“We were playing what was supposed to be a far inferior team. We should have beaten them no problem, so I’d been out with a couple of guys the night before, and the next day somebody said to me, ‘How long are you going to be wearing shorts,’ ” Matthew said last week on the “Pardon My Take” podcast. “It was a nice November, I was still in them. I said, ‘When Bombers win the Grey Cup.’ ”
It’s fairly obvious what happened next because, really, would we be writing about some random Manitoban and his no-pants promise if Winnipeg had won? They did not, and Matthew’s lower legs were exposed to the unforgiving Canadian elements for 18 consecutive years.
Until Sunday, that is. The Blue Bombers defeated the favored Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 33-12, to win the CFL title for the first time since 1990. Matthew, at long last, could put on pants again, choosing a pair of Zubaz for the occasion.
“It feels really, really odd. It feels like things are crawling on my legs, to tell you the truth,” Matthew told Global News amid the postgame celebration in Calgary.
But Matthew added that shorts will still be a mainstay of his wardrobe.
“After this is all said and done, I can put [pants] on if I have to go to a place now but other than that I’m going back to the shorts. I quite like it,” he said.
The Blue Bombers had been back to the Grey Cup twice since Matthew’s ill-fated wager, in 2007 and 2011, coming up short (heh) both times. But to Matthew, a promise is a promise.
“It’s just my word,” he said before Sunday’s game. “There was no handshake. … It’s just I said I would do it, so I’m the one who should have been committed [to the bet], I think.”
Winnipeg, in case you’re not familiar with Canadian climatology, is not exactly a year-round-shorts kind of place. High temperatures average around 17 degrees Fahrenheit in February, with lows averaging just below zero. The former schoolteacher told the Star that the one concession he will make to the elements is wearing a pair of long johns underneath his shorts, but it “has to be really, really cold to even do that,” he said.
Otherwise, it was shorts all the time, even to events that usually call for something more formal. (“We can’t really go to nice places for dinner,” his wife, Darla Robinson, told the Star). Matthew had another workaround for his brother’s wedding, when he had a kilt custom-made in Scotland, though that, too, has its issues.
“It’s probably even less warm; there’s more space for the wind to blow up there,” he told “Pardon My Take.”