Oh The Madness

Today is Day One.

Well, technically this is the “Second Round” but, those measly four play in games have no place drawing any attention away from today.

Today is Christmas.

Today is your birthday and my birthday.

Today is the best day of all the 365 days in a year.

Today is Day One of the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.

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It’s 64 teams stocked with players, coaches and management wanting, needing and praying for the same out come… to be named National Champion. The road to that title starts today.

Some brackets have already been busted. UAB beating Iowa St even screwed up expert Dick Vitale’s bracket and you can’t even be surprised because this is March and March is Mad.

A 3 will drop a game to a 14 seed, and the franchise player will go cold… until the second half, then drop 12 of the last 13 points just when you need him to. Anything can happen and the beauty of this tournament, of the bracket, is that anything only has to happen once. Just one time. Anything can happen and anything will. The experts will dissect every stat, every highlight trying to make their bracket perfect. Trying to predict who will be a Cinderella and who will be let down.

Most of us will be dead wrong with our picks. But want to know a secret? That’s not why we watch. Well, it’s a part of it. But not all. We watch because this is the best reality show on TV. This is the Big Dance. This is THE tournament. This is where dreams go to die, but also, where they come true.

 

 

We The North: Welcome Back DeRozen

derozen we the north

Last night we welcomed back our superstar Demar DeRozen (#NBABallot) and Philly could not have come at a better time in the schedule. After dropping their Monday night game at the ACC against the Pistons, the Raps needed a W. We dropped to third in the East with that loss, but fortunately maintained our spot at the top of the Atlantic Division. Well, the Atlantic Division might also be the worst conference in the league- the Knicks are currently riding a 15 game losing streak and hold a record of 5-35. I have an inkling they aren’t going to fair much better this afternoon when they play the Bucks across the pond at London’s O2 Arena.

I digress, DeRozen’s return could not come at a better time. Our Bulldog of Bay Street’s shoulders are tired from putting the team on his back practically every night and seemingly sacrificing his body for a win. The Raptors barely made it out of our six game road trip at the end of December, finishing with a 2-4 record. However, one of those wins was against the all mighty Clippers and the loss to the Trailblazers I am still questioning due to the COUNTLESS reviews the referees called in the dying minutes of the game. I also question Casey not playing GV nearly as much as he should be in the fourth, but I’m getting off topic. We’re also playing sloppy D and our once spectacular defence efficiency rate is dropping by the game. Giving up 100+ points a game means we aren’t doing our job on defence. Let’s get that fixed okay? You know the age old saying about defence winning games? Don’t make me repeat it.

DeRozen’s return could not come at a better time. With the first place team in the East, The Atlanta Hawks, travelling to Jurassic Park on Friday night we need to be firing on all cylinders. The Raptors are once again the underdogs. Despite showing we can get Ws without our All Star, Toronto haters, and there are a a lot of them, took the Raps record from the road trip and chalked us up to not being able to compete with the stronger Western Division. So here we are again, not on anyone’s radar and dropping in the many power rankings posted on the inter-webs. CBS actually gave us a top spot in the power rankings back in December, the same week Yahoo! tossed us a #5 spot. Gee thanks, Yahoo!. I liked AOL better than you anyways and I’m shocked you’re still in existent. Maybe look to follow Target’s lead in Canada and just get out. Okay, vent over about Yahoo!

So, how do the Raps move forward? Well, many will point to the coaching decisions of Casey. Vasquez needs to take better care of the basketball and Lowry needs to keep being the All Star we know he is, despite the voting- that being said go now and hashtag #NBABallot to vote for Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozen on any social media, or via the NBA All Star website– and we need to play like the deep, talented, energetic and talented team we are.  I miss that team. So welcome back DeRozen, we’ve all missed you terribly.

Seven Fans In Your Section

Toronto Raptors

Playoffs have started in the NHL and NBA.  Thank God. There’s no more questioning what to watch on TV or what to use as small talk with co-workers. I’m talking about and watching the games. If you don’t want to, talk to me in June.

Anyway, after attending a few regular season Raptors games, as well as game two last night, one thing became quite clear. You will always see the same characters at every sporting event. Even though this idea originiated at a basketball game, I’m sure it could be applied to any number of sports. I’ve seen girls overdress for games and over intense fans at MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL games. It doesn’t matter if it’s a regular season game in October, or.. well, game two in the playoffs, these characters will be in your section, and if you have my luck they will either be right beside you or in front of you.

Luckily, when at a professional game for your favourite team, it’s hard to be in a bad mood.

Categorize these characters under game atmosphere and enjoy the game.

