Passion for sports in Canada

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One of the few good things for which I grudgingly give credit to my wife is to put the right genes in my son to make him taller than me. A full seven inches as yet and he is still fifteen. I would not share my height since I am a little sensitive about the inches that I carry but let’s just say that my son’s height made him a perfect candidate for being a basket ball player even though he only played soccer or badminton in countries where we lived earlier.

Sports is a great drug for the young, if they decide to get  the hang of it and you do not need a 420 to prove your passion for it. Alas I was not aware of this earlier, so when my son started taking interest in basketball last year in January when we moved to Guelph, I took it as one of his passing interests and not addiction as he would display in days to come.

But then the ball went rolling. First it was videos of Koby on U-Tube followed by a daily request of getting the raptors channel added to our cable, which needless to add we had to accept.

Then the real thing happened. He had decided what he wanted to become- A BASKETBALL PLAYER. That’s it. Final. No questions accepted and no answers given. A plan was handed over by him which started with receiving coaching for the game and getting a basketball station installed at our home within a week.

What followed has been a journey full of the happiest footsteps of our lives and also has made me give another grudging credit to my wife, of making us move to Canada. The kind of sports facilities which exists in Canada, not just for the rich,for whom it is available everywhere in the world, but for the common masses too, is in simple words- AMAZING. To match that  is the LOVE and DESIRE in almost all Canadians for their sports or adventures, whatever it may be.

I could say that first hand since I come from a cricket crazy nation where cricket is bigger than religion. But the average person in that part of the world while being extremely passionate for the game, still does not have any desire to play the sport on their own or even in enabling their children to play as they want the children to focus on their studies to become money earners for themselves and their family. Sports for them is something to be WATCHED not PLAYED.

What I see in Canada in general and Guelph in particular is what I had always desired. People who are not just interested in enjoying their heroes play sports but playing it themselves too. With facilities and support structure to match.

So now started the sports adventure of my son which continues as yet. Basketball beginner classes from a great coach, hours and hours of shooting practice at home, outside at the basketball station and inside in all the rooms, with lots of broken stuff ready to stand testimony for my story, till the time came for team selections. He did his own research to let me know one day that he has to get into the Guelph Phoenix as that is the best city team to be in. He also told me that he will do the same this year besides becoming a part of his school team. That he did.

This being the first year he was playing basketball, if was difficult at the start and required hours of practice on his own and also practice sessions and matches week after week with his school team. It was great till it lasted and when in January this year he changed school and was denied playing for his new school due to some rules, he was heartbroken. We would encourage him and take him to YMCA and the other city facilities for playing basketball but he was craving to be a part of the action.

As a father my day was made. He was becoming a true Canadian and was ENJOYING the game more by PLAYING than WATCHING.

Come March and the Phoenix practices and games started. He was happy and cheerful again. Being a new member of the team he has had his share of struggles and will continue to have them in days to follow, but with a great coach, a dedicated manager, a huge bunch of supportive and cheering parents and above all, a great bunch of talented and basketball crazy kids , he is on his way to learn the game and more importantly play and enjoy it.

For record, Guelph Phoenix in his age group, have already gathered a Bronze medal at GYBA and a Silver medal at Hoop dome Toronto in the two tournaments they have played but that is not the whole picture. While cheering for them I can see that the kids are having a whale of a time and BRINGING IT ON, game by game. Blessed Sac, OBA, Michigan, here comes the GUELPH Phoenix….

To all the sports lovers and players of our city, I say AHOY and THANK YOU for developing the passion year after year and making the flames so strong that even a new immigrant boy can get engulfed in them and take the shortest path to become a part of the community. Let the spirit live forever!

Lastly I must add that my wife is still stuck up on her pre Canadian days of watching him play soccer and shouts Goal, Goal, whenever the team scores. It’s time she learns from him and starts participating in some sport herself other than playing drums on my balding head.

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