A Team To Believe In


Take Me Out to the Ball Game 

It wasn't long ago that I had to take part in a personal assessment, along with the rest of my colleagues, to determine the strengths and weaknesses within our organization. Historically I have opposed assessments like the Birkman Method with the shallow excuse that they perpetuate the mindset of self-fulfilling prophecy within their test subjects. After taking a few long walks where I contemplated the finer things in life — ie. Whether Jimmy Fallon would have Justin Timberlake on The Tonight Show again soon, or if Kanye would soon make known his intentions to run for president I decided that perhaps the analysis wouldn’t be the worst thing for my ego and the rest of the staff.

 Birkman ended up changing my life. If I have one key takeaway to share, it would be the revelation of how I work in a team setting. Namely, that I love to work in teams but only if I perceive the team to be a winning team!

 Thank you, Birkman, for helping me make so much sense of my world. Since this assessment I have had the privilege of looking at my world through a different lens. I now know why I'm rooting for Trump in the upcoming election — he's so great at building 'successful' teams. But most importantly I've learned why I've loved to hate and hated to love the city of Toronto.

I grew up a Mighty Ducks fan, likely because of the Mighty Ducks movies that came out when I was a child. After being badgered by my brother and father for a few years, I switched my allegiance to the Toronto Maple Leafs. From this point on, my love of Toronto and sports began to spread to every team in Toronto: the Argonauts, Raptors, and Blue Jays. For the next few years the rest of my life I've slowly wasted away as a fan into a life full of hope and sorrow as Toronto has consistently let me, and every other fan cheering for this city, down year after year. All this while Anaheim has produced arguably successful teams I am not bitter.

 I love the idea of a team when it is successful.

 This revelation about my own predisposition towards teams is likely an accurate reflection of most sports fans, and may describe the recent obsession with the Toronto Blue Jays, Canada's baseball team.

We owe a lot to Drake. 'We the North' was his brain child, as he was the mastermind behind the branding that rallied Toronto fans behind a hopeful baseball team, Canada's only basketball team. The need to back a winning team ended up getting the best of us however, as the phase quickly ended when we were swept away by the Washington Wizards in four games.

A new phenomenon in Toronto sports has emerged, one that seems even more promising than our stint with our baseball team: The Blue Jays.

What many have attributed to jumping on the bandwagon, I attribute to a nation of hungry fans that finally have a team that they actually believe may win this thing. Much of the recent success can be attributed to bold moves nearing the trade deadline by General Manager of the Blue Jays, Alex Anthopoulos. Anthopoulos made some key moves following the Major League Baseball's all-star break that had fans buzzing.

David Price, Troy Tulowitzki and Ben Revere are all names that immediately brought hope to fans that have supported a team with the longest playoff drought in the league. All of a sudden, positions that were once filled by sub-par major league athletes are now filled by all-stars that are the best at what they do, in their respective positions. Not only did these players bring an extra measure of excitement to our collective playoff hopes, but they were added to an already dynamic lineup of players like José Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Russell Martin, Justin Smoak and Kevin Pillar. No longer do fans have to wonder if its emotionless manager has what it takes to motivate our team we are able to trust the team of players themselves.

Perhaps the most significant contribution to the Jay's recent success is that we are watching a team of players that have begun to believe that they are on a winning team. It's this mindset that brings a team together. It's this mindset that has the Blue Jays believing that every game or series they go into is winnable. It's this mindset that has seen the Blue Jays set records that have not been met since their 1992 and 1993 years when they last won the World Series.

The recent success of the Blue Jays may most accurately be attributed to visible comradery that exists between Jay's players. This is the first team that everyone within, around, and outside of the organization believes in the team that has been assembled. As Toronto fans, we are excited by the hope that this season may just end the same way that our notorious 92-93 team did in back-to-back years, with a World Series title. Hats off to you, Alex Anthopoulos, for assembling a team we can believe in. #cometogether.