CFL Pass

All in this Together: Staying connected with #HowICFL

With the situation we’ve all found ourselves in over the last few weeks due to COVID-19, finding ways to stay connected with our friends and family has been imperative as we practice social distancing.

As we all try and deal with this new reality for the foreseeable future, a CFL fan decided to use social media – a place where you can connect and talk to anyone in the world with the press of a button – to help bring people together.

David Gornto sent out a tweet from his account last Monday, March 16. He posted a photo of a Montreal Alouettes jersey that he deems magic – the Als were winning games when he donned the jersey while watching last season – with the following message: “I miss @CFL and want every Monday to take a break from what is making me nervous/anxious with something I love, football. Will you join me and share a picture and use #HowICFL. The @MTLAlouettes jersey that carries a lot of magic! #CFLFamily”

“I always think about the CFL, as crazy as that sounds,” Gornto said over the phone on Tuesday from his home in East Tennessee. “I miss it. I miss football and was ready for football.”

Gornto was missing the three-down game and sent out the tweet. He then logged off Twitter and went into an administrators meeting, he is an assistant principal at a middle school, to discuss what they were going to do moving forward. Little did he know, his message was starting to catch on.

“I really thought that I would get out of that meeting and look and have like, three or four notifications, and it was just completely lit up,” he said. “I mean, I had no idea it would take off the way it has.”

The CFL’s social media crew caught wind of the tweet and decided to send one out themselves, asking for fans to share their CFL fandom using Gornto’s hashtag. He said he had a few hashtags in mind before settling on the #HowICFL. It was short and sweet, and wouldn’t take up too many characters so he could write longer tweets to go along with it.

Since then, the league has continued to encourage fans to tweet and use that hashtag.

Other fans across the country have also put out their own call-to-actions, like REDBLACKS’ superfan Jacqueline, who asked everyone to post their CFL-themed, work-from-home outfits on Monday to start the week on a positive note.

CFL players began to use the hashtag as well, posting their at-home workouts or one of the many challenges circulating the internet.

“I put a tweet out there if it wasn’t for the whole CFL family and the CFL, it would have gone nowhere,” Gornto said. “I mean, the CFL League, you all are the ones that kind of picked it up and tweeted it out and really got everybody going.

“It is pretty, pretty cool when I looked and I saw James Wilder Jr, who is my second favorite CFL player, when he tweeted it out. I was just like, ‘that’s just the coolest thing in the world.'”

In a time where everyone is being told to stay far apart, social media is helping us feel close together and the CFL is encouraging everyone to continue to use the hashtag #HowICFL to keep that feeling going.

“It’s just that connection where I know, even though I’m stuck in the house here, I know that, just as cheesy as it sounds, (people are) just a keyboard away,” said Gornto. “There are hundreds of people that you can reach out to at any moment and talk about anything with.

“The great thing is when you look at the people, the CFL fans and the CFL family, I mean, they are always very accessible and very open to talk about anything and always there for you.”