Top 10 Exclusive | Dave Ritchie Quotes

The Winnipeg Football Club has 90 years of history to celebrate, dating way back to the days of leather helmets and the Great Depression.

Over that time there have been countless great plays authored by superstar players… and average Joes, too. There have been memorable games featuring iconic moments and, dating back to 1930, this franchise has captured a Grey Cup championship 11 times.

Each week cracks open the record book, dusts off the archives and dives deep into our collective memory banks for our Top 10 Exclusive list.

This week: Top 10 Dave Ritchie Quotes

Dave Ritchie was many things during his days as the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, a stretch that ran from 1999 to 2004 that saw the club win 52 games and appear in the 2001 Grey Cup.

He could be grandfatherly in his love for his players. He could be grouchy once in a while, too. And his daily sessions with the media – back then they were held in his cramped office at the old Canad Inns Stadium – were often pure gold.

Ritchie had a lot of ideas swirling around in his head, we discovered. And how he relayed them to the press corps made for some great comedy, if not some quizzical looks. What follows is a ‘Best of Dave Ritchie’ compilation from his days as the Bombers boss…

1. Circum-what?!

“I don’t want to circumcise the rules.” – June 2000

2. Alrighty then

“I think so… no, I know so. A lot of times I say I think so when I know so. So, when I say I think so, just take for granted I know so.” – June 2002

3. Fish tales

“Sometimes I feel like a salmon going uphill. Or is it upstream? In Massachusetts I used to try and watch fish get up there. Guess what they were doing. They were stupid. They were trying to get up there so hard, once they got up there they died. I don’t want to go up no stream and then die. But that’s what it feels like right now… fight upstream to die.

“Do your kids have that movie, Nemo? That big old shark comes and gets everybody. That’s what I want to be. I want to be the person that eats everybody. That’s better than going upstream and dying after you lay your eggs. I don’t want to be a salmon. I want to climb that hill, but I want to do it so I can play polo with the chief’s head.” – July 2004

4. Sources say… Dave’s theory about media’s unnamed sources

“That was one of his idiots like you have idiots who tell you everything and then it’s all BS because it wasn’t an idiot, it was you wanting to say something because you say the idiot said it. Isn’t that how y’all cover yourselves? It’s simple.” – June 2000

5. An analogy about a struggling offence gone bad…

“It’s a hybrid thing, like those TV sets. Those big TV sets that have the tubes in them but they also got those mirrors or whatever. It’s a hybrid. You’ve never seen those great big TVs… 54-55 inches and some of them have tubes in them and some of them those three little… you know what I’m talking about? They don’t have tubes, they have those three things that project them out.

“So what we’re talking about now is a hybrid. We’ve got a little of this, a little of that, a little of this and some of that. What’s on first? I don’t know. What’s on second? I don’t know who’s on third but I’ll tell you what, I hope we get to third this time. How ‘bout getting home?” –July 2004.

6. Crystal clear

“I think Moe’s 100 percent now. Let’s put it this way: Moe’s 100 percent of the 100 percent that he could be of 100 percent. You understand what I’m saying? Let’s put it this way: the 100 percent he is now isn’t the same 100 percent when he came out of college. So, 100 percent is better than the 100 percent he was last year, right? You get the picture now?” – On the health status of Moe Elewonibi, June 2002

7. Cue the theme from ‘Jaws’

“All of a sudden it was hay-wire time. It was like Martha’s Vineyard… where the sharks are coming after us. Jaws. Little jaws. Big jaws. The ‘Jaws’ music was playing in the background and I was thinking, ‘Holy mackerel! We better get going here!’” – His thoughts during a game in 2000 when his team committed turnovers on three consecutive possessions.

8. No day at the beach

“I heard that when you go into that water you can get all kinds of stuff… bad stuff. It’s polluted. So, what I thought I’d do is if things don’t work out, I’ll take them to the beach with the pollution and then they’ll all come out with big bumps and acid on them.” – Ritchie, on the water in Lake Ontario during a two-game road swing back in 2002 that kept the team in Hamilton for a week.

9. Attila the Hun, Cossacks and dancing bears

“I want to talk about Attila the Hun. He’s a good guy. I named our first defence after him. The Cossacks… Attila the Hun… walking across the bears doing a dance. Putting one leg down and letting them eight or nine bears try to get him. Our defence (back in the military academy) came to the forefront and I called them ‘Cossacks.’

“The Cossacks used to put all their enemies on this little log and make them walk and when the guy fell off, they went into the bears. Attila the Hun, this was his little game.”

Media guy: The Cossacks were Russians, weren’t they?

Ritchie: That’s alright. It doesn’t matter who they were, they were mean dudes. And they could dance with one leg out and one leg up. Here I go again… you guys are going to make it out like I’m crazy.” – November 2001

10. Life is like…

“That’s how life is. It’s a bowl of cherries and a box of chocolates… and they all melted.” – On preparing to enter a game during the 2000 season without two key players.

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