Kristina Costabile, CFL.ca Staff
Tommy Condell likes to sit in a booth above Tim Hortons Field during games.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats offensive coordinator calls plays from high above the turf so he can make sure he sees everything that’s happening on the field.
Though Tommy is upstairs, there’s still a Condell on the sidelines. The OC’s son, Luke, spends a lot of his free time both on the sidelines and in the facility with the Ticats, helping out in any way he can.
“He’s the one that’s making sure that the players have towels, iPads and Skittles,” Condell laughed over the phone on Tuesday. “During the week, when he can, when he’s not in school or anything else like that, he’s in there helping Drew (Strohschien) with the equipment, and anything else that he’s supposed to do.”
Condell has four boys, aged 14, 13, 10 and six. They’re all into football, which isn’t surprising with a football junky as their father, but it’s a bit more of a love of the sport for Luke.
“All of them are so different,” said Condell. “Really the second one, Luke, has always been (a football fan). He’s a huge football fan. Everyone else enjoys it but he loves it. He helps out where he can. He’s missing it probably more than I am right now.”
Luke, who’s favourite player is Luke Tasker, hasn’t just spent his time on the sidelines helping the team. There’s also been many times that he takes a page out of his dad’s playbook and draws up his own plays.
When the team usually gets together for meetings during the year, they put up a presentation on the big screen for everyone to see. There’s sometimes quotes about life, the game plan of course, and sometimes Luke’s plays get shown to everyone.
Once, there was an instance where Bralon Addison had also drawn up his own play. So, Condell put Addison’s play beside his son’s on the presentation.
“So on the PowerPoint, I have my son Luke’s drawing and then Bralon’s up,” Condell said. “I go, ‘you can’t tell the difference. Look at this. You got one that’s like 11 years old and I got this guy that’s 20 something and you can’t even tell the difference.’ And the funny part is that we kind of used his (Luke’s play).”
“It’s usually some trick play or a reverse to Speedy,” he continued. “And the funny thing about it is we did. We ran a reverse to Speedy in the first six plays of the Eastern Final. So we got to do that. Last year was such a special year. Not only for the coaches but for the players being together.”
Condell and his son, like the rest of the players and fans, eagerly await the league’s decision of when the 2020 season will begin. While they wait, Condell has been in contact with the players, regularly checking in. He hasn’t been to Tim Hortons Field yet, even though some players have returned to train with the team’s strength coach. For now, he and Luke are still drawing up plays and diving into the playbook together in the comfort of their own home.
“You know that what’s great about it, is the interaction that the the players and those those men have on my son and sons that all come in,” said Condell of having Luke around the Ticats.
“And what a wonderful experience for all of them to be able to be touched by so many different men, you know, from not only from a different ethnic background, but from a social economic background.”