RAPS CHAMPSJune 17th, 2019
I’ve been a Raptors fan since the inaugural 1995 season. As a 9 year old, I have memories of checking the Toronto Star Sports Section every morning, flipping to the Rookie Leader Board to see how Damon Stoudamire was faring against Jerry Stackhouse. I wrote Vince Carter a letter to attend my 12th birthday party. My first email address was firstname.lastname@example.org (now defunct). In grade 7, I phoned up the Air Canada Centre and asked to interview GM Glen Grunwald for a school project (I think the assignment was vaguely “people in your community you look up to”?). Surprisingly, they put me right through to his office and I ended up getting a tour of the practice facility.
At 7 or 8 years old, my dad put up a hoop in our small backyard in downtown Toronto and I practiced out there for hours on end. I played on my (very mediocre) elementary and high school hoops team, some rec league squads at Trinity Bellwoods Community Centre, and then intramural at McMaster University.
Looking back, basketball was one of the ways I connected and interacted with people from all over the city. I didn’t think of any of this at the time, but the court was and is one of the most diverse places in the city. I was a minority in a sea of Chinese, Italian, Ethiopian, Caribbean kids.
Watching this Raps championship run has been one of the most memorable and fun things in my life. Mike and I got to attend a handful of home games and I’ve never felt more lucky. Of course I love Kyle and Kawhi, and all the players and staff that made this all possible, but what I loved the most was seeing the city come together and come alive. It’s the best. Truly.
Basketball aside, here are things I love, and that I think actually are important:
- People congregating in public parks and squares with a grin on their face.
- People joyously walking in the streets.
- Interacting with people you don’t always get a chance to.
- Moments that remind us that we have something in common, and how nice that feeling can be.
In 2019 it’s easy to get silo’d in your own little community and tethered to your screen, so I thank the Raptors for the reminding us of how good it feels to be apart of something bigger than ourselves, and how sharing the streets is good for the soul.