We remember moments; moments in history that define our culture and plot certain times in our lives like the points on a graph, those “where-were-you-when” moments that happen every so often. If you’re a sports fan in Canada, you’re in the midst of one of those moments right now.
Although the official viewing numbers haven”t been released yet, most of us were watching last night, and many of us living in Eastern Standard Time are bleary-eyed, nursing an emotional hangover this morning. Last Friday’s Game 4 win was the highest-ranked sports broadcast of the entire year, and I suspect last night’s game 5 ranks in that mix too. And while a Monday night game is not ideal, settle in friends, our next moment happens on Thursday.
My children have grown into avid sports fans, and although my seven-year-old tapped out after the first quarter, my ten-year old made it to midnight. He was perched on the edge of his seat, watching the final minutes of the game unfold in his pyjama pants and Raptor’s jersey. They’ve seen the excitement building; the Raptor’s days at school, the flags flying on car windows, the #WeTheNorth cupcakes and cookies and hats. And they’ve felt the energy in Burlington’s Burlassic Park and marvelled at the fans camped out in Toronto, waving cardboard Drake heads and jumping for joy. They watch the pre-game promos intently, Raptors in 30 before school, and my seven-year-old daughter can rhyme off the starting lineup and half the bench. They’ll be fans for life, officially hooked.
We’ve been explaining to them the significance of this playoff run for the past couple of months. In their short lifetimes, they’ve also seen the Jays almost get there, and they remember how our living room erupted after Bautista’s 2015 bat flip. But they definitely don’t realize the rarity of this event, and how long Toronto sports fans have been waiting for a championship.
They’ll be watching on Thursday night too, and on Sunday, if it comes to that. And we’ll go to the parade- we’ll load ourselves onto the GO train, we’ll pull them out of school, we’ll be decked out in our Raptor’s red. We’ll join the thousands upon thousands of other fans who have been waiting so long for our team to win. Why? Because this is history in the making.
And that’s the best part of all this, isn’t it? The camaraderie, the collective excitement, the coming-togetherness. We’ve united from coast to coast, all part of a common goal, all sharing a common dream. This is our time, our turn, our year.