With Labour Day in the rear view mirror and the summer barbeques coming to an end, it serves as an abrupt reminder that the autumn leaves are about to fall and the beautiful downtown Vancouver skyline will soon be blocked by clouds and mist.
Ironically, some may use the darker weather as a way to describe the BC Lions’ 65th season to date. As a proud Seattle native, defensive back TJ Lee is used to that bone-chilling rain. His response? It’s time to embrace it.
“It’s our time to shine,” says Lee.
“The receivers are going to be a bit more cautious of the ball. It’s going to be slippery, obviously not at home, but we just have to make sure the weather doesn’t alter how we want to play. As far as the weather goes, it’s the best time of the year. When it rains, the games are much more important.”
With a 3-6-0 record and four points separating them from a playoff spot heading into Saturday night’s home clash with the Ottawa Redblacks (6-4-0), Lee knows the second half must be memorable. The veteran halfback is confident they have the horses to go on a run.
“It will come down to how hard we work,” explains Lee.
“It may not look like it, but we’re detail oriented and we work hard. I feel like most teams when they get to the second half lack those fundamentals or details. We have those, as well as the athletes in this room.”
As one of the elder statesmen in that secondary, it is refreshing to know he still has sky-high hopes for 2018. It all starts tonight against a hungry Ottawa Redblacks squad trying to pull away from the pack in a tight East Division. Quarterback Trevor Harris has some elite weapons at his disposal including running back William Powell and a solid two-headed monster at receiver in Greg Ellingson and Brad Sinopoli. Lee and the defence is expecting one of their big tests yet.
“Yeah, it is,” agrees the former Eastern Washington Eagle.
“We know how they play. They’re going to take what we give them in terms of the short routes and stuff. We need to be more stout on second and long and then on first down make those tackles. We need to generate some kind of turnovers and a short field for our offence. It’s a confidence booster when you can play at home. You don’t want to disappoint your fans. That should give you more of a push to get a win.”
As a member of the 2015 Redblacks team that got hot after Labour Day and went on to an appearance in the Grey Cup, running back Jeremiah Johnson is ready to prove the doubters wrong.
“It’s straight prime time football,” stated Johnson.
“It’s either win or go home and I’m not just saying this next game, I’m saying it for all. It’s going to get a little pressure, it’s going to get a little tight. A lot of guys are going to show their true colours and some guys are going to prevail.”
Bring on the misty weather: autumn is truly where the champions are born.