Do you remember what you were doing when the Toronto Raptors won the NBA Basketball championship in 2019? Of course you do!

Major sports events grab our attention, give us something to hope for, and pull us together. You probably remember as far back as 1972 when Team Canada played Russia in hockey and Paul Henderson scored the winning goal. I was teaching in a high school then, and we packed all the kids into the school auditorium so everybody could see the game. You could hear a pin drop. Nobody, not one kid, misbehaved – because nobody wanted to get kicked out of the auditorium and miss all the fun. Not until the final goal, when all hell broke loose, all over the country: an unlikely Canadian team had beaten the bad guys. WOW.

Or remember the Blue Jays winning the World Series back in 1992 and 1993? Even though there were only 2 countries in the “World” Series, it was still exciting to defeat our arrogant neighbours to the south. And this year the Jays have been at it again. It’s been a year of change for them; first playing their home games in their winter home, Dunedin Florida, then using the minor league field in Buffalo, and finally roaring back to the Rogers Centre in August. Crowds have increased as restrictions allowed. First there were hundreds of spectators, then 15,000, and finally 30,000. Gradually fans dared to buy tickets, don their masks, locate their vaccination proof, and ride the subway to the game.

It’s been a year of firsts for the players too. So many of them are so young! Take superstar Vladdy Guerrero, at only 22 scoring the most home runs in the entire league. Or that cute Bo Bichette, age 23, whose dad works for the Jays as a coach while keeping an eye on his son. Or Adam Cimber, an old-timer at 31, who joined the Jays this year. He wears at least size 16 shoes that fly erratically around in circles as he throws pitches in what is called the “submarine” style.

Peter and I were lucky to get tickets to what would be the Jays’ last game of the season. We arrived early so we could soak up every exciting moment. We watched some players warm up, and we enjoyed the antics of mascot B J Birdie. The first inning got us gong in fine style: our pitcher struck out the other team with only 9 pitches – 3 strike-outs in a row. And then our first batter got a home-run! The players continued to amaze their audience, racking up 12 runs to the other team’s 4. We won handily.

Meanwhile, the electronic scoreboards kept tabs on the other contenders for the last two wild card spots which would get our Jays into the playoffs. Our eyes darted from the scoreboard to the field and back to the scoreboard. We had our nachos and beer to keep us company as we cheered for the Jays and booed the electronic contenders. Cheer…boo…cheer…boo… We were hardly even distracted by the young couple in front of us, falling all over each other, ignoring baseball completely.

In the end, the other top teams won their games too, which meant that, while the Jays won their last game, they lost out on a playoff spot. But it was a great summer, and they gave us lots to cheer about, during the 4th wave of a pandemic that is hanging around far longer than anyone expected. Thank you, Blue Jays!


The Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre

2 thoughts on “GO JAYS!

  1. Thanks for the history lesson. My daughter Susan and her son Dek were at the game and loved it. My favourite memory was when they won the championship in the 90s everyone went crazy


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