Tag: kawhi leonard

How To Attend A Championship Parade

Toronto Raptors NBA Championship Parade

Congratulations! Your favorite professional sports team won the championship, and now it’s party time! Or more specifically, it’s victory parade time! But, what’s that, you say? You’ve never been to one before, and don’t know what it’s like? Well, have no fear, dear reader, as I’m about to hook you up, and give you some advice on how to attend a championship parade. Let’s get it on, FAQ style!

Have you even been to a championship parade before?

Yup. I was one of the two plus million who took part in the Toronto Raptors’ celebration this year. As someone who’s a lifelong fan of the Raptors, the Phoenix Suns, and the Toronto Blue Jays, all of whom aren’t exactly perennial champions, it was a pretty amazing day!

Your choice in teams is very questionable, so I don’t think that I trust your judgement, or your advice. Do you mind if I stop reading now?

Uh, yes, I mind? Please read on?

Fine.  What should I bring with me?

I’ll start with what you should not bring.  And that…..is little kids.

Huh?! You’re suggesting depriving my children of a historical moment that they’ll remember forever? You’re a terrible parent!

I’m just sayin’. For one, teams tend to schedule these things during the week, so they’ll have to miss a day of school, which may or may not be a big deal, to some folks. For another, kids are short. You’re planning on watching a parade with hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions, of other grown fans. You’re going to have to go early, to guarantee a spot in the front, so they can see over everyone. Otherwise, be prepared to have them lifted up on your shoulders for extended periods. Back to going early, though. It’s potentially a long day (in my case with the Raptors’, I was there around 9am, but the parade ran late, so it didn’t pass us until around 2pm). You don’t exactly have in and out privileges. If you claim a good spot up front, and then leave, you’re not getting that spot back.   I don’t know about you, but my kids have this habit of wanting to use the bathroom at the most inopportune times.  How would you feel if, you’ve been standing around for hours, crammed among a huge crowd of people, and in the distance, you finally see the team caravan coming, but you then hear these words: “Daddy? I have to go to the bathroom really bad! I can’t hold it!”

I’d be furious! ARGH!

Right.  Furthermore, my kids get restless pretty easily, which leads to boredom complaints, or worse. It’s just potentially a long, tiring day of keeping them entertained. I overheard at least one unhappy little camper asking to go home, about two hours into the Raptors’ parade. Bringing lots of food and drinks is a good idea, in theory, but this will inevitably lead to bathroom breaks, which means spot-losing. My kids also have this habit of gobbling up everything in site and then, minutes later,  complaining that they’re still hungry. Food runs again leads to spot-losing.  I mean, sure, a championship parade is a fun event for families, and some, heck, maybe most families, have a positive experience, but I’d definitely put an asterisk next to them.

Kawhi Leonard at the Toronto Raptors NBA Championship Parade

Kawhi Leonard waving the trophy in the air like he just don’t care. What a fun guy!

OK, OK, I get it. Ditch the kiddos. What should I bring, then?

Food and drinks are good, with the disclaimer mentioned above (if you’re moving around, throughout the parade route, that isn’t much of a problem, however). Comfortable shoes. Sunscreen. A fully charged phone, so when the good stuff happens, you have enough battery life to spam your social media with pictures to make your friends, to quote J-Lo, jelly.  Some fresh, official championship merchandise to wear.  An umbrella.

An umbrella? Because the parade goes on, rain or shine?

Nah. Because your favorite athlete might roll by drunkenly popping bottles of champagne and spraying them into the crowd. Champagne soaked clothes doesn’t sound like a comfortable look.

 

Toronto Raptors NBA Championship Parade

Watch out! He has an open bottle!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But if they’re pouring beer afterwards, I should be good, correct? Liquor before beer, you’re in the clear?

 

That saying doesn’t apply at all.

Whatever. What else shouldn’t I bring?

GUNS! Like, it’s a day about showing love to your team, and coming together as a community. There’s no need for weapons. Besides that, don’t bring giant signs that obstruct the view of those behind you. At the very least, if you do bring them, be smart about when you hold them up.

Do I need to do anything beforehand, to prepare? Should I memorize every player’s stats , so I’ll have some conversation points, when I’m standing for hours on end surrounded by strangers?

At the Raptors’ championship parade anyway, the crowd was massive, but it was a mixture of hardcore fans, casual fans, bandwagon fans who jumped on board when they realized the team might win the title, and people who were there out of FOMO. Basically, it wasn’t hard to make polite chit chat, so no need to bone up on statistics. Beyond that, know the parade route, and have a good entry/exit strategy. Large volumes of humans converging in one area makes getting there and going home a bit of an adventure. Also, you know how when you go to a Santa Claus parade, and before Santa’s float comes, there’s like a million other stuff before that? Bands, maybe some insurance company’s car, with smiling brokers waving in it, that kind of stuff?

Yes?

Same thing for a championship parade. It’s not just the team on a bus with the trophy. The Raptors’ one had some cars and buses full of people most wouldn’t recognise who were invited to take part. Sponsors, front office executives,  family members, etc.

Anything else?

Yeah. Shower and put on deodorant before you go. When the players do finally roll by, the mass of humanity around you will most likely lift up their arms to take pictures. I inhaled some interesting scents when that happened, to put it politely.

