For my entire life, ever since I can remember, I have cheered for the Toronto Blue Jays. I have never, not once, cheered against the Blue Jays. Today however, the Blue Jays will be playing Canada in an exhibition game, and for the first time in a game which the Blue Jays are playing, I’m torn who to cheer for. Do I cheer for my country that I love and means so much to me…or do I cheer for the ball club that has always been my all-time favourite team?
I know it’s just an exhibition game, but how unique is this situation we Canadians/lifetime Blue Jay fans find ourselves in today? The popularity of the Blue Jays has never been greater across Canada, but now those beloved Blue Jays are playing a game against the country that cheers so passionately for them.
I don’t know about you, but I think I’ll be cheering for Canada. At least I’ll be cheering for Canada more so than the Blue Jays that is. I’m pretty patriotic, so for these Canadian ball players who have beaten the odds and managed to make it so far in a sport while growing up in a country where they can’t even play it (outside at least) for a good portion of the year, that’s pretty impressive. Canada has it’s fair share of ball diamonds, every city, town, farming community has it’s ball fields, but for that little leaguer in Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Quebec City, and pretty much the entire rest of the country, how easy is it for them to someday be considered amongst the best at a sport they can realistically only play from April to October?
For a young ball player from California, Florida, Texas, the Dominican Republic, these youngsters have the benefit of playing baseball year-round. To come from Canada and become a professional baseball player is almost like coming from Arizona and becoming an NHL hockey star. Those athletes have beaten the odds, and overcome the disadvantages of growing up in a less than perfect environment for the sport they play. That’s why I’ll probably be cheering for Canada today, because you’ve got to appreciate an underdog, especially when they’re Canadian baseball players.