Chapters logo


A memoir of an Empire

By Noelle Spaulding Published 2 months ago 3 min read

September, 2019:

Commonwealth Stadium is minimalist: Grey and concrete, lined with typical concession stands, and occasional pops of green and gold. Little has changed in its forty years, with the exception of a few technological aspects. The menus at the concessions are digital, and they have little TVs that display the current game so those out of their seats miss nothing. I’m still getting used to the new jumbo-tron, but my Dad boasts about remembering games from before they installed the first one. But, of course, he also remembers the stadium being constructed. I’ll never get to reminisce about what Commonwealth was like in the eighties, but I grew up in it just like he did. I savour the smell of spilled liquor, the taste of overpriced hot dogs, and, lately, obey the siren call of “Cooold beerrr!”

I’m wide awake in my oversized green jersey and blue jeans, which I know I’ll spill on. Up-tempo music says it’s showtime; the cheerleaders launch their opening routine; the players race on to Brick Field through the giant blow-up helmet. Our voices meld together with all those around us, and the population becomes one heart that bleeds as green and gold as the fireworks booming overhead. The score goes back and forth all game: And our spirits will only rise.

My old man and I are two of the world’s loudest people; we can quiet a room with a single word. My “go hard or go home” mentality for all things comes from him; but I can’t hold a candle. In all my extracurricular activities growing up, I never had to look for him in the crowd; my ears knew exactly where he was. I’d also wager, that the center ref for the Labour Day rematch who (in his thick Québécois accent) describes a play being obscured by “a bunch of guys”, can hear distinct howls of laughter above the rest. We’re all hoarse by the end of the third quarter, but the spirit of comradery allows us to “tell the world we’re proud of Edmonton, and the Edmonton Eskimos!”

We watch the rest of the game in agonizing suspense, especially in the final play. Calgary throws one last ball, and all they need is one catch to win. Our guy tackles their receiver as the ball reaches his hands, but no one can see the fumble. The center ref blows the game over whistle before calling the play, and forces the crowd of thousands to hold their hearts in their throats. When the fumble is declared, making Edmonton victorious, we slump breathlessly into our seats; But the announcement which invites us to walk on the field renews our energy.

The turf is cold and wet from being rained on earlier that day. When I try to pull some out, only bits of rubber get caught in my nails. The golden double Es at centerfield are crowded, but they aren’t hard to get to; perfect strangers are magically on the same page about sharing this moment. Everyone soaks in the experience in their own way: Children play tag; girls show off cartwheel skills; couples share kisses so sweet the world slows around them; everyone takes selfies. I stare up at the giant black speaker suspended above me. The dome I’ve always known is a flat circle from centerfield view; which I obviously guessed, but childlike curiosity wanted confirmation. That’s when I realize Dad is paying more attention to me than anything else. He doesn’t interrupt me, or get me to look at anything, or try to tell me some story from his day. He just lets me have mine.


About the Creator

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2024 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.