And just like those armpits, this post stinks, too!

OK, we’re done here. Enjoy the parade!

Masai Ujiri at the Toronto Raptors NBA Championship Parade

Hand’s up, to take pictures of Raptors’ president Masai Ujiri’s butt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Friend Named Fingers

Today, I’d like to introduce you to someone.  This is an individual who, against all reasonable explanation, seems to be really admired by my children.

Are you ready?

OK, here he is!

 

 

 

 

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A picture of a hand?! #anticlimatic

To most people, that is just my hand. But to B and J?

It’s Fingers!

You see, one day, when B was three years old, we were watching Sesame Street. Well, B was watching, anyway. I was bored, to the point that I began to stare at my hand. I then started to think about how funny it would be if, instead of a puppet, a character was just a plain hand who talked.  And from that idiotic idea, Fingers was born.

Fingers is literally just my fingers. His voice is my normal speaking voice. He’s just a goofball.  B immediately got a kick out of it, and Fingers has come in handy (no pun intended) ever since. B would come up with all sorts of crazy, imaginative scenarios for them to do together.  He would confide in Fingers stuff that he didn’t even tell me.  Man, if B hurt himself, sometimes “Dr. Fingers” was there, to cheer him up with a silly diagnosis, or prescribe a dose of tickling (laughter really can be the best medicine!).

I assumed Fingers would only be a thing for a few weeks, and then he’d be ghosted.  However, B’s six now, and he still likes to play Fingers on car rides, when it’s just the two of us. On top of that, J’s picked up on it now, too.  Any drive that I take with her isn’t complete unless Fingers is involved.

J  also doesn’t treat Fingers the same way as B does.  Whereas she still sees him as a friend, B’s evolved him to the point that he is a friendly rival.  They both come up with really far out situations, though, which require my imagination going into overdrive.

Let me give you a couple of recent, seperate examples, both occurring on drives home:

J, WITH FINGERS:

  • J asked Fingers to help build a treehouse. They decorated it, in specific detail.
  • J invited their friends over to a party. The friends were Curious George, John Cena, Princess Elsa, Princess Anna, and Swiper The Fox from Dora The Explorer (note: I had to play the roles of all of these characters, complete with ringing the doorbell, so J could ask who was there, to let them in).
  • An evil witch pretending to be a pizza delivery girl arrived (note: I was the witch).
  • Despite everyone individually warning him not to, Fingers went to get the pizza.
  • The witch turned Fingers into a pizza.
  • J used her superpowers to throw the witch into the ocean. The crocodile from Peter Pan with the ticking clock (note: yes, this was also yours truly, tick tocking away), arrived, to scare the witch off.
  • J turned Fingers back to normal.
  • Everyone watched a movie.

B, WITH FINGERS

  • B wanted to play “Basketball Fingers”.
  • B and Fingers took turns picking 10 players each, to their NBA teams. B was the Golden State Warriors; Fingers was the Phoenix Suns (note: 19 of the 20 players were voiced by me. The other player was B).
  • Without listing them all,  the notable picks by B were Steph Curry, Kobe Bryant, me (note: I’m not a baller!) and Will Smith, because he was the best player for Bel Air Acadamy on The Fresh Prince.
Sorry, Carlton.

Sorry, Carlton.

  • His last selection was a little boy named Ben.
  • Fingers coached, but did not play. His notable picks were Lebron James and Kevin Durant. His last pick was someone of equal skill to a little boy, in B’s mind……”the worst player on the Philadelphia 76ers”.
  • Before tip-off, B and I ran back to the locker room, to put on our magic shoes (if you’ve seen the movie Like Mike, you’d understand).
  • Fingers mocked Ben, and laughed as he missed shots before the game. Ben then went to get his ball autographed by Kevin Durant. While doing this, Durant and Ben accidentally switched basketball talents (if you’ve seen the movie Thunderstruck, you’d understand).
  • Ben was now amazing, while Durant sucked, much to Fingers’ disbelief. Fingers kicked Durant off the team. B signed him. Ben gave Durant his skills back, making him amazing again, much to Fingers’ disbelief.
  • B and I kept doing high-flying, highlight reel plays of the day.
  • B – “Pretend Fingers gets mad that we’re good, so he tells Kawhi Leonard to hurt me and he gets technical fouls, but the referee (note: a ref? Nice. Another person for me to be!) heard Fingers tell him, so he kicks Fingers out.”
  • After getting kicked out, B called Fingers’ mom (note: keep the people coming). She told him that he was in big trouble for his naughty behaviour. B and Steph Curry took Fingers home.
  • Fingers had all of his toys taken away, except for his radio. He sadly listened to B hit the game winning, buzzer-beater three point shot.

While your car rides with your kids probably involve conversations about politics or world affairs, mine involve me doing more impersonations than the cast of Saturday Night Live.

Combined.

I’m not complaining, don’t get it twisted.  Hey, I know that all weird good things come to an end. One day soon, my fingers will stop being so interesting to my kids. Then they’ll go back to being just a boring part of my hand.

Until that day comes, Fingers lives on. And all things considered, that’s pretty cool. Right, Fingers?

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Right!

 

 

 

 

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