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Jordan Bateman: Lions hope Rourke’s next pass falls incomplete

For the good of Canadian football, we need to find a way to keep Nathan Rourke playing Canadian football. Specifically, back in B.C.
Photo: BC Lions website

For the good of Canadian football, we need to find a way to keep Nathan Rourke playing Canadian football. Specifically, back in B.C. 

After watching the BC Lions quarterback tear up the league in the first half, then overcome a painful foot injury to lead the team to its first home playoff game since 2016, and then onto the Western Final – we need to consider all options. 

Rourke has been a key driver in restoring the faith of Lions’ fans in the franchise and drawing us back to BC Place Stadium. He’s magic, in a way we haven’t seen around here since Doug Flutie in the 1990s.

There are no bad ideas when it comes to brainstorming, so let’s throw some out there. What can we do to keep Nathan Rourke in Vancouver?

  1. Close the border. Look, I know it would be incredibly inconvenient, and we’d all miss our trips to Target – but it would keep Kid Canada north of the 49th parallel. Trader Joe’s and less-expensive gas can wait. 
  2. Collusion. For the good of the league, CFL owners agree to turn a blind eye to an above-market, outside-the-salary-cap mega deal for Rourke. He’s good for ratings, ticket sales, merchandise, and keeping one of the league’s three big-city clubs relevant – all of which would drive revenue for the league.
  3. Secretly sabotage his NFL tryouts. I’m picturing Farhan Lalji in a fake mustache guffawing at a Rourke test pass at Heinz Field. Glen Suitor in a fake beard, deflating the footballs at Lumen Field. Bob Marjanovich in a Daemon Targaryen wig, thumbs-downing a Rourke rollout at Lambeau Field. 
  4. Bribe NFL insiders to tweet that Rourke wants to stay. Which ones? All of them.
  5. Pay Elon Musk $8 a month to get verified @BeeCeeLions and @NathanRourke2022 accounts and tweet he’s re-upped in BC.
  6. Promise him a starring role in a made-in-Fort Langley Hallmark Christmas movie. We’re Hollywood North, after all, and we should act like it. Rourke and Lacey Chabert in Hallmark’s The Christmas Blitz or Holiday Huddle or A Hail Mary Christmas or something – who could say no to that?

Hmm. We may need to keep workshopping these.

In all seriousness, we wish Rourke all the best in his effort to make the NFL. He was worth the price of admission for every Lions game he played, both at home and on the road. His confidence and ability on the field – and his humility and preparation off it – are a unique mix that will make him a tremendous success wherever he goes. 

We just hope it’s back in B.C. 

During the COVID years, my 12-year-old son had lost touch with the CFL. Frankly, so had I – and I’m a lifelong fan since the days of Roy Dewalt chucking to Swervin’ Mervyn Fernandez. Rourke, combined with the vision and energy of new owner Amar Doman, brought us back. 

We bought tickets to see Rourke live, and we were two of the 35,000ish fans that thoroughly enjoyed the playoff win over Calgary. He made the Lions hot in this market again.

I have little doubt he will do the same for an NFL franchise, starting within a season or two.

But if it doesn’t work out down there, Nathan, please remember: BC Place’s porch light is on. Come home, any time.

Jordan Bateman has a long history of public policy work. He is currently vice-president, communications and marketing, for the Independent Contractors and Business Association.