“Another excuse for people to act like idiots” is a phrase I’m stealing from my neighbour who heard it from a friend who was describing this sporting event’s effect on fan behaviour.
Some of the customs associated with the delirium of reverie have no place in the 21st Century.
The endless exhausting of car fumes as vehicles parade through the downtown streets, for example. No one’s thinking about the climate crisis, but no doubt we should be. There are bylaws against excessive idling in Toronto – one minute maximum. With all we know about the heating of the globe, idling should be passé, at the very least frowned upon. But our sports team just won a trophy! Who cares about carbon emissions at a time like this? Ditto the environment. People leave their garbage strewn everywhere.
Sometimes celebrations involve polluting tickertape, balloon releases, fireworks, glitter and confetti, all emblems of another era. Cleanup tasks are enormous afterwards. While Ontario claims to be working on an anti-litter strategy and Canada is trying to link litter prevention to its announced ban on some single-use plastic items, you’d never know it judging from the mess caused by exuberant revelers after the Toronto Raptors clinched its historic first NBA Championship.
The day after the big win, areas of downtown had to be closed to undertake the massive cleanup, and at what cost? Taxpayers and the environment both pay a price. Yet, from police spokespeople during the debriefing came not a mention, not a reminder, not even a breath devoted to saying littering is a crime. They focused on the good news part of the story -- that there were no melees, no injuries. I give Toronto fans credit for that, but when I review footage of a non-stop, snaking line of slow moving vehicles I can’t shake the stupidity of dumb humans.
When I ask myself in incredulous fascination, ‘What planet am I on?’ the answer is inescapable, “the only planet we’ve got.”