In September of 1993, my parents, my brother, and I flew from Calgary to Toronto for a week-long family vacation. This was a big trip for us, and we did all of the typical Toronto touristy stuff, including the CN Tower, Niagara Falls, and a Blue Jay game. And in 1993, Blue Jay fever was in full swing, as it is now. In fact, I distinctly remember that an usher offered me $50 for my ticket as I went to the concessions halfway through the game. Believe me, twenty years ago, $50 was a lot of money for a 14-year-old, and it cemented in my mind how lucky I was to be there.
I grew up in a sport-loving family. Family vacations were often planned around sporting events, and you could always find us at the hockey rink or the golf course or the track. So I come by my love of sport honestly, and baseball ranks right up there on my list of favorites. I have vivid memories of chasing down foul balls for a quarter at Shorncliffe Lake (It’s in Alberta. It’s great and quaint and nostalgic.), getting hit in the forehead with a pop-fly as a teenager, and trying to meet some like-minded friends as a Burlington newcomer in the Burlington Women’s Fastball League.
I’ve been a Jays fan for many years, and I’m thrilled with this season’s success and all the buzz, #cometogether hashtags, and YouTube parodies that have come along with it. In my work, I talk to a lot of people every day. In fact, that’s one of my favorite parts of my job; I like learning about people’s backgrounds, their interests, and their opinions. So it’s no surprise that lately, a lot of my conversations revolve around the Blue Jays. Most people that I talk to are feeling the excitement, and either jumping on the bandwagon or enjoying the success that their fanship hasn’t felt in more than twenty years. But there’s a handful of people who feel a bit annoyed with the sudden increase in Jays fans. This, I do not understand.
The conversation often goes something like this:
Me: “Have you been watching the Jays lately?”
Them: “Yah, and I can’t stand all of these people coming out of the woodwork and jumping on the bandwagon. Where were they for the last twenty years? Why now? C’mon, they’re not real fans.”
Me: “Excuse me for a second, I just need to go grab some sharper acupuncture needles.”
Okay, not really. Attention, Regulatory Board, that last part is NOT true. All of our acupuncture needles are equally sharp. Ahem. (Awkward silence).
My point is, I think the bandwagon jumpers are wonderful. I think there’s strength in numbers. I think there’s an excitement, an energy, a city, even a country, cheering on their team. I think there are kids being inspired and fans being grown.
Jump on the bandwagon, I say, there’s plenty of room.
I’ll save you a seat.