Just a thought… A basketball team in a hockey town who started in a baseball stadium. Often underestimated and overlooked. We are now NBA Champions. The North Has Spoken. [Raptors ad that aired moments after the team won its first NBA Championship]
Welcome to a brand new week – the final days of spring before summer’s arrival on Friday – and I hope that your Father’s Day was a pleasant one. Ours was quiet: Rob opened (and loved) a card that Colin filled out for him and then chatted briefly with his grandson later. We went to a movie with friends. As I say, a quiet day. Or just the opposite of what today is going to be in Toronto!
If you could go back in time, would you attend one of those two Blue Jays parades in 1992 and 1993? Maybe you did! I don’t recall going and now wish desperately I had. Like the song goes, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
Here we are over a quarter century later and at long last the city of Toronto is holding a huge victory parade once again, from Exhibition Place to City Hall. Rob tells me back in the heady days of Stanley Cup victories that Bay Street used to be the parade route. I asked him if there was a problem getting all of the horses and carriages to pull over and get out of the way. I don’t know why he puts up with me, to be honest.
(And, yes, I know there have been parades for Toronto FC and the Argos in recent years, but not on this scale: some estimates say as many as two million people could be witnessing today’s festivities.)
If you’re wondering whether to pull your children or grand kids out of school or to play hooky for an hour this morning to go and cheer on the NBA Champion Toronto Raptors, I ask you this: do you remember the last victory parade you attended? Do you recall when last Toronto celebrated something that was on this huge an international scale? And can you be absolutely sure you’ll live long enough to see another one?
If the answer to any of those questions is “no,” then I’d say GO. Make some memories. Scream like a teen at a BTS concert. (If you think that was a typo and I meant BTO, just Google the biggest boy band on the planet.)
Anything. Could. Happen. As cockeyed optimistic sports fans, we like to think this is the beginning of a dynasty. But too often, dreams like this die nasty.
Players leave, lured by the challenge of a rebuild elsewhere (or more likely, way more Benjamins) and team owners get greedy and sell off superstars or promising players. Sure, we heard the team owner say this was the beginning of a long run, but we remember. As much as fans would love a repeat, a three-peat or an honest-to-goodness dynasty, we in Toronto have scars too deep and memories too long to forget the way things really roll in pro sports in this and almost every other town.
Please, please, please don’t take a moment of this for granted – and most people are not. Hockey fans whose Stanley Cup memories are primarily in black and white will tell you that unless you live in, say, Boston, a day like today, on which a championship parade is held, is something you see very few times in your life.
Go. Surround yourself with joy. For sports fans and all Torontonians, it’s been a long, cold, lonely winter in every way – and you deserve this.
Speaking of FUN…
Join Mike Cooper and me tomorrow at 7 pm EDT for a webinar with AMA Waterways and the guy who puts the Kool in cruising, Gerry Koolhof from New Wave Travel, as we fill you in on an all-Canadian river cruise that Mike & I are hosting in October 2020 at Thanksgiving. From Switzerland to The Netherlands, it promises to be huge fun. But you need to register ahead of time. Here’s the link and we’ll both talk to you tomorrow!