As Canada is less than two weeks from celebrating its 152nd birthday, it was heart-warming and downright thrilling to see its citizens ‘enraptored’ in a sporting event not seen practically since the day Paul Henderson scored his famous goal in 1972.
As the clock ticked down to the final seconds in the Raptors 114-110 victory over the Golden State Warriors for the NBA championships on June 13, it was national news from St. John’s to Victoria, B.C. — where the legendary Steve Nash grew up.
Although a Canadian, James Naismith, invented the game, it has never been truly Canadian. Maybe that is about to change.
The NBA announced at the start of the season there was a record 42 countries and territories represented by players in the league, with Canada having the second-most behind the United States.
Although the Foothills area has yet to produce an NBA calibre player, it has been and hopefully will continue to be a somewhat minor hotbed for basketball.
The Okotoks Minor Basketball Association has continually provided a program for young players, which not only feeds the high schools with quality-players, but more importantly feeds their enthusiasm for exercise and the love of the game.
That enthusiasm is further fueled by the guidance of basketball coaches at the junior and high schools throughout the Foothills, as it has produced players at the university level with Comp grad Adam Pahl scheduled to play at Mount Royal University and 2019 HTA Knight Ben Nelson signing with the Olds Broncos of the Alberta Colleges Athletics Association.
It’s a stretch to say the sporting event has bonded Canadians from sea to sea — carbon tax, pipelines and what may be an ugly federal election in October may dampen that thought. But let’s take in the euphoria of a rare Canadian title among the big leagues and hope ‘the rock’ keeps bouncing in Big Rock Country.