REGINA — He’s gone from football’s offensive line to the Saskatchewan Party line.
Gene Makowsky, who has protected Roughriders quarterbacks for the last 16 CFL seasons, hadn’t decided Monday night if he would retire after winning a seat in Premier Brad Wall’s landslide victory.
“I’m concentrating on this win tonight,” said Makowsky after a convincing victory in his own riding of Regina-Dewdney.
“I’m not going to make any announcements on that tonight. I’m just enjoying this victory and we’ll take care of that in a little while.”
Unlike Alberta, which has had two former Edmonton Eskimos quarterbacks as premier, Saskatchewan hasn’t had much of a tradition of players entering politics — even though provincial politicians drape themselves in the beloved Rider green every chance they get.
Chris Szarka, a former Riders fullback once nicknamed the Canuck Truck, is one of the few examples after his election to Regina city council in 2009.
Makowsky, who holds the team record for number of games played, said there’s more than a few similarities between football and politics. Both require teamwork; both require leadership.
And you need a bit of competitive edge, too.
“Election Day is like a one-day season,” he said. “It’s like a Grey Cup — just one shot at it.”
But even though his new boss is a devoted football fan, Makowsky isn’t expecting a cabinet seat.
“I’m certainly going to have a learning curve here, but I’m certainly prepared to work on behalf of my constituents.
“If there was a Ministry of Football, I might have a decent chance.”