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Sports just has a way of drawing us in out of nowhere


Sports, man.

Sports fans, man.

It’s a nondescript Tuesday afternoon in mid-May and I’m on a stool waiting for Baseball Steve (and, trust me, I’ve waited eons over the years because he’s charmingly tardy and always will be) and there’s like 10 people along the bar.

There’s not a lot going on, it’s like 5:15 p.m. and it’s a gorgeous day out and, yeah, the Blue Jays are playing but it’s Game 40 of the season, it’s no big whoop how they do. It’s against Atlanta and unless they bring back Greg Maddux so I can watch him pitch or Bobby Cox is gonna get run again (he and Gibby are all-world at getting ejected, aren’t they?) well, who really cares who wins, right?

Well, it turned out to be an interesting case study in fandom, albeit a tiny one, and speaks to the depth of caring some people have.

Barney gets the single to drive in a run and two guys start yelling at the TV because Rivera held a guy at third.

The Braves go up 6-5, I think it was, with a run in the seventh and the guy three or four stools down has had enough.

“I’m taking off, can’t watch it.”

The passion and interest was telling, it’s fascinating to me how any game can grip us at any point and turn a nondescript afternoon into something that gets one truly emotionally invested.

(Full disclosure: Baseball Steve and I were aghast at the decision to bunt with Travis with two on and none out and let everyone know, so it wasn’t like we were totally dispassionate observers.)

There’s going to be another game today and another one tomorrow and heaven knows the TVs are littered with any manner of sports contests of little or no consequence but the way a game – just a game – can get people going amazes me sometimes.

I love it because for that amount of time we can divorce ourselves from our own reality and check out of the world, so to speak.

I’ve done it with baseball games for which I’ve had no rooting interests, I’ve done it with basketball games or even hockey games that I’d normally ignore but somehow get caught up in.

It is, like we’ve said repeatedly, a delightful diversion and you never know when you or the people around you are going to get caught up in something and perhaps drag you there with them.

Scheduling note: I’ve been invited to take part in a panel discussion on the first day of three-day Canada Basketball summit tomorrow morning.

I’m flattered and looking forward to it and to most of the weekend with them but I also have to be downtown before 9 a.m. and with the anticipated traffic hell, I should probably leave now.

So, unless I get some crazy measure of inspiration today for tomorrow’s fare, I’ll probably bail on this endeavour tomorrow and be back Friday.

So, how about the draft lottery that, thankfully, I totally missed as a TV show.

But if you’re a Raptors fan, it was a rather ho-hum night that was neither great nor disastrous.

Boston kept the No. 1 pick, as expected; Philadelphia didn’t get two choices in the top five which is okay for folks here, I presume, and nothing untoward happened otherwise.

So, a non-event, like it usually is.

But speaking of the draft, the first workouts are here this morning. I have to take Super Dog 2.0 to the doctor for a checkup so I’m not sure I’ll get there to chronicle it all.

In case I don’t, here’s a Coles Notes version of it:

“I think I’d be a good fit here, coach Casey preaches defence and that’s what I like to do.”

“I just want to come in, work hard, rebound, defend and learn.”

“Sure, I can shoot the three-pointer. Who can’t?”

“Mississauga? No, I’m not familiar with it at all but if they want me to go to the G-League I’ll go down there, work hard and try to get better.”

“It’s all about opportunity and I just want a chance to prove myself.”

“Doug Smith? Yeah, I heard of him. Who hasn’t?”

Well, most of that, at least.

How glad am I that I gave up on the night super early and didn’t subject myself to a 36-point snorefest of a conference final game?

I tell you, the totality of these playoffs so far is making this post-season the most uneventful I can remember for decades.

And I don’t imagine it’s going to get any more compelling tonight when the Cavs continue their inexorable march to another Finals appearance.

And in case you were wondering what will happen and why, here’s what will happen and why.

One more call for mail to give me something to do Friday afternoon and maybe one day on the weekend.

Go on over to askdoug@thestar.ca and let me know what’s on your mind, I’m always interested.

Really.

TORONTO STAR | SPORTS | DOUG_SMITHS_SPORTS_BLOG

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