When the Raptors won the NBA championship it dawned on me that they did more than that – they rebranded middle-age for women.
Like a championship game, menopause at times can feel impossible to beat. The hot flashes along with depression can appear as heavy and overbearing as a power forward. Their journey as a team has been empowering, intoxicating and exciting, just like our life experiences, having to find the where with all when things didn’t work out and possessing the focus and tenacity to keep moving forward. That same DNA runs through our veins. The humility the team demonstrated is all too familiar with women of our age. We have ‘game’ too; only it’s played on the court of life.
I’ve not been addressed as a dinosaur, but friends of mine have. And as threatening as dinosaurs are known to be, so are we especially if we’re going through a full out hormonal episode. I’m aware that the word sounds incongruent and even condescending, but it doesn’t have to. That’s an old perception. Like the team, the Raptor has a legacy and possesses power as do we. As middle-aged dinosaurs, we are faced with all kinds of opponents and challenges. With our accumulated life experiences, our game has become even more committed and focused on the prize and isn’t that what these athletes displayed? A beautiful metaphor for the strength that we all share.
The Raptor’s had several lousy calls made by refs, but Karma was watching. She watched Kyle be a gentleman, keeping his composure and displaying class as he fell into the crowd while Mark Stevens, part-owner of the Warriors, was not. Aggressively and unnecessarily pushing him. As middle-aged women, we’ve experienced those foul calls in our lives all too often and had to keep our composure. Life isn’t fair, but when Karma is in the room, things can have a surprising twist to them. She works with the Universe to throw us a pass out of nowhere and suddenly we’re sinking a basket. For the Raptor’s it meant winning the championship. For us, in the game of life, it means lining ourselves up for promotions and advancements that didn’t come easy.
Like the Raptor’s, we all possess the nurse archetype, can hold court and certainly know our way around balls, having a pair ourselves. And who reading this does not have a basket of some type in their home? The number of similarities is ridiculous. Truth is the language of basketball is entirely in line with middle-aged women:
Dribbling is when we consume too much Chardonnay;
Dunk is what you do with carbs while holding a hot cup of coffee;
Fadeaway is when our hair roots are treated;
Flagrant fouls can happen anytime one speaks their mind with the filter off;
Flash is when our body temperature is higher than that of a kiln;
Hoop is a classic style of earring;
Junk Defence is our attachment to stuff that needs to leave already;
Layup is when we throw our back out;
Mismatch is a terrible online date;
NBA is the National Bladder Association;
Outlet pass is a unique shopping invitation;
Rebound is going back to our original decision, but as women isn’t that our prerogative?
Scorekeepers are ornery mothers-in-law;
Square-up is the task of divvying up assets during a divorce;
Substitution is has become standard protocol when ordering at a restaurant;
Teardrop is what we’ve shed too many of;
Three-pointer is when we’re in alignment, and more than three things fall into place on the same day;
Transition is what menopause is;
Travel is what we say we’ll do more of;
Turnover is what we shouldn’t have, but when it’s hot and delicious we go for it;
Up-and-under is where the pest control guy says the raccoon is lodged in your attic;
V-cut is an unfortunate Brazilian;
Zipper-cut is the result of zipping up pants that shrunk in the wash; and
Zone is the state where we meditate and engage in all things that will bring us peace.
Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Nick Nurse and the rest of the gang can easily be compared to our demographic and should be flattered to be included. They played the game of basketball the way we play life, with Grace and grit void of ego. Like us, they got their butts kicked over the years, and humility comes with a rough ride. It speaks to still waters running deep and takes someone honest to recognize the pain they’ve walked through while welcoming the wisdom they’ve acquired. As for the player’s mothers, they are on the same side court as us. They are raising young men who played like one person invested in the result for the team, not the accolades. Recognizing that strength in numbers augments their power.
I didn’t attend the celebrations because being in the sun while experiencing a hot flash would have been like being deep in the crevices of hell. Further, I was aware that I’d need access to a bathroom at some point. My bladder and brain spoke and resolved that it was best that I watch it from the comfort of our home. I looked on at the crowds ecstatic with love for the team, numbers reportedly being three times the size of Trump’s inauguration — finding euphoria in unity with no room for division.
The diversity of the team and the audience was poetic, their differences the common denominator, in making them all the same. Something Canada does well but so too does our community of women. They generously share insights, recipes, experiences, anything that will serve the greater and higher good of the sisterhood. That sentimentality enveloped the day of celebration. Even the traffic on one of Toronto’s busiest highways, The Gardiner Expressway, pulled over with a zenith of appreciation for the show of dinosaurs. The parade that runs through our lives might be different, but it’s every bit filled with as much love.
The Raptors are a cosmopolitan and committed team like our demographic. Focusing on family illustrating their priorities are on point, and their dedication and passion no different from ours — a team built with people from all over the world, championing causes infused with compassion and humanity. Their off-court charitable contributions speak to the real success that they have each built reflecting well the altruistic contributions we have made in our own lives.
The friendship and bromance between Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry brought a country together, and that sense of unity and type of love is what we share every day with our girlfriends. To see it in sports is a reminder of how powerful and receptive it is. Becoming the foundation dreams are built on, and championships are won. Our close relationships with our girlfriends have helped us walk through the darkest night of the soul. Events we couldn’t imagine coming out at the other end of, never mind as winners.
The Raptor’s quietly rebranded the toughest, smartest, most fearless lot of women – the champions of middle-age, and like them finally making it cool to be a dinosaur.