3 Amazing Fun Facts About the Toronto Raptors

Along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, now Memphis Grizzlies, The Toronto Raptors were founded in 1995 when the NBA expanded into Canada as part of their goal for total worldwide domination. The only other market the NBA considered in Ontario was Punkeydoodles Corners, yes, that’s a real town. An NBA executive explained, “The team name was going to be the Punkeydoodles Corners Doodleheads, but they couldn’t fit it on the jerseys, so we went with Toronto.”

Right around this time that the NBA was expanding into Canada, the Canadian Football League was busy expanding into America. The first team was the Sacramento Gold Miners, which was largely made up of the former Sacramento Surge, a team with the defunct World League of American Football. The league failed partly because the games were played in spring, and Americans don’t think of football in spring. They think of baseball, golf, and sucking in their gut at the beach for the next 6 months instead of actually exercising.

The Raptors originally played at the SkyDome, well-known for its motorized, retractable roof. The roof worked well until that one year it broke and it snowed on the court for the entire first half of the game. An arena spokesperson said, “It was the first time we brought out the Zamboni for a basketball game.”

The Best Rhymes of Canada’s Rancher Rapper

Canada is well behind the rest of the world. The benefit is that the Canadian rap scene has not fallen off as much as in other countries like the US.

In fact, one of Canada’s biggest rap stars, the Rancher Rapper, recently dropped his latest album, “Sheep Shearin’ and Gat Blastin.'” Here are some of the best rhymes from the album.

 

 

“Got No Sleep – Remix”

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Three sheep need sheerin’ I got no sleep
Bogus trippin’ n I’m runnin’ deep
With my boys rollin’ gats blastin’
On Sunday our fly fishin’ reels be castin’

 

 

“Bootlicka”

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My dog he eatin’ everythin’ in the house
He ate my cat he ate my mouse
He eatin my boots he’s a boot licka
‘Bout to discipline him with my clicka

 

 

“Hey Wagon!”

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Hey, hey wagon, hey wagon, hey wagon, Yo!

 

 

“Pabst Blue No Skinny Jeans”

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Got our PBRs we be trippin’
Deep to your hood black skinny jeans
Coyote howlin’ tin cans rippin’
We’ll take out your appendix and your spleen

 

 

 

“Rancher Rapper” (TM) Ranch City Records – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada – Lyrics and Music – All Rights Reserved

Image Elements courtesy US National Archives and Internet Archive

Tired of Winter? These Canadians Eat Winter For Breakfast

What? You are tired of winter? Aw, poor you! You want the sun to return and the endless grey skies of February to go away.

Your problem is you are weak. Take a lesson from these Canadians. They laugh at winter. Put on four pairs of long johns and come with us as we observe Canadians taking care of business.

 

These Canadians eat winter for breakfast

Frozen seaways? Haha. Canadians just cut ice away from frozen lakes and ponds! Hey, want some fresh ice in your Scotch on the rocks?

 

These Canadians eat winter for breakfast

You think you have a bad winter? This is Winnipeg in the middle of June. Spring won’t come until early July and summer is only a few weeks long!

 

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You know what that lady is carrying? A bow and arrow covered in cloth. If they see any bison, she whips out the bow and brings down the beast with one shot. Dinner is served!

 

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Too much snow on the lake to play hockey? No problem. These guys iced down an indoor greyhound racing track and started playing hockey within the next two hours!

 

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Got the winter doldrums? These people spiced up their winter days by racing for food. Only the winner gets to eat. You don’t need shorter winters. You need better ideas.

 

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This guy just pulled some fish out a hole he cut in the ice. Now he’s cutting the fish using a special boat he made with an old Sunfish sailboat and some indestructible kitchen knives he bought on QVC. You just need to get creative to enjoy winter, not hate it!

 

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Hi mom, I love winter!

 

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Aw, you find it hard to walk in the snow? These Canadians didn’t cry, they figured it out. Two tennis rackets and some duct tape and you are off and running!

 

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No money for winter sports? Get out your toughest blanket and throw your friends around like popcorn in the skillet. Listen, Canada has winter down “cold.” You just need to try harder.

 

Dead Man’s Curve

When I was 8 my family moved to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I started playing hockey that fall. I loved hockey for its speed and action. But for sheer danger and human drama, hockey paled to the blood-rush I felt when I discovered tobogganing.

My brothers and I scoured the city to find the best toboggan runs. The definition of “best” was “most dangerous”. And the most dangerous toboggan run in town was Dead Man’s Curve.

Dead Man’s Curve wasn’t the steepest hill in town- some hills in Edmonton looked like cliffs. Museum Hill was one of them, tucked behind the Provincial Museum of Alberta. “Tubers” loved Museum Hill because there was so much room. Tubers ride big inner tubes. The bigger the better. Some tubers would show up with giant airplane tire tubes three or four stories tall. Seventy people would jump on, their toques flying in the wind. Their giant tubes ate everything in their path- kids on saucers and sleds disappeared underneath, never to be seen again.

Of all the cool places to toboggan, Dead Man’s Curve was the piece d’resistance. It was a trail that cut down the side of a steep ravine. As it neared the bottom, the trail curved to the left along a big bank. Then it cut sharp to the right against a smaller bank and then flattened out to the North Saskatchewan River.

One day my brothers John, Chris, Mike and I piled on the toboggan. John was in front because he was the best driver. He was also fearless. You need to be fearless when you are riding a toboggan at 180 miles an hour. I got on next and then Mike and Chris. We locked our legs around the guy in front of us. We then curled our fingers under the ropes that ran along the edge of the toboggan. Chris got on last- he was the push off man.

Slowly we picked up speed. A toboggan is steered by leaning. Leaning is a learned skill, honed by hours on the hill together. We leaned left and right, the toboggan responding with sharp scraping sounds. The wind began to whistle in my ears. Faster. Faster. A low rumble formed in my throat and grew to a curdling yell as we shot down the hill.

“WooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!” I cried out, Chris and Mike joining in. John was silent in the captain’s chair, his legs locked tight around the chains that held toboggan front down. Faster and faster we went. I couldn’t look anymore. I looked straight down, the cold wind making my eyes tear up. The tears froze into icicles on my cheeks. The knitted ball on the end of John’s toque whipped in the wind, stinging my face. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

We approached the first curve. This is crucial- if we don’t lean enough to the left, we will fly over the curve and into the trees! “Lean”, John yelled as he threw his body weight to the left. It was too late. We shot up over the curve. Up, up into the clear, biting winter air. Higher and higher we shot. Birds flew by. Airplanes came into view and disappeared behind us. The earth was beautiful below, blue and white and still.

As quickly as we went up, we came down. Down, down, reentering the atmosphere. Our screams were audible now. Mike grabbed the back of my jacket, pulling the zipper into my neck. Chris seemed to be flapping in the air behind us, holding on. John steeled himself for impact. We crashed into the trees, branches whipping our faces. BOOM! We hit a pine tree dead on.

Our bodies flew all over the place. Except John. He took the full impact. The toboggan twisted upside down, his feet caught in the chains. Chris was thrown the farthest, dangling from a tree branch. Mike had rolled up against a stump. I tumbled into a little ditch, disappearing in a snow drift.

It was quiet. Chris slid from the branch and limped over to the crash site. “You guys all right?”, he asked.

“Check,” I muttered from under the snow.

“Yeah”, John moaned, his feet bent behind his head.

“Present and accounted for”, Mike said between deep breaths.

“Good,” Chris said, “It’s getting dark. We have time for one more run.”