100 Grey Cups (McClelland & Stewart) strikes me as the very portrait of a gift book. It’s good. Sure it is. But, more than that, it’s embracing. You get that even non-readers would love this book, provided they love the topic. 100 Grey Cups is gorgeous, well-designed, but also comprehensive, a balanced, interesting and maybe even a perfect look at that most esoteric of topics: the 100 times the top honor for football has been awarded in Canada.
The book begins with a bit of cheerleading from CFL commissioner, Mark Cohon. “We Canadians are proud of our heritage,” Cohon begins, “and the Grey Cup is one of our country’s most enduring icons.”
While I’m not sure I would agree with the sentiment, I will grant that whoever gets this book as a gift likely will, and maybe that’s all that counts, making the reader proud that, in Cohon’s words, the Cup is “bigger and better and stronger than ever,” a claim that the balance of the book makes you realize is something worth stating.
Author Brunt (Gretzky’s Tears, Searching for Bobby Orr) knows sports inside and out and is the perfect tour guide for this intense look at the Grey Cup’s first 100 years. We see the broad strokes of a game that has often played second fiddle to its big American cousin south of the border as well as the fine details of important players, moves and games over the years.
Make no mistake, 100 Grey Cups is the football book in Canada this year. If you’re buying a gift for someone who loves Canadian sports, you won’t go far wrong with Brunt’s latest. ◊
David Middleton is art director and art and culture editor of January Magazine.