Thursday I had the chance to take the family down to check out Mark's Fan Week. I'll admit that my experience as a father taking his boy was very different that it would have been had I gone on my own but I think the CFL was able to deliver something that appealed to everyone from families to childless beer enthusiasts.
For families, there were a ton of kid-friendly, hands on activities, a flag football session and a chance to meet the players who their their eyes are second only in awesomeness to their father (i assume). For adults there was the Grey Cup, the command centre, a "you make the call challenge", beer gardens, and autographs. It was also a great chance for fans from across the league who may only know each other by their on-line monikers to get together. From my perspective it was everything that is great about the CFL (minus the actual football).
I enjoyed getting to play around with the actual command centre replay equipment. Though admittedly I spent a lot of my time trying to find the button that brought cartoons up in place of the replay angles, as that is the only logical explanation for some of the calls this past season. I also enjoyed seeing a truly CFL moment as Chad Owens and Henoc Mumaba we approach by fans for a photo in front of the Tim Hortons kiosk while clearly trying to quickly grab a bite to eat. They of course happily agreed. I can't see the same level of approachability existing in other sport leagues.
The other amazing thing is that a photo emerged showing that Chris Jones owns blue jeans. To me this was a shocking revelation.
As much of a success as this event was (I mean the CFL got a ton pf press in mid-March, something that previously would have only occurred if it involved charges being laid or a franchise in danger of folding). I think there is a lot of room to build and expand on this event. Hopefully the becomes the first in a long line of these events. Its a great way to engage the fans the nurture that strong connection they have with the players that makes this league so special.