The True Power of Sport

A male college student, single-mom of two teens, and a Nigerian immigrant father of four, all get into a car…

Nope, that is not a start of a joke, but I will take any funny punchlines if you have them!  That is the start of a feel-good story about the power of Sport.

A regular scheduled car service appointment would be a bit different in Toronto, in May 2019. It was game day – game 1 of the NBA finals in our hometown. (I will provide some context that my girls and I have been big fans of the Raptors for awhile – i.e. not a bandwagon storyteller!) With the car service comes a courtesy ride back and forth from the service center. I mean, it really is the least they can do given how much I pay for an oil change. But I digress.

Upon walking into the shop, wearing my gameDAY Raptors shirt (my gameTIME shirt is different – oh, the superstitious things we do for our team), I had generated smiles and comments about the upcoming game.  

I started chatting with a man in line about the NBA Finals, and nervous energy we all had, and also how we should sell our cars in hopes to be able to buy a ticket with the proceeds 🙂  

After checking the car in, a student driver rallies myself and coincidently, the same man I was speaking with, to drive us to our respective destinations.  In the car the driver saw my shirt and smiled.  If you can imagine how these typical rides go, like a taxi or uber, there are initial greetings and then some polite conversation at best.  But this ride was different.

For the next 20 minutes too short, this car of strangers was filled with b-ball chatter, opinions about the players and game, laughter at my silly jokes and zero silence. Not a single second of silence between 3 people, from 3 completely different walks of life, simply quarantined by circumstance. That is the power of Sport!

I had seen this comradery already the last few weeks. In a city where shops, subway rides, elevator rides would be places of little talk with strangers, that with the help of a subtle nod to the Raptors, has suddenly turned people into fans of the sport, and even better, fans of each other.  

While after what seemed a too short car ride, we concluded we should have our own Sports Desk with the view of “the people”. So TSN, let me know when we can talk.

We parted with genuine blessings to each other and our families, good wishes with school and future projects, and big feel good smiles for the day. Yep, that is what Sport can friggin’ do.

Regardless of an NBA championship win or not. This city full of strangers come together, has already seen the positive affects of watching what grit, determination, loyalty and okay, one humble superstar can do. Can we all agree here that Nelson Mandala knew what he was talking about?!

We don’t need a title to know this Spring of 2019, Toronto has created memories that will carry on for a lifetime.  Now that, is the true power of Sport, and the  real victory.

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