to Vancouver for the 99th Grey Cup while listening to the entire Tragically Hip discography. Gord is no stranger to Grey Cups either, performing at the 92nd edition of the big game in Ottawa.

Courage is *exactly* what Gord Downie has after deciding to hit the road one more time to see the fans across the country. Thankfully, I have my ticket to see them one more time August 1st in Calgary.

John and I decided to assign a Tragically Hip song to each team in the CFL leading up to the season in our own little way of celebrating Gord Downie’s legacy.

Twist My Arm from “Road Apples” (BC Lions)

As in, “Twist My Arm, is what Jonathon Jennings did in 2015 real?”. As in the Lions can’t afford for Travis Lulay to hurt his shoulder should Jennings falter. Jennings and Lulay is a pretty good one-two punch but it’s one twist of the arm (like many teams) from being a rough situation in BC.

Pigeon Camera from “Fully Completely” (Calgary Stampeders)

Since Jon Hufnagel became the guy in Calgary, he has had an incredible deep roster. No matter how many injuries the team had, there was always another player waiting in the wings to step up and he’s made Dave Dickenson’s job very easy this season. Is it possible Huf had some carrier pigeons smuggling information to him from other teams?

So Hard Done By from “Day for Night” (Edmonton Eskimos)

Expectations are big in Edmonton following a Grey Cup win in Winnipeg this past November but should they be? Dexter McCoil, Shamawd Chambers, Otha Foster, Kendial Lawrence, Andrew Jones, Aaron Grymes, Ryan Hinds, Willie Jefferson, Brian Simmons, and Kenny Stafford have either joined new teams, new leagues, or just retired altogether. Oh, and Saskatchewan sniped their *entire* coaching staff. Coach Jason Maas and the Edmonton Eskimos just may very well be “so hard done by”.

The following two songs will be revealed in Episode 36 of the 2 and Out CFL Podcast which will be released on Friday, June 3rd. I don’t mind giving you a tease.

Looking for a Place to Happen from “Fully Completely” (Saskatchewan Roughriders)

Chris Jones may as well be searching for the Bismarck. The list of changes in Saskatchewan is a mile long and I expect programs in Regina to be a best-seller. The Riders are “looking for a place to happen” on their way to their new stadium in 2017.

Fully Completely from “Fully Completely” (Winnipeg Blue Bombers)

Andrew Harris, Weston Dressler, Ryan Smith, Justin Medlock, and Paul LaPolice. Not to mention a great draft class. Has Kyle Walters been able to right the wrongs of the Joe Mack era to create a “full and complete” team?

Next week, 2 and Out will match a Tragically Hip song with each team in the East Division. In the meantime, I’d like to say it’s clear that the Tragically Hip “reflects us all” just as much as the Canadian Football League.

– written by Travis Currah