Hammertime: Raptors captured the support of a nation

Basketball champions carry Canadian fans through wild ride

By Mike Rainone for the News

Whether we are basketball fans or not the amazing Toronto Raptors teams of 2018-2019 really got most of us really tuned in to their home court as they fashioned that absolutely thrilling NBA playoff run that captured the joy and hearts of a nation. With great respect to all of the baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, World Series, Olympics, and so many other sports championships and honours that our Canadian teams and individuals have achieved over the years, this first National Basketball Championship is yet another exciting milestone for our extremely fit, active, and talented nation. The 25 year old Toronto Raptors franchise is the only Canadian team in the National Basketball Association, and when they came home last week with the trophy they were cheered and toasted by one the largest and happiest crowds in our nation’s history.

Although not too many people could afford to purchase tickets to the games there were many millions of old and new Raptor fans of all ages who gathered for those wild and wooly game-day sessions in our homes, at the pub, at work, in local arenas and halls, and where ever. We all loudly cheered, jumped, and shared high-fives for each and every bounce and basket, while patiently putting up with far too many timeouts, reviews, and commercials. Throughout the entire playoff run, and then in that wild six-game final series against the multi-talented three time NBA Champion Golden State Warriors our Raptors showed tremendous grit and character by getting inspiration from each other and the massive crowds, while always getting it done, never giving up, and by facing the highs and the lows of each and every game together as a team, no matter what.

Whatever the case as proud Canadians of all walks of life we have and will always come forth in great gusto to honour and cheer for our heroes and their supreme efforts, whether it be our armed forces and veterans, our pioneers of the past, our future generations, our sports teams and individuals, our leaders and community organizations, our workforce, and of course each other, whenever each special opportunity arises. This great “Raptors Rush” will hopefully give the opportunity and encourage basketball players of all ages to join in on this fast moving floor game, whether it be around the hoop in the driveway, on the court in the park, or taking part in year round school and community programs.

Pass the political ball around

With another vital Federal election looming in October maybe it is time for our far too often pomp and power-hungry politicians to start also to realize what a complete team effort can accomplish for the benefit of all the dedicated citizens of our great but somewhat economically troubled nation. Instead of taking shots at each other, why not pass the ball around, respect your tax-paying team-mates, and strive to come up with an honest game plan that will bring us ongoing success and security and lots to whoop and holler about in the future.

Now let’s have a little summer fun

How do men exercise at the beach? By sucking in their stomach every time they see a bikini. Our ladies vigorous workouts in the spring are usually aimed at making sure that they will be able to fit into that sassy new swimming suit in the summer. How hot is Los Angeles in the summer? It is so hot there that I saw a fire hydrant chasing a pack of dogs down the road. The perks of summer … your hair gets lighter, skin gets darker, music gets louder, nights get longer, and life gets better, even though we do get just a little lazier.

Modern day plan for summer vacations: “Let’s go spend summer at the beach texting on our cell phones!”

A group of grandmothers were gathered at the local beach and after intently watching everyone prancing around one of the ladies turned to the rest and boldly explained “Yesterday was the unofficial start of summer, or as I call it ‘cover those things up season.’”

I wish more people would wear name tags at special events, just in case we run into an old friend and we can’t remember who they are.

I hope everyone had great family fun at the Ponoka Stampede, both up at the grounds and all around our always friendly host town and county communities. Play safe, dress for the weather, and if you intend to “party hardy” this summer, please take along a designated driver with a good sense of humour and a GPS, and then have a great week, all of you.

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