My column today on the Roughriders closing practices to the fans has generated quite a bit of response — most of which is in agreement with head coach Corey Chamblin’s decision. Here is a sampling of the feedback I have received via e-mail (thoughts are included, but not the senders’ names) …
Had to write you a note on your column today. Thought it was a little over the top. And judging from responses on for example Rod’s blog and your own opinion poll the vast majority of the Nation agree with the Coach’s stance to lock things down.
I like to go to the odd practice for something to do but if taking this stance is going to lead to success on the field I am all for it.
What has changed in the last 5 years is the proliferation of social media and smartphones, etc. that allow idiots like the “fans” that did the postings. In the past people would attend, and they might notice things and perhaps phone a friend or talk about it at work but they would not post it on a blog or other social media that can be quickly accessed. There are so many things in life that are ruined by a few knuckledraggers….for example the few idiots that threw beer cans a few years ago resulted in the entire east side of the field being penalized. I used to be able to go up to the Art Gallery at SaskPower for lunch but now that is shut down due to security reasons and a couple of people going to the roof and jumping off. 911 idiots have resulted in extra costs and ridiculous security at airports. And on and on. So unfortunately in this case a few idiots have ruined it for others.
The few hundred that go to practices regularly are not going to be key determinants in a new stadium and certainly are not the main reason why we have been selling out for the last several years. Many are just retired people who go to practice for something to do. I am sorry but we are going to have to sacrifice their enjoyment for the good of the team. If fans are going to start asking for refunds because practices are closed then they are not really fans are they?
I just think you are missing the boat on this one and that the majority actually support the Coach and Hopson’s decision.
We fans and the press cry for change and a winner. When someone gives us change in an attempt to give us a winner we cry foul. it is refreshing to have a coach in charge who win or lose will be able to say I tried everything I knew. It is also interesting that so far the fans poll indicates they understand now for the press.
A lot of times the best decision is the unpopular one. Closing practice sessions to the public in Saskatchewan will never garner applause from the fan base. I feel extremely sorry for the longtime practice spectators who will be affected most. Apparently this extends to one of the greatest Rider legends, George Reed.
Rider fans do and should consider themselves true supporters and owners of the team. But they should also take on the responsibility of that level of commitment. I didn’t see the posts that initiated the ban. I have to trust the Rider coach’s evaluations of the risk and go with that. Perhaps the feelings of animosity should be directed toward the individual(s) who posted the sensitive information and not towards the Rider organization. The social, digital media’s power should not be underestimated. Unfortunately the means to correct the misuse of a completely impersonal way of communication may be by limiting old school, up front and in person contact.
Coach Chamblin’s decision is definitely an unpopular choice but likely the right one. The individual(s) who is responsible for posting also possesses a choice. Why not contact the Riders, come clean and maybe give the “railbirds” their time back?
Rob, don’t agree with you. If closing practices helps win only one game a year it is worth it.
A solution to this might be to get every fan that comes to practice sign an NDA or declaration that information will not be publicly disseminated. Failure to comply will result in cancellation of season tickets and or a ban from all future games. This should do it.
Thank you for your column today. You have managed to elegantly express my feelings. I am one of the “railbirds” that has sat at practices enduring snow storms and downpours to support the team. I have had season tickets ever since returning to Regina 14 years ago and support this club in any manner I can including the raffle and merchandise. I am recently retired and attending practices has become and enjoyable social event for me. (Now lost). I firmly believe Coach Chamblin has made a poorly thought out decision that is going to haunt this club.
I have written Mr. Hopson to express my feelings but must say that your column will do much more than one fans letter to the Mr. Hopson could ever accomplish.
Like, I suspect, most fans of the provincial Riders I do not agree with your article. If they feel they have to close practices to succeed then do it. The percentage of fans that feel they must attend every practice to be part of the fan base is very small compared to all of the fans of the Riders everywhere. I don’t think it is poor timing to close them now and, quite frankly, I expect them to do everything within their power to “just win baby”. I don’t travel to Regina to see them get the crap kicked out of them everytime they play a western team like last year.
As to your comment about how easy it is to have a “spy” watch the practices I doubt that any team would go to that length but to have it written for you and put on public display would, for some teams, be to easy to ignore.