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September 16, 2016

Waving the flag

That certain red flag with the iconic white horse leading the team out of the tunnel on game days flies sky-high of symbolism.

Once the opposing team has been introduced and made their way to the sidelines, perhaps it takes on a rather figurative meaning – a red flag, indicating a distinct sign of an imminent threat.

After all, Calgary is 5-0 on their home turf, winning by an average of nearly 13 points per game.

But for the Stamps players themselves, it has quickly become a beloved tradition representing an infinite amount of passion and pride.

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The custom began before the 2015 home-opener against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Seven months after the Stampeders defeated those same Ticats in the 2014 Grey Cup, Bo Levi Mitchell carried out an exclusive championship flag. That particular insignia is now prominently displayed in the northeast corner of McMahon Stadium along with six other flags to commemorate each of Calgary’s seven CFL titles.

Ever since then, the four team captains have rotated the duty of selecting which of their teammates will serve as the prized flag bearer.

“I sort of look for a guy that’s been contributing to the team,” explained Deron Mayo, one of the four aforementioned captains along with Rob Cote, Mitchell and Rene Paredes. “Those guys take a lot of pride in running out with the flag. I picked Alex (Singleton) the first week because he’s done a great job this year. I’ve picked a couple other guys, too, just based on their character and who would be proud to run out with that horse.”

Mayo received the distinction himself in advance of last year’s Western Semi-Final, but instead of the galloping mustang, the linebacker flaunted the French national flag in light of November’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

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“It was really meaningful and really cool,” Mayo described regarding that ultra-unique occasion. “I think my family was actually at that game as well. You (always) feel honoured to be able to carry a flag, and especially that week with all that was going on. It was definitely a privilege to do it.”

Less than three weeks ago, Charlie Power was offered the chance to make the initial charge out of the locker room, an opportunity which he swiftly seized.

“It’s a symbol of our team and it’s a flag that comes out every game right at the front,” stated Power. “It was an honour to carry it and you get to be front and centre. It’s exciting and a lot of fun. It was pretty cool to be running out of the pack and be the first guy out in front of a bunch of screaming fans.”

The notion that Power was elected to do so was not lost on the Okotoks native either, as the nomination was maybe just as meaningful as the deed itself.

“The captains voted,” Power said, “and that adds a little bit to it if they thought I deserved to carry it out.”

Click here to see a list of flag bearers

 

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