Toronto Raptors guard Norman Powell (24) slam dunks the ball against the Indiana Pacers during second half round one NBA basketball playoff action in Toronto on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Sports viewing parties a plus for the community

Group celebrations help