We live in strange times.
Leicester City has won the English Premier League title. A megalomaniacal billionaire known more for his TV catchphrase than his political nous may become President of the United States.
And while no Canadian hockey team even made the NHL playoffs, there’s a possibility that a Canadian basketball team could make the NBA Finals.
That’s not earth-shattering news, since Canadian teams have been part of the NHL, NBA, MLB and MLS for years. But if you’re looking for a rise in national television ratings, the Raptors eliminating LeBron James and the Cavs isn’t going to help.
The series is tied 2-2 so it has a long way to go. But imagine the New York or Los Angeles based television execs faced with the prospect of Toronto against Oklahoma City.
Yes, you’d have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the former one of the NBA’s most talented players and the latter it’s most ferocious and unpredictable.
But no LeBron. No Steph. No Kyrie. No Draymond.
And no viewers.
Now this is nothing against Canada. I spent some of the best nights of my life in sleazy Vancouver bars, sucking down Labatt’s, Molson and Kokanee and hoping to pick up a chick from BC who somehow thought my American accent was cool. (Editor’s note: it didn’t work)
But the NBA has always been a superstar driven league. Magic, Bird, Jordan, Shaq, Kobe. The Spurs were considered “boring” because they had no brash standout star.
As much as I love what the Raptors are doing, I’m not convinced that Kyle Lowry is a big name or that Bismack Biyombo is the next Dennis Rodman.
Meanwhile, older French-Canadians named Jean and Jacques must be crying in their poutine at the thought of a Stanley Cup final between the San Jose Sharks and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The sport that Canadians love more than any other – and that includes box lacrosse and curling – is about to be hijacked by a couple of Sun Belt interlopers.
To be fair, the Lightning did win it all in 2004 – John Tortorella anyone? – but the franchise has only been around since 1992 and still uses a logo that looks like a high school design class came up with it on a Thursday afternoon.
And just to make things worse for those weaned on Hockey Night In Canada, should Tampa Bay close out Pittsburgh, their likely opponents are the San Jose Sharks, the teal-clad team from Silicon Valley who are only one year older than the Lightning.
This may end up being the post of an alarmist, akin to a bearded survivalist wiping out the shelves of a north Idaho grocery store to stock his underground bunker before the impending apocalypse.
But it may also be a warning to you fans of tradition. Like a good survivalist it’s best to be prepared, for these are indeed strange times.