Regular readers of the Dino Nation Blog are aware I am not from Toronto. That being said many of you that read, as well as many people that I consider friends do. Not to mention I have reason to visit the city on a regular basis in covering the Raptors. The events of this weekend as a result of the G-20 Summit in Toronto were deeply upsetting to me. I have walked in the streets of many of the areas that were damaged and destroyed on Saturday. It was upsetting to watch as someone who is a regular visitor to the city. I can only imagine what it felt like for the people that call it home. While many people went to Toronto to protest for what they felt was just cause. Others clearly went there to do nothing but cause damage and chaos to the city.
Police from Toronto and all across this country including my home of Hamilton were there trying to keep law and order and keep people safe. Without those people, there is no way to know how much worse things could have been. While people went there with what they would class as peaceful protests, in the end they served as cover for thugs to destroy the city. I am not here to argue political agendas or say if what these people were protesting was worthwhile or not. However it would seem clear to me as a logical person that the chances of them being able to create any actual change was about as realistic as the Clippers winning the NBA Title. They were used as nothing but pawns for people to take violent acts against a city that I care about. The protests they had did nothing other than to aid that. This is my opinion and you may not share it. However just as they will claim their right to protest, it is my right to say how short sighted, idealistic and stupid it was.
The other thing that was disturbing for me is the majority of these people especially the criminal thugs that caused the damage and destruction were not even from Toronto. While many will point to the choices made by the politicians to hold this summit where they did, was almost asking for trouble in holding this event where they did. I do not disagree with that view at all. In working on the internet and seeing things like Ustream and other ways to use video, it would seem to make far more sense to hold these things via video conference. Politicians would argue that they need these face to face meeting to make things happen. I like many, think there has to be a better way then spending 1.2 billion dollars for that to happen.
I could not seriously write about where Chris Bosh is going to play in 2010 and think that it is important after all I have seen this weekend. It kind of puts in perspective all of this 2010 Free Agency Frenzy. It really doesn't matter. Sorry to break the news to Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. I could never cover hard news for the simple reason that it impacts on lives. Sports as much as we may love it and care about it, the simple fact is sports is a great diversion from life. If I am wrong about anything in terms of the Raptors it will not have an impact on life. It is just sports after all. Events like we saw this weekend, the little earthquake we had recently, or to even a large scale event like September 11th remind us of that.
The long term impact of what we all have witnessed in Toronto remains unclear. I deeply hope it does not change the city that I know. While I call Hamilton my home, and as such will always cheer for the Ti-Cats and not the Argos. I still have always loved Toronto and have always been happy to enjoy time in the city. In writing this blog the number of people I know, has grown to large to mention. To know all of those people were being impacted by these events, made it hit home for me. To have personally sat in that Starbucks that was destroyed on Queen St does the same. I just found it all sad and disturbing. This was not what Toronto is for me or anyone else that has had the pleasure to go there or live there. This was some city you see on the news and you say thank God that is not where I live.
I think the one thing that I know from Raptor fans is they are loyal and stick with it no matter what. In fact all Toronto sports fans despite not having much reason to have faith and hope, still continue to have it. I think that is a reflection of Toronto as a city. People that endure a lot but still find a way to remain hopeful and optimistic. After the events of this weekend the same is needed for the city as a whole. I don't think anyone should or could forget the images of this weekend. I have faith and hope that Toronto will remain the place it always has been. They will not let outsiders, for the most part, come in and take away what Toronto is.
I think on behalf of all Raptor fans who do not happen to call Toronto home, they would agree with this that I am about to say. God Bless you folks of Toronto and do not let this change your city. We may complain about a lot of things but at the end of the day I think we all care for your city.
I know that I do and I am happy that all of the people I know in the City are safe. The Dino Nation is no part of any G-20 summit. It is just a nation of people that love basketball and the Raptors. A big part of that nation is the people of Toronto.