I went to my first Raptors game in about 10 months today, and it was…good.
Remember when you went back to your old high school for the first time since graduation? And everything was familiar and unfamiliar all at the same time? And it feels like it’s been a hundred years, but it feels like you never left? Yeah. Like that. To add to the high school reunion-type feel, the game opened with a video retrospective to celebrate the ACC’s 15th birthday. It was like watching a video yearbook. All that was missing was that Green Day “Time Of Your Life” song.
Anyway, it was good to be back. Here are some things I noticed.
Things that were the same:
1. The Dance Pak’s favourite move is still the hair flip. To the casual observer, there is no difference between a Dance Pak member and a woman in a Raptors bikini trying to remove a wig without using her hands.
2. The Raptors’ shooting is still excitingly unpredictable. In the first quarter, they shot approximately 6 for 832 from the field. Next thing you know, they’re up by 7.
3. During the “free t-shirt throw”, the people most likely to catch a t-shirt are the people seated 3 inches beyond my reach.
4. Jamaal Magloire is still there. I’m not sure in what capacity exactly, but there he was, helping some of the players work out before the game. It reminded me of that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer starts working at that company, but he isn’t actually employed there. He just shows up and does stuff.
Things that were different:
1. New faces. Psycho T. Greivis Vasquez. John Salmons. Pat Patterson. Then there’s the replacement mascot, “Stripes”. He was kind of a non-mascot. He was invisible for most of the game, and then he’d look like he was gearing up to do something really big, sprint across the court, and…do nothing. This guy is the New Coke of the mascot world. Where did they find him? Was Aaron Gray unavailable?
2. The Free Pizza Deal has changed. It still exists, but now the Raptors have to get 100 points and win in order for your ticket to be worth a free slice. So now, nobody can accuse us of incentivizing failure, and Pizza Pizza can save itself some money. Everybody wins!
3. Jonas has a beard. The face that was once as patchy as a Lithuanian corn field in January is now sporting a very manly mane. They grow up so fast, don’t they?
4. THE RAPTORS ARE WINNING. The win against the Cavs puts them at 30 wins for the season. That’s more wins than I witnessed in two years as a season seat holder. They’re sitting in first place in the Atlantic Division…and yes, being first in the Atlantic Division is kind of like winning an arm-wrestling championship at a nursing home, but still. The last time I watched them play Cleveland, this happened, so I was happy to see them get the win.
In conclusion, we should do this again sometime.