Friday would have been the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ home opener, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the players and fans wish they could be down at IG Field raising a championship banner, one of the team’s stars says the Bombers are just waiting to see what happens like everyone else.
“You try not to dwell on the negatives,” veteran linebacker Adam Bighill told 680 CJOB.
“We all understand where we are currently, with the things that are going on with COVID. It’s a bummer… we really should be playing the home opener, raising the banner, and really setting it off.”
Bighill said the unprecedented situation with the pandemic has been troubling for everyone, not only the CFL and its players.
“We’re going to have to find a way as partners with this league … ways to work together as a team.
“We’ve seen across the other sports leagues and the negotiations they’re having, so I don’t anticipate us to be any different.”
Despite the unexpected time off, Bighill has kept up on his training, going so far as to pull a 32,000 lb dump truck with a full trailer back in late May.
“I haven’t done any more big pulls. I did have an offer from someone to see if I wanted to pull a house, so that might be next.
“I enjoy the training and the journey aspect of that as much as playing,” he said.
“It’s been a lot of fun. Maybe I can pull out another interesting pull to get things exciting for the fans.”
Bombers president Wade Miller said earlier in June that he’s found CFL fans — particularly those in Winnipeg — to be supportive of the league’s efforts during the current crisis.
“Our fans have been extremely supportive,” he said. “Our season-ticket members have been overwhelmingly supportive in Winnipeg and across the country, along with our corporate partners.
“We need to do this all together and make it happen. It’s a tough time and I can fully appreciate why players are frustrated. Absolutely.”
This past season was a big one for the 31-year-old Washington native, and not only because of the Bombers’ historic drought-ending championship.
Bighill made headlines on both sides of the border when he called out U.S. talk show host Wendy Williams for insensitive comments about people with cleft lips.
Both Bighill himself, as well as his infant son, Beau, were born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, and his advocacy drew international attention to the issue.
The end result was a formal apology from Williams, who also pledged that her show would donate to Operation Smile Canada and the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association.
Beau, Bighill said, had surgery last week and is recovering like a champ.
“He had his palate repaired last Wednesday, and he’s recovered really well.
“We’re really proud of him with how he’s been taking it, and he’s made it a lot easier on mom and dad, that’s for sure.
“He’ll have a couple more surgeries, but he’s done until he’s at least 5 to 7 years old, so we have a good amount of time now to just relax and let him grow up.”
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