I hate fall. I hate football. I hate leaves changing colours and dying. From September to October, I mope around my house either pretending it’s still summer, or getting ready for winter.
The start of the NHL season is little consolation to the fact that a new year of school has begun, the weather’s getting worse and we’re still months away from Christmas. Sure, it’s fun to tune in to the World Series, but even watching the Rockies rampage through the National League playoffs this year did little to convince me that autumn doesn’t completely and officially suck.
But all of that changes on one day every year. When most children spend the weeks leading up to Halloween gathering their costumes and preparing their teeth for the sugar-induced onslaughts they’re about to endure, I was always the one sitting at home thinking about one thing, and one thing only: basketball.
Just recently, I’ve convinced myself I’m not the only one.
While the rest of the world paid homage to a world of ghosts and goblins on Oct. 31, the Toronto Raptors and a passionate assembly of more than 20,000 admirers set out to usher in the Raps’ 13th season in the NBA.
Sure there were the occasional vampires roaming the halls of the Air Canada Centre and a jersey-toting werewolf here and there, but for the most part this was an assembly of fans, young and old, who care more about their favourite team than getting a pillow sack full of candy or trying to win a grand prize for best costume at a local bar.
The Raptors would go on to win that game over the Philadelphia 76ers, and as the clock struck midnight just hours after the game, October was officially over. As Raps fans funneled out of the ACC and into the subway station chanting “Jose, ole, ole, ole” (a tribute to Raptors point guard Jose Calderon), one thing was clear, with the onset of November, and winter not long after, what lay in store for basketball fans was eight months of uninterrupted basketball bliss.
Since that season-opening victory, the Raptors have blown out the New Jersey Nets and dropped a thriller in overtime to the newly restored Boston Celtics, so whether you’re aching to watch the Raps sneak their way into the second round of the playoffs for the first time in seven years, or for another team altogether, it’s that time of the year again. The time to put away your school books, take down those Halloween decorations and plant yourself in front of the nearest TV. With an entire season of fantasy basketball to be managed and enough season-altering drama to addict even the most casual fans, there really is no excuse for spending any of your waking hours doing anything else.
Well, that’s all for me. See you next June.