Jumping the train to Jurassic Park: Getting in on the Toronto Raptors hype
By Andi Endruhn, Publishing Editor
Hopping onto the bandwagon, is one of the great joys of sports.
Until this year I’ve never contemplated watching a basketball game other than the one in Space Jam, but with the Toronto Raptors making the NBA finals for the first time in their 24 year history, I may have to reconsider.
I know, being a regular hockey and football fan that bandwagon jumpers are often disparaged by regular fans. Bandwagoners are just there for the good times, they haven’t suffered enough to truly enjoy the win. But, every Raptors fan I meet just seems to be having so much fun I can’t help but want to join in.
Maybe it’s because the NHL playoffs, which usually take over mine and every other Canadian’s television this time of year seem stale. Not only is it the 26th year without a Canadian team in the finals, but the matchup is a repeat of the 1970 Stanley Cup final between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues.
Although the Blues had a mid-season turnaround, they lack the exciting season narrative that hockey fans often look for at this time of year. For those who aren’t regular fans, they are best known for their endearing love of Laura Branigan’s 1982 recording, ‘Gloria’, which they play after every win and credit to turning their season around. As for the Bruins, despite being an Original Six team they don’t have the same draw for Canadians. Players like Brad Marchand and their adjoining controversies like the licking incident make it easy for those indifferent to tune out.
And seemingly instead, tune in to the NBA.
The Raptors series-winning Game 6 against the Milwaukee Bucks broke Canadian NBA viewership records, with 3.1 million average viewers, and over 5 million viewers for the final minute, and the roof of that record keeps getting higher. Game two of the Golden Warriors and Raptors series attracted 4.3 million average viewers, and as the series continues it will only probably increase as more and more people like me jump onto the bandwagon.
The best part? It looks like all of us basketball newbies are being welcomed with open arms!
One of my friends, who’s been a Raptors fan for as long as I can remember told me that in regards to bandwagon jumpers, “The more the merrier! Welcome aboard! I think the more people involved in the game can only bare good fruit.”
“Basketball [in Canada] has been the little brother forever so it’s just nice to see people jumping on board,” he added.
Another friend, recently transplanted to Toronto said that “Bandwagoning in this case is actually a great thing! It builds community and being in Toronto you can see the whole city really come together to celebrate and support something — I think that’s beautiful!”
If the ongoing slog of the NHL playoffs doesn’t have your attention right now, maybe jumping on the train to Jurassic Park and watching the Raptors historic series is just the ticket. Don’t worry, they’ll be happy to have you.