When you have been married for forty-five years it becomes increasingly difficult to find an original and meaningful Christmas gift. While bemoaning this my daughter suggested I look to buy the ‘old guy’ an experience instead of something material. I tossed this thought around in my head and came up with the idea to plan a bus trip to a Raptors basketball game. The ‘old guy’ has been a faithful Toronto Maple Leafs fan forever but with the losses mounting up for the team he has taken to watching basketball this winter.
This past Friday we hopped on the bus just before 3 PM and started our journey. Arriving at the Air Canada Centre just after 6 PM we passed through the screening, something I find upsetting, but still understand the need. With tickets in hand we climbed the equivalent, or so it seemed, of Mount Everest to find our seats. We could see the full court from our seats on high and like a regular tourist I snapped a couple of photos as a souvenir.
Shooting flames and fireworks introduced the team and the game was on. It appeared that all the flash had happened during the opening. The team played with the lack luster effort of a high school inter-mural team. The L A Clippers played keep away with ball and never missed a shot to the basket.
By the end of the first quarter the Raptors were trailing badly and the fans in our row were downhearted and felt sure that a loss was eminent. Second quarter saw more spark and by the end of the first half the score was 57 to 59 in favour of the Clippers.
Let’s talk about the half time show. I try to be open-minded about music styles but rap music is not one I can get my head around. Back in the day adults thought that Elvis Presley and his music incited bad behaviour in teenagers so I won’t jump to conclusions about rap. This brings me back to the half-time show, Phife Dawg was the performer of the evening, the only conclusion I can arrive at is that Anne Murray was out-of-town.
Cheerleaders in skimpy costumes and a fitness level to be envied danced at centre court during breaks and made me painfully aware that I am woefully old-fashioned.
Returning to the game a rejuvenated Raptor team displayed the talent we had been expecting. They slowly began to move up on the score board and with a flourish won the game 123 to 107. Repelling down the stairs we made our way back to the bus to join the jubilant fans who all agreed that it was a great game after a slow start.
My Christmas gift to the ‘old guy’ was a win too.