Marty (Mendy) Goldman never played for the Toronto Argonauts, nor did he coach the team, yet on a recent Shabbat, the long-time fan and season ticket holder, along with his friends and family, got to spend a couple of hours with the Grey Cup.
The cup was brought into the Yeshivat Or Chaim shul in Toronto, at the behest of Goldman, an Argos season ticket holder for the past 55 years, to the amazement of shul goers.
Accompanied by CFL personnel, the trophy arrived at 11:00, shortly after morning services ended and just as the kiddush, which was sponsored by Goldman to honour the yahrzeit of his late mother, was getting under way.
Goldman’s grandson, Reece, 8, was given the honour of greeting the CFL personnel at the door and bringing the historic cup into the social hall. Championship trophies, such as the Grey Cup and hockey’s Stanley Cup, are known to be storied, with unique and odd celebrations attached to them. However, it’s safe to say that this was likely the first time it was present at a Shabbat kiddush, as part of a yahrzeit commemoration.
As Goldman, 70, tells it, he’s been going to Argos games since he was 15, going all the way back to when they were playing at Varsity Arena and in all venues since then. He remembers Leon McQuay’s fumble in the 1971 Grey Cup game; he recalls heckling Hamilton Tiger-Cat Angelo Mosca and having the massive lineman call him down to the field to settle things; and he has great memories of the 1970s team, headed by Leo Cahill and featuring the likes of Jim Stillwagon and Jim Corrigall.
As the owner of four season tickets, Goldman has developed a personal relationship with Argos officials, including Rob Richardson, the team’s manager of ticket sales and marketing. When the Argos recently won the cup, and with his mother’s yahrzeit approaching, Goldman thought this might be the perfect opportunity to bring the two together.
He contacted Richardson and explained his wish. Richardson co-operated fully, Goldman said.
Goldman informed shul goers in advance with an email, but was confronted with disbelief by members, who told him, “Mendy, you’re crazy,” Goldman recalled.
But when the trophy arrived, it was everybody else who went crazy, Goldman said.
Even after services ended at around 10:45, people were asking him where the cup was. When it arrived, people were in awe. “They were flocking in, looking at it, touching it,” he said.
It being Shabbat, no one could photograph themselves with the trophy, but people carried it in front of an automated security camera, which captured the image and which could be downloaded later, Goldman said.
“I even had a cake made up, with ‘Mazel tov to the 2017 Grey Cup Champion Argonauts’ on it,” he said.
One of his wishes, however, went beyond what CFL personnel would allow.
Goldman, a member of the shul’s kiddush club who enjoys quality Scotch, wasn’t allowed to sip single malt from the venerable trophy. “They said, we can’t have that,” Goldman recounted.
Nevertheless, it was a kiddush to remember. “People were coming up to me and saying, ‘How did you pull this off?’ It wasn’t that hard,” he said.
No, not that hard if you’ve been going to Argos games for 55 years.