Everyone knows that Canada is a hockey country. It’s part of the national identity, really. Parents watch it, kids play it, and everyone wears their respective jerseys on game days.
Canada has a total of seven NHL teams in various cities, but only one team in the NBA. And it just so happens that their one basketball team went all the way to the top this year. All hail the Toronto Raptors!
To say that the entire country followed the 2019 NBA championship playoffs like obsessed stalkers is not an exaggeration. There was even an article from CTV News about why parents should let their kids stay up to watch the games, and it was great advice.
As it turns out, kids are SO pumped over this historic Canadian triumph! There were schools in Halifax, my hometown, where the kids were encouraged students to wear basketball clothing every day during the playoffs. Kids there played more basketball games during lunch and recess than before. “I think the kids [my daughter’s] age want to fit in and want to be like everyone else. Right now, fitting in means liking basketball,” one parent said.
These passionate youngsters are not alone. Interest in basketball is growing all over Canada, among kids and adults alike. Think about it. Kids follow what’s popular, and right now, basketball is huge. It’s also a sport that’s a lot easier for youth to get involved with than, say, hockey. Where playing hockey requires pricey equipment that needs replacing as the child grows, all basketball requires is a pair of sneakers. No, these sneakers are not always cheap, but they’re a heck of a lot cheaper than the cost of shin pads, elbow pads, chest protectors, gloves, pants, skates, and helmets put together. This makes it easier for kids from just about any socioeconomic background to indulge their interest in basketball – an interest that has been significantly piqued since the Raptors’ big win in June.
Another parent commented that he thinks kids are always looking for heroes and role models to look up to, and since the NBA championships they’ve been increasingly looking at basketball players in this way. If a fun guy like Kawhi, a native of civil war-ridden Congo like Serge, and a determined player like Kyle can make it to the top of the basketball world, so can any kid. If it was a possibility for these guys, it can be a possibility for any kid in Canada.
On a related note, cities across Canada should be spending more time and money on the upkeep of their community basketball courts. Listen to this podcast where a youth basketball coach named Patrick Shaw mentions how a well-kept community court will attract heartfelt, enthusiastic young players instead of “the wrong crowd.” they should be encouraging their youngsters’ interest in the sport and thankful that they want to pursue something so noble, that they’ve been motivated by this milestone event of Canadian history.
Less hanging out at the mall, more 3-pointers. Yes, please.
Image Source: TSN.CA