I wrote this column for the March 11 Westlock News. But since it also deals with Carleton’s fourth straight, and 10th in 12 years, national men’s basketball title, I thought I would throw it up here before it appears in print.
As I’m sitting here writing this column on Sunday afternoon, I can’t help thinking I’d much rather be in Ottawa right now.
Not because I don’t like it here in rural Alberta, but because I’m missing the CIS men’s basketball national championships.
As some of you are hopefully aware, although frankly I doubt it, my alma mater Carleton is the four-time reigning national champion. More impressively, with a 79-76 win over the Ottawa Gee Gees, they’ve won the title in 10 of the last 12 years.
And I’ve been a live witness to exactly none of them. This despite the championships being held in Ottawa the last two years of my time at Carleton.
I don’t understand why I never went either year. The then-Scotiabank Place was only a relatively short hop, skip and a jump away from Carleton, but I never hopped on the bus for the journey.
This year was supposed to be different.
Five years since graduation, I was planning to return to Ottawa, see what has changed since I was there last, and, yes, cheer on my Ravens as they tried for their 10th title in only 12 years.
I think my only issue with going back, at least from an aesthetic point of view, is that Ottawa is a fairly ugly city at this time of year. I mean, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, but when I returned in June 2009 to graduate, it was a decidedly nicer looking place than it was when I left that April.
So I guess at this point someone is wondering why I am making a big deal out of forsaking a trip to Ottawa to watch basketball, basketball that isn’t even the highest calibre out there.
I think it comes down to Carleton being the only championship-calibre team I can cheer for, and the only one I can remember cheering for.
I may have been seven at the time, but I can’t really remember 1993, the last good year for Canadian professional sports. The Blue Jays were back-to-back World Series champions, and the Canadiens were Stanley Cup champions.
Heck, even the Maple Leafs were half-decent that year, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Sure, the Argonauts have won four Grey Cups since 1993, and the Rock won five titles in seven seasons starting in 1999, but those sports don’t resonate with me as much as do hockey and baseball.
To be honest, basketball is down the list as well, but when your university can field a team with 10 championships in 12 years, you at least have something to hold on to.
Fortunately, the national championships will be at Ryerson next year, with all games held at Maple Leaf Gardens.
And with the opportunity for free room and cheaper board, I know where I’ll be next March.