A Winnipeg Blue Bombers superfan living deep in enemy territory is ready to show his true colours with a new lawn sign, coming straight from the team itself.
Former Winnipegger Cory Szczepanski reached out to the Bombers via Twitter on Monday, asking if the team could hook him up with one of the ‘For the W’ signs that are popping up throughout Winnipeg.
A Bombers die-hard, Szczepanski told 680 CJOB he’s been living 30 minutes outside of Regina for the past five years, and despite the intense rivalry between his hometown team and the Saskatchewan Roughriders, he’s determined to represent the Blue and Gold, even if it horrifies his friends and neighbours – who know him as the “Bomber guy.”
“The rivalry is real, and it’s more than you could ever imagine,” he said.
“Being here for five years, all the looks in grocery stores, the chats, the conversation starters… the rivalry is deep, and it’s not just during the Banjo Bowl or on a Labour Day game. This is 365 days a year.”
Szczepanski said he originally moved west for work, and he’s been impressed by the depth of football knowledge that the Riders fans he’s surrounded by display.
“Every fan you meet is some kind of statistician, and not just of their own team,” he said.
“I don’t mean to talk down about them, but it’s all they have. The Riders have been it for them for so long.”
Szczepanski said he was blown away by the fact the team responded to his request for a sign, and although people on social media are suggesting the Bombers send him even more Winnipeg gear, he’s happy with just the lawn sign.
“As far as I know, I’m only receiving a lawn sign… but that’s more than awesome to me,” he said.
“I can’t believe that the team did reach out to me and is going to send me something here. It makes me even more proud (to be a Bomber fan).”
Although most of his interactions with Rider fans have involved good-natured ribbing –and he expects that to increase with the lawn sign — he has occasionally wondered if wearing Bombers colours in a sea of green is a safe idea.
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A playoff game last year, which resulted in a runaway Winnipeg victory, was one of the few occasions where he considered toning down his Bombers fandom.
“I was fortunate enough that one of my friends with season tickets allowed me to go to that game,” he said.
“When I got there, the crew of Rider fans I was sitting with were more than shocked that a Bomber fan was gonna be sitting with them for this game.
“When we started taking over that game and really winning, the ribbing started getting a little more rude. There were a couple of cheap shots thrown in there… I actually got a little worried for about five minutes there. I shut my mouth and I sat down.”
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