My family is unusual. Me, I am the sports fan whereas my husband could care less. It was one of the things I admired about him when we got married. He wasn’t into watching sports. So it is above ironic that I became the sports person.

I see it as halal entertainment. There’s nothing kinky that’s going to happen, it’s just a game, good clean fun. And when your team wins, it feels like I’ve won, even though I know I haven’t. I didn’t *do* anything. They did.

I remember my older sister, who died, saying how she loved renovating the house, painting the kitchen, creating art on her dressers and furniture and when I asked her why she said, “I’m always working on big huge projects that take years and years to happen. It’s nice doing a home project and seeing the finished results.”

I told myself that I kind of see sports like that. Here I am working on projects that take years and years to get to fruition. A sports event is self-contained. It might take the players years and years of training and conditioning to play, but the result is decided in a limited amount of time. Doesn’t matter who’s the better player, sometimes luck comes through and the underdog wins.

It’s exciting!

A while back I was talking to my granddaughters while we sat on the sofa watching the Raptors game and I had to mute the commercials. It occurred to me it was a teachable moment. I can’t remember what the commercial was for, but I asked my granddaughters what do you think this little commercial is trying to do.

It’s so important when dealing with children to tease the thinking out of them. If you rush in and just tell them that commercials are designed to manipulate the viewer into wanting the product, the effect is limited. Instead it’s good to ask leading questions. So I asked my seven year old granddaughter, “These companies pay lots of money to air this commercial during this game. Why do you think they do that?”

And in that moment I saw the little wheels starting to turn inside her mind. Then I told her, “Look at the way the people on screen are behaving. What do you think they’re trying to say?”

And she looked up at me and said, “That they’re having fun?”

“Yup. And why do you think they’re trying to show that?”

“So that we want to have fun too?”

“Yup and why are they doing that?”

“So that we buy that thing?”


And even while we were enjoying the Raptors game I leaned over and whispered, “You know, it doesn’t make sense for us to be watching this game. We’re using our time to watch a bunch of grown men play with a ball. It doesn’t mean anything.”

And my son in law, who’s a basketball fan looked over at me while I continued, “This is just a game. If they win it doesn’t give me anything and if they lose it doesn’t take anything away from me.”

She nodded.

But then I added, “But I still like it anyway.”

My husband laughed at me and accused me of praying for the Raptors to win and I admitted that I had.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to pray to God for help to even fix the fastening of his sandal. We are encouraged to pray for everything. God has everything, He wants us to ask. So yeah, I prayed and prayed that the Raptors won and then they did.

Am I fool enough to go down for the parade? Nope. But I knew people who were going down there and I was worried.

I’m a fan, but I have my own work to do, and as I saw the incredible crowds I became afraid and I prayed for a different reason. I asked God, “Oh please don’t let any terrorism happen to ruin the moment!” And alhamdu lillah, no terrorism happened but there was a shooting and a stabbing and some people got hurt.

The Raptor players were showering the fans with champagne, and I’m sure the day being hot people were drinking and with alcohol comes a great deal of foolishness.

Some investigator came on and said that when this kind of thing happens it’s usually targeted. A person who wants to kill a certain someone might go down during a huge event like that because they might feel the crowds give them cover. And I thought how despicable is that?

Toronto has become such a large city that this type of violence is to be expected.

And just recently in Denver some parents watching their seven year olds play baseball got so furious at a thirteen year old umpire’s call they started beating each other up.

We tend to identify so much with our teams that we invest so much in their winning that we can react like this??? What is wrong with us?

Are seven year olds any less if they lose? And what have they really won anyway?

Whatever happened to ‘It doesn’t matter if you win or lose it’s how you play the game?’

I remember as a kid wishing and wishing I’d win stuff. The speech arts competition, baseball games, soccer. I tell kids I never ever won a speech arts competition and yet now that’s what I do for a living! And yet a friend of mine who had won can’t speak in public any more because of social anxiety!

I’m seriously reconsidering my fan experience.

I still believe there’s nothing wrong with relaxing and watching a game, but I’m going to try to keep myself a bit more detached. Keep perspective.

The real win is a story that can help and inspire the lives of children and adults to be better people!

And a story like that, can last forever!