The Guy who Never Sits Down

It’s five minutes into the first quarter and this guy is acting like there’s 30 seconds left in the fourth and we’re down 2. I get you’re pumped up and can barely contain your excitement, but please, contain. I don’t know if it’s the fourth beer that had given you the bright idea to stand the entire time, or if you actually think it’s socially acceptable. Either way, stop. You’re obstructing the views of everyone behind you and when you clap when the home team gets a foul, because I know you’re not actually paying attention, we’re all going to laugh at you. I’m judging your dumbass haircut too.

The Overdressed Girl

When your boyfriend asked you to go to the Raptors game on a date you got really excited, didn’t you sweetie? And rightfully so.  I would much rather be taken to a basketball game than, well probably anything. But when you attend a sporting event on a date, let’s try to dress the part, okay? This means leaving the stilettos and band skirt at home. You’re going to look like a mess stumbling down those wide stairs as you make trips to the bathroom to fix your make up. Also, don’t wear silk. You’re sitting down and silk wrinkles. Plus, Gary to your left is elbow deep in cheese fries and his third hot dog with extra mustard. So, let’s leave the BCBG at home and stick with the a t-shirt. Trust me, if you have a nice ass, he’ll still notice.

The Guy who Cheers Like he has $50, 000 on the Line

This is the fan I understand least. How the hell do you yell either “Fuck” or “YESSSS” after every single play? I swear the veins in this fans neck look like they’re about to burst and their complexion turns a deep shade of red and purple. He kicks the chair in front of him in frustration and his girlfriend is talking to the other guy next to her and pretending not to know her boyfriend. He however, continues to look at her after every outburst to see if he’s won her approval yet. Jury’s still out on that one.

By the end of the game, this guy has lost his voice and his dignity.

The Out of Place Family

It seems in a sea of students or young professionals who are all ready to really get into the game, there will always be the family of four from the suburbs. Mom and Dad have driven their two boys, both under the age of ten to the big city to watch their favourite basketball game. However, by a weird twist of fate, they’re seated next to the drunkest, loudest, craziest fans at the game. Moms in this situation toss out dirty looks that they haven’t used since middle school and Dads try to distract the young sons from the profane language being used. This reaches its conclusion when a parent finally says something or the game ends.

The Girl who Only Takes Selfies

Despite sporting events maybe being the most stimulating event to attend live, it seems to this fan there are better things to do- like Instagram, and take selfies, right? I mean why attend a game if you can’t post at least ONE pic of you drinking from your ten dollar beer or in my case, five dollar diet coke. This girl cares less if a goal was scored as long as her brows look perfect in these pictures. I really don’t understand why they even go to games. Stay at home and take selfies. Or in the middle of the Gardiner, whatever.

The Backseat Coach 

You hear things like “Shoot!” and “Move the ball’ All. Game. Long. It’s as if the players can truly hear what this fan has to say. They give guiding tips the entire time like when to hold onto the ball, or when to put on a certain player on a shift. It’s so annoying for the following reasons…

1. No one cares

2. If anyone did care, they can’t hear you

3. Those around you are probably thinking similar things (if you know a thing or two) and we don’t need someone yelling obvious things when all my energy needs to be focused on ensuring DeRozen doesn’t dribble the ball off his knee.

The Outsider

They cheer for other team and seemingly put their life on the line at times. They stand during the home team’s foul shots and the urge to throw some of my bulk candy at them is  sometimes too much (like I would waste any of my candy on such a specimen), These fans are so annoying. If you want to cheer for the other team, go to the standing section, or sit by the bar- alone. You are not among friends.

So, enjoy the playoffs and next time you’re at a game, be sure to keep an eye out for one of these characters in their natural habitat.

 

We The North

We The North

You want to know how to get a hockey city excited about basketball playoffs?

Release a video shot in the dead of winter with flames, wolves, Drake and some hard percussion sounds and suddenly, everyone’s real fired up.

But we should be. The Raptors are looking at their first playoff birth since the 2006/2007 season, and this is a far different team.

Despite the obvious similarities (winning the Atlantic Division, playing the Nets, and Jason Kidd) the vast differences are the main reason why the Raptors will be successful in moving forward in beating the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets are no longer in Jersey, Carter is not coming back to our house, and Kidd is now on the bench instead of on the court.

He’ll probably have a drink in his hand. Just in case.

But back to the boys in.. err red. Not blue. No, Toronto, our precious Leafs did not make the playoffs. Cry about it. But the Raptors did, and they deserve to.

They have the best record in the Eastern Conference since we tossed the Kings 230 lbs of dead weight on December 8th. That record sits at 42-22. The Drake Dinos tied the Wizards and Lebron James the Heat for the best road record, at 22-19, and have a 16-14 record against the much stronger Western Conference (speaking of which, how pumped are you for the Clippers/Warriors series?!) .

You’re doubting still. I can see it. They may deserve it, but why will they win?

Are we really that good?

Toronto is only one of four teams to finish within the top ten for both offensive and defensive efficiency this year. What does that mean? It means we’re great on both sides of the ball; able to play transition basketball. We get stops on D and we finish on offensive.

The other three teams? The Spurs, Clippers, and Thunder. Yeah, decent company.

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Now is our time. We are a complete package with a deep bench and superstars in DeRozen and Lowry.

And let it be known the Kidd will not out coach Mr. Casey.

Drake

So check the Drake music video We The North video HERE.

If you don’t get behind this team after a video like this, you probably didn’t get goosebumps the first time you heard Jack Nicholson yell “You can’t handle the truth” and therefore you don’t have feelings.

Go #RTZ.

 

 

Vince Carter Gave Me Daddy Issues

I am loved, this I know. I feel bad for all those girls dancing on stages at mediocre GTA clubs, or the ones volunteering for wet tshirt contests in Cancun. Something about a wet tshirt contest screams, “I have Daddy Issues” a little too loud and clear for me. Anyways, I am loved and fortunately I have never been that hurt even. I was never heartbroken by my high school sweetheart, and my date for prom didn’t stand me up. He did kiss another girl that night, but she’s still the best decision he’s ever made.

Anyway, the point is, there is no reason for me to have commitment issues. Most people have had a few healthy relationships by the ripe age of 24 and they are increasingly open to the idea of committing themselves to someone else.

Well, I’m not most people.

I’ve never been in a full blown, let’s go to each other’s family’s Christmases, do laundry together, say we instead of I, relationship. Why? Because a famous athlete gave me Daddy Issues. By Daddy Issues, I mean trust problems, commitment issues, and a skeptical outlook whenever a new guy approaches me. Actually.

You see, I lied. I did have one boyfriend. Well, kind of.

In 1998, in the midst of my fat stage (like, we’re talking REAL big), Vince Carter was drafted by The Toronto Raptors (okay fine, technically he was drafted to the Warriors but traded to the Raptors). Being the little basketball player that I was and loving the Raptors, the young phenom quickly made his way to the top of my fake boyfriend list beating out Freddie Prince Jr and JTT. Tough line up.

Vince-Carter-Elbow-in-Rim-Dunk

Carter was my favourite. You know they say you have a moment when you just know the person is right for you? It was the 2000 dunk competition and Carter being the explosive player he was put on a highlight reel of dunks that still is looked at as one of the best dunk competitions ever. Anyways, somehwere between the first reverse 360 windmill and the bounced ally-oop pass to the between the legs slam, I knew I was in love.

I bought all his jerseys. The Raptors changed their jersey’s three times during Carter’s time with them and I willingly bought every one of them. Okay, my dad bought me two and Santa brought me the other, but I was only 10 so what do you expect? Point is, I was committed. I loved Vince and his unapologetic swag. I loved that he would get mad and play with a look in his eye that told you he wasn’t about to stop. In the 2000/01 season, he was averaging 27 ppg. He was on track to take the Raptors all the way to the championship.

That year the Toronto Raptors made the playoffs. We beat the Spike Lee’s New York Knicks in the first round and advanced to meet the Answer himself, Iverson, in the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Well, it was a battle that stretched 7 games. I was exhausted after watching every game feeling like I played it with the team. In Game Seven (my favourite two words in the English language) my beloved Vince had a shot to win it. Down 88-87 and with just enough time on the clock to make one more play, the Raptors headed down the court and Vince let a shot fly right at the buzzer.

Back rim and out.

I was stunned. He had let me down. I wasn’t ready for this. Was this when I was supposed to get a tub of ice cream? I had even gotten tickets to game four of the next round. I was ecstatic. Until, there was no next round. There was no us. Vince had let me down. Of course he didn’t mean to miss the shot, but he should have made it. It was there.

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I remember that being the beginning of the end. I still wore my red and white And 1 basketball shoes with pride and the dunk competition poster still hung proudly on my door, but as an emotional 21st Century rapper would say a little over a decade later, nothing was the same.  It was if he had stopped trying. He signed a contract extension for six years in the summer between the 2001/02 season but it just didn’t feel right anymore.

The following year was riddled with injuries for Carter as he only played in 60 games, and although voted to the All Star game couldn’t participate due to injury. He had given up on Toronto. He had given up on me. Do you know what that does to a young girl with about 30 lbs to spare? Nothing good besides maybe a fourth hot dog at lunch to numb the pain. Vince sat on the bench for the majority of the season saying he had this or that injury. I remember a pinky finger being sprained at one point. Really? A pinky finger? The next year was no different and by this point Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment had had enough of their pouty all star with diva like demands.

He was breaking up with me. He was leaving me for some ho in New Jersey and there was nothing I could do about it. I tried so hard. I supported him (see: posters, jerseys, shoes etc) and yet, he couldn’t even push through a sprained pinky to come off the bench.

Heartbreaking

Heartbreaking

This is where it happened. This is where the Daddy Issues began. The lack of communication (okay, this was difficult since he didn’t know we were together, but still), emotional instability, and lack of compassion for others made me realize that the player I loved would never be my go-to player in NBA or my favourite jersey I wore with pride because he was a lazy shithead.

I’ve since moved on and currently enjoy another rather one-sided relationship with Kobe Bryant (he shot and MADE two free throws with a torn achilles heel- figure that one out, Mr. Spained Pinky/Jumper’s Knee), but no one forgets their first true love.  Every once in awhile, like a school girl opening a memory box, I’ll go back and watch clips of the 2000 Dunk Competition, the dunk over Weiss in the USA/France game and sometimes just other highlight video some lost soul from Little Rock, Arkansas has thrown together for my amusement (Thanks!).

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So thanks, Vince. I’ve become even less trusting of the male species ever since you left and I’m going to be single forever. Great.

Started from the Bottom: The Relationship between Drake and the Toronto Raptors

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It’s official, Toronto is hosting the 2016 NBA All Star Weekend. With this, Drake has been announced as the official Global Ambassador for the Raptors. I think this is a great move because Drake “Started From the Bottom” and the Raptors STAY at the bottom, so maybe he can help the Raps out. Okay, probably not. I think MLSE CEO Tim Leiweke is seeing the Jay Z/ Brooklyn Nets effect and thinks he can take advantage of the 416 rap mogul. Nicely played, Leiweke.

There are going to be some changes for the Raptors leading up to the 2015-2016 season, which will feature the introduction of a new logo and colour scheme that will come into effect. What other changes should we expect from the Raptors as Drake influences more and more team decisions?

All shoes will be made out of Tuscan Leather.

The team will discuss their feelings at practice and write in a daily journal to help learn about their emotions.

Their new slogan is “Who Wants to be 70 and O?”

Gay starts singing Too Much to Lebron after he drops 30 in the first quarter.

They come back from the road on their Worst Behaviour.

The name will eventually fall to the OVO Owl. At least, we’re not Pelicans (Poor, Weezy) .

The dance pack only dances to Beyonce, all the girls just love her.

They’re at The W, but they can’t meet anyone in the lobby,

They justify the inconsistent winning by saying it’s just The Motion.

Crying after a loss will not only be acceptable, but encouraged.

All team members have better relationships with their mother’s (but Drake still argues with his every Monday).

Casey will start singing Marvin’s Room after their first losing streak, “I’m just saying you can do better….”

Colangelo is just hoping you miss him a little when he’s gone, just that you miss him a little when he’s gone.

Ujiri has un-drafted college students running up asking him “Who you settling for, who better for you than the boy, HUH?”

The Raptors start wearing every single chain, even when their in the locker room.

Commit to the Jumbotron

Rogers11BIG

So, I was at a Blue Jay’s game the other night, and by “game” I mean I went to the last three innings, an inning long in my opinion, but baseball was never my thing. I learned at a young age as my dad was parading me around the Skydome (RIP) that Jay’s games are not about the baseball at all. If it was about baseball, the now Roger’s Center would look like Wrigley Field with no large screens, comfortable seats or even a jumbotron.

But this isn’t America.

I know the most amusement you will have at a baseball game is watching the jumbotron and simply people watching. Now, does everyone secretly want to be on the jumbotron or is that just me? The problem being, of course, commitment (which is a constant theme in my life, especially in relationships). But commitment to the jumbotron is something totally different. You must commit to your entire section watching you get up and “shake it” time after time until finally in the middle of a commercial break, in the bottom of the 7th, they throw your sorry ass up on the big screen only because ol’ Hank, who’s handling the camera, can’t stand to see you project your daddy issues of constant attention seeking for much longer. Sorry, sweetheart.

There are a few cases in which making it to the jumbotron isn’t quite that difficult. These situations include, but are not limited by the following….

– You are holding a small human, AKA a toddler or baby. This will actually become easier if you dress said toddler in the home team’s colours or jersey.

– You’re actually a toddler.

– You’re a rocket and have rocket friends surrounding you

-You’ve committed to more than just the jumbotron and have painted your entire body with the team logo in the middle of your six pack (you’re not taking off your shirt if you don’t have abs, right?)

– You are over the age of 60 and with your significant other. Nothing sports fans love more than a love built on the foundation of love of a team. True love squared.

-You’re wearing a colourful wig.

For the rest of us, the proletariat in this case, struggle to make it onto the jumbotron, these select individuals should technically start charging for all the airtime they get on that screen.

So, next time you’re at a baseball game you’re going to have to commit. There will be no room for mediocre dancing and a half assed salsa in the aisle whenever a Hispanic player comes to bat (every other?). No, next time you have to stand up and commit to making it on the jumbotron… or steal a baby.