Spring is fast approaching, the city has survived the winter and this becomes more and more apparent as the white melts away and a shine of blue arrives. The birds are singing, the air is warming, shop owners are dusting off their patio furniture preparing for the days ahead. How do we know that spring has arrived here in Toronto? The Blue Jay’s home opener weekend is once again upon us.
“Take me out to the ballgame, take me out with the crowd, buy me some peanuts and cracker jack, I don’t care if I never get back, let me root, root, root for the home team, if they don’t win it’s a shame, for its one, two, three strikes you’re out at the old ballgame.” If those words don’t inspire you the Jay’s fever that has become rather infectious throughout the country certainly will.
What is it that makes people so exited to fight crowds getting into the city, congregate in one area with thousands of people, buy hotdogs, cover them in ketchup then walk around eating proud as if it’s our national food? Why would one want to sit so close to other people and hope they have a good view of the game and oh lets not forget, pay a good amount of money for this?
Is it inspiration? Is it that feeling of connection to others through a common interest? I am not sure but what I do know is that Saturday morning my husband and I donned our favorite Blue Jay’s attire and headed downtown because after all, Go Jays Go!
Taking the go train we headed to Toronto to partake in the weekend’s festivities. As we sat on the go train, excited and with a twinkle of blue in our eyes, an announcement came over the go train’s PA system letting us know that we were on route to Union station then a few more announcements and the announcer ended with an excited “Go Jays Go”. This made us both smile as it is hard not to get caught up in the excitement of having a playoff worthy sports team in Toronto once again. I am a dedicated hockey fan but I must admit, it is becoming more and more difficult yearly to have faith in the Leafs.
You know that wonderful moment as the go train enters into Union station? The train slows and you are able to view the city and for what feels like a few minutes but is likely seconds the city almost seems peaceful and still? I love that moment, the day is beautiful and I am going to the ball game! We arrived at the Rogers Center and lined up with many other fans and there we stood waiting to get in. It was crowded, a bit chilly but I barely noticed, they do a great job making sure the fans are distracted and that they continue to get excited for the game. There are posters, sounds, cheers and fans surrounding. When you take a moment to capture that moment, look around and you see blue, so much blue. You see people who are excited and like nothing else in the world at that moment is as important as standing proud for our team. This moment is what makes Toronto so great and inspiring. The hustle, the bustle and we are making our way through the doors in no time.
First things first, we must get our national food. “Hotdogs, Hotdogs, get your hotdogs”. With our ketchup covered hotdog in hand we proudly walked to our seats. I couldn’t help but be excited as we crammed into our seats. For this game we were in the field right by the Bullpen. The attendant who showed us to our seats reminded us that in this section if you catch a ball you can get it signed. Excited and hopeful we took a seat. Within moments of sitting the Jay’s hit a homerun and I must admit it was pretty awesome to see that ball fall right in our section. We all cheered, yelled and high fived, our team was back!
The Jay’s did not win that game but that really didn’t matter, the atmosphere was still so exciting and hopeful the entire game. As we walked out of the Rogers Center there was still a buzz and we had energy and a feeling of pride. We headed over to the Steam whistle brewery, something everyone who visits Toronto should do. Although, the tours were sold out that day we had a look inside and wandered outside to look at the trains. We figured while we were downtown why not grab a bit to eat as it had been hours since we proudly ate our hot dogs. We headed over to Hoops to get some chicken wings. The pub is an interesting experience. It has a constant busy feel to it, I imagine because of all the television screens. The tables are small, the food was like most pub food, kind of satisfying but not gourmet by any means. We had our own little personal television at our table. I found that exciting although truthfully it was nauseating to try and look at it because it was so close. I often found myself looking at the larger screen. We ate and then made our way back to the train.
Tired, full and still sporting our team’s jerseys we headed home. When we returned home someone asked me, “So, how did the game go?” Great, I responded, we had a lot of fun. I don’t even think I mentioned they lost. Because when you have Blue Jays fever, it doesn’t really matter if they win or lose as long as they “Go Jays Go”!