COLUMN: A love letter to the 2019 Toronto Raptors

We The North a mantra that means more to long-time fans

Excuse me, I’ve been distracted for a while relearning how to believe in absolutely anything.

Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Playoffs between the Toronto Raptors and the Orlando Magic way back in April seemed like it was going to be the same ole’ story for the embattled Toronto Raptors — who have had a history of wilting under pressure for basically their entire 24-year existence — and did so in that game, losing to a team from the NBA’s lower tier.

Since that day, they have disproven every single negative feeling I have ever felt about anything my entire life — going on to win one of the most inspiring and unlikely NBA Championships in living memory.

I have always wired to be a cynic and have prepared for the worst possible outcome in most situations. Because of this, I have often been unable to muster excitement when good things come my way.

This world view was dead wrong and I thank the Toronto Raptors for showing me the absolute error of my ways.

As unlikely as a Kawhi Leonard shot hitting the rim four times and taking four agonizing seconds to fall in and expel the Philadelphia 76ers out of the second round — it was equally unlikely that I would start seeing the good in everything and start doing whatever it takes to see my dreams realised.

This is the power that sport has — to help people unite, believe, hope, care and join together to make this world better.

As the clock — slowly — ran out in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the dynasty of the Golden State Warriors, I had the privilege to see joy on the faces of the people I love most in this world and I will be forever grateful for those moments.

It is my hope — and assumption — that people all of this great country experienced similar moments to that and I hope the unlikely 2019 Toronto Raptors can be an inspiration to millions of people like me, who have trouble believing they can have good things.

On June 17th, millions packed the streets of Toronto to exhale relief and joy and for me, I saw so many people like me who have expected worse, and got better.

They did it, we did it and I can do it. I — and everyone — can do anything and the only thing that holds us back is if I choose to look at things negatively.

Good things do happen, It’s okay to have hope and belief is rewarded.

Thank you Kawhi, Kyle, Pascal, Marc, Serge Danny, Norm, Fred, Norm, Masai, Nick and everyone else who helped me and millions of Raptors fans believe in the good.

We The North!



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

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