My family moved to Canada from Spain back in 1991, made it our home, and will likely be our home for the rest of our lives. I fondly remember going to family parties as a kid and gathering around the TV to watch whatever was on and we all enjoyed. One moment that sticks out is Joe Carter’s home run to win the 1993 World Series for the Toronto Blue Jays. The excitement and shouting from all the grownups was honestly pretty frightening as a kid :D But, you couldn’t help but feel the collective joy and pride in the home team. Personally, though, I never cared for baseball. I’ve been to games – from the Skydome to Yankees Stadium – and I’ve loved the experiences but it wasn’t the game being played that made them enjoyable, it was the friends I was with that made them great. I needed another home team to root for.
In 1995, that team was introduced to Canada. In the midst of the global phenomenon that was Jurassic Park, the Toronto Raptors burst into the NBA. I always had fun playing basketball with my friends – all you needed was a ball and something tall to throw it at. I was never any good at it but that never stopped me from having fun. With the Raptors, I had a home team that represented a sport I actually liked! Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to cheer for – they sucked… for a long time.
My interest faded as time went by. Life went on and new interests and relationships took up my free time and mental energy (thanks WoW and now-wife). But, I always kept up with the Raps, even if I didn’t watch all the games. Then came Japan. My wife and I made a bold move to Yokohama, away from everything we called home – our friends, family, and support. We definitely felt isolated at times. Homesickness is very real. But, our loved ones were never far away – Skype calls and occasional visits kept us connected via a worldwide tether. And another tether that deserves some credit is my Toronto Raptors. My love for them was rekindled because every game brought me home for four 12-minute quarters. When the crowd cheered, I cheered, all Raptors’ fans cheered. I was there with them.
I haven’t missed a game since I’ve moved back to Canada and now it’s the 2019 NBA Finals. Here we are – my home team is one win away from its first championship in NBA history. I’m choking up just writing this so I’m going to be a drenched hot mess when they raise the Larry O’Brien trophy. I’m going to be shouting, jumping, and flailing so much that I hope my kids remember just how crazy their dad is and how much pride and joy I have in our home team. Let’s go, Raptors.
Enjoy Scene 2 – “Flesh and Blood”!
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