Looking back as we approach the 100th Grey Cup
It’s been a great and uniquely Canadian journey. Visiting 100 cities across Canada with the Canadian Football League (CFL), Cisco was proud to be the official technology partner of the CFL and the Grey Cup 100 Train Tour presented by RONA. This experience was rewarding, emotional and exciting for all of us involved with the Tour. We saw fans’ faces light up in Saskatchewan when their beloved Riders visited the train with them, in Toronto when Damon Allen greeted the Grey Cup at Union Station, and in all stops between.
On the train we were able to provide a great experience for fans thanks to Cisco’s StadiumVision™ technology, which allowed fans to connect and share their experiences like never before. But perhaps most important, our technology was able to deliver an interactive and dynamic experience on and off the train. In Alberta, we brought smiles and laughs to the Alberta Children’s Hospital’s littlest patients as they spoke with their favourite Calgary Stampeders over Cisco TelePresence.
And the fun continued when we asked fans on Twitter to tell us where we hide the networking cables on the Grey Cup 100 Train cars. John W from Ottawa knew immediately it was in the plumbing and when he received his prize – a 100th CFL Grey Cup football – he told us he would be sharing it with his father, a Grey Cup winner with the Toronto Argonauts in 1983!
Throughout this whirlwind journey with the CFL, the person in the middle of it all was Rohan Karamandi, Lab Administrator for Cisco Canada. Rohan traveled and spent many nights sleeping on the Grey Cup 100 Train to ensure our technology was always running at top speed. We were able to sit down with Rohan to get the behind-the-scenes scoop on this historic journey.
Cisco Canada: Hi Rohan, we hear that you’ve been living on the train throughout the tour. How was that experience? Would you do it all over it again?
Rohan: It was a phenomenal experience to have the ability to be a part of something that is so unapologetically Canadian. I had an amazing time meeting fans, hearing their stories and working with the amazing group of people that created this traveling CFL retrospective. If given the chance, I would definitely do it all over again – even sleeping on the train.
CC: Despite having odd living arrangements, it must have been exciting to be in the centre of it all. What garnered the biggest reactions and excitement from the fans?
Rohan: The fans loved the ability to use the touch screens (created by Jibestream) to see the Grey Cup plates, championship photos, ticket stubs and Grey Cup programs guides. It was a great way to relive their own experience and recollections of what they were doing at that particular moment when, for example, the Saskatchewan Roughriders won the 2007 Grey Cup. Many of the families, especially the players, were able to share and relive their proudest moments with their children and show off their crowning achievements in the sport.
The locker room train car also garnered a lot of emotion and excitement from the fans and players. One thing that wasn’t captured in the videos or pictures was being able to hear previously recorded coach speeches from inside the locker rooms. This allowed many of the fans a rare glimpse inside the locker rooms and a chance to hear some of the best locker room motivational speeches in CFL history. I remember hearing many players that visited say, “I remember when coach gave that speech; it was during the game against…” As a whole, it was great to see the fans so excited about the entire experience and to see the players reliving and sharing their experiences with their families.
CC: How did Cisco technology play a part at the Alberta Children’s Hospital?
Rohan: We were able to provide the children with a VIP experience right from the hospital, letting them meet players from the Calgary Stampeders through the power of Cisco TelePresence. It was the experience of a lifetime, and allowed them to ask the players questions that brought smiles and laughter to all.
CC: That must have been really rewarding to see the reaction on the children’s faces. Were there any other moments that stood out for you?
Rohan: I don’t think I can pinpoint any specific moment. It was the entire experience and hearing the stories from the families, alumni and kids of how the CFL has been an integral part of their lives that really stood out. Hearing how the CFL has brought so many game day rituals, gatherings, and traditions that will be passed on from generation to generation really stuck with me. Throughout this whole experience, one thing that came to mind is how the CFL is so quintessentially Canadian. The fact that I was a part of such a great tradition is so humbling.
CC: And of course the question we all want to know – which two teams are you hoping to see at CFL 100th Grey Cup?
Rohan: The Calgary Stampeders, and of course the Toronto Argonauts. Go Argos!
It looks like Rohan will get his wish this Sunday, November 25th as the home-town Argonauts take on the Stampeders for the 100th Grey Cup.
Did you visit the Grey Cup 100 Train Tour presented by RONA this fall? Share your experiences below.Tags: