Back in October, nine-year old Makayla Chrisjohn walked onto the field after a Toronto Argonauts game hoping to give a rope bracelet she’d made to her favourite player, quarterback Ricky Ray.
Instead, she gave the entire team so much more.
Makayla couldn’t find Ray that day – she’s part of an Argos Kids Club that gets to meet-and-greet with players after certain home games – but asked offensive lineman Cory Watman if he would pass it along. Instead, he responded with a question: where’s mine?
“Why are you giving him one, why aren’t you giving me one and if you’re giving me one, why aren’t you giving one to the rest of the guys?” Watman recalled with a smile this week. “I was just kidding.”
But Makayla went home and over the next two weeks made 80 bracelets for the entire team and her mother, Lindsey Allen, delivered them to the Argonaut offices. Staff handed them out to the players, complete with a zippered carry case. Each one is unique in some way.
“I have a pretty bedazzled one that has stars on it and stuff. I wore it around and now it’s in my locker,” said offensive lineman Chris Van Zeyl. “It’s pretty cool to get something like that from a fan. We don’t get a ton of fan mail so when a fan shows that they care, it’s pretty special.”
Makayla and her family live in Mississauga where she’s a student at Brookmede Public School. She became a football fan after throwing the ball around with her family and getting involved with the Argos kids’ program.
“Makayla loves the game,” her mom says. “She’s got a crazy accurate arm and she has a dream of being the first female CFL quarterback.”
She’s already got some teammates in Toronto as several players are still wearing their bracelets. For fullback Declan Cross his simple blue and white string number has become something of a good luck charm and he keeps it under his wrist tape during practices and games.
“I thought it was kind of cool and we’ve been winning games so how can I justify taking it off?” Cross asked.
The Argonauts haven’t lost since receiving Makayla’s bracelets, finishing the regular season with two straight victories, then beating the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the East Final.
Now her bracelets will be on the field in Ottawa on Sunday and, should the Argos win, be slung around wrists hoisting the Grey Cup. She’ll be watching the game on TV with her family.
“She’s so excited that they are still wearing the bracelets. She said when she was making them that she felt like part of the team and this was a way she could help them out,” Allen said. “She feels like she’s made a difference.”
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