Canada invented the game the world loves. But does the world know who invented this game? Basketball was invented by Canadian James Naismith in 1891, while he was teaching at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. He invented the game to help keep the rambunctious young men busy in the winter months. He was tasked with creating a game which could be played by groups indoors, free from rough play and bodily contact, but at the same time requiring plenty of teamwork and individual effort. He nailed up peach baskets to the wall and made teams to try to get an old soccer ball into them. The students, who couldn’t go outside to play because it was snowing, seemed to enjoy the indoor game, so Naismith had to make up rules for them to follow. In just 10 years, the sport had spread across the country and by 1936, it was debuted in the Summer Olympics in Berlin.  Over 120 years later, basketball has become one of the most popular sports globally. Thanks to a Canadian the world has fallen in love with a game that has humble beginnings. Thanks to our NBA Champions we can set our humbleness aside and celebrate our country with pride. 

Raptors win unites the country. As part of the NBA’s expansion to Canada, initially two teams were introduced, one in Vancouver and one in Toronto. The Vancouver Grizzlies were eventually relocated to Memphis, but the Toronto Raptors have thrived in Canada and recently made NBA history with their championship win over the Golden State Warriors. The growth rate of basketball participation in Canada has exceeded that of hockey and soccer among youth between the ages of 12 and 17. The popularity of the sport in Canada has increased with fans of all ages who are proudly celebrating the historic victory. Viewership of the championship series was at an all time high for a sporting event in Canada. Fan participation at the parade celebration in downtown Toronto exceeded expectations of city officials. The Raptor’s win has untied the country. Our national pride and patriotism have swelled from coast to coast to coast and we have been reminded how fortunate we are to live in Canada. 

Oh Canada, we are so fortunate to live in this great land. We have earned the reputation as a peaceful loving nation. People from around the world are drawn here because we embrace tolerance, acceptance, and diversity. We are a shining example of multiculturalism in action. Our cherished democracy allows each, and every Canadian to practice their religion, celebrate their culture, speak their truth, vote freely, and love who they choose to love. We are the envy of other nations and we are leaders in human rights. Through truth and reconciliation, we are learning from our past mistakes and we are striving to make amends.  We are strengthening relationships with Indigenous peoples, based on respect, understanding, and acknowledgement of traditional territory and rights. Our actions today will benefit future generations. Although Canada is not immune to racism, bigotry, extremist views, or acts of violence, these negative occurrences are limited, and they do not define our great country. Our kindness, compassion, resiliency, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit continue to make Canada great because “we the north”, eh.

#raptors #canadaday #unification #unite