The Raptors never fail to break your heart

That thousand-mile stare

You can’t viscerally hate something you love. When you love something, all you can do is hope for the best because it’s no longer in your hands.

I love the Raptors, and I suspect everyone here does too. Somewhere down the line you caught a glimpse of Vince Carter dunking, or Chris Bosh’s fadeaway, or perhaps a Kyle Lowry hustle play tugged at your heartstrings. Maybe you just wanted something good to happen to the city of Toronto, or Canada as a whole, and get some recognition from south of the border.

Somewhere down the line that fucking purple dinosaur took your heart and has left you and I to suffer.

Before the playoffs started, I arranged to put together a piece exploring Raptors fandom. I asked 10 fans about the lengths they went in order to support the team, and when their fandom was most put to the test.

One fan told me that he travelled to New Jersey in 2007 and had Americans throw batteries at their car. Another fan stayed local, took their significant other to the Raptors game on Valentine’s Day, only to see the entire arena cheer when Jeremy Lin nailed a buzzer-beater over Jose Calderon. Others just told me of their despair when Vince was traded for peanuts, or when Bosh dipped and left Andrea Bargnani to lead the team.

Someday, I’ll ask fans about what it was like to drive to Indiana only to see the Raptors lose by 18 and to have the PA announcer lead a “U-S-A” chant. Some might even tell me that they were there for the debacle in Game 4 as well. A 56-win team getting kicked in the teeth by seventh-seed led by one player — that has to rank up there, even for a inept franchise like this.

No matter how long we’ve been fans, we all wear scars to prove it. And we do so proudly, because we love this team, and we will support this team come hell or high water. That’s why we’ll open the wallet to drop $300 on tickets, or stand out in the rain to cheer outside the arena. Fuck it, even Drake did a free show and watched from his condo. We do it out of love.

We want so badly for this team — just once — to give us something to be proud of.

We love the Raptors, but because they’re the fucking Raptors, we’re doomed always to feel this hollow emptiness. Because if history has taught us anything, it’s that the Raptors will break your heart. This isn’t the first and it won’t be the last.

So when the team puts in a performance like they did in Game 6, it’s not anger, it’s not frustration, I don’t feel betrayed. I can only feel disappointment.

But if we knew any better, we would feel nothing at all towards this team. Because let’s face it — they haven’t earned it.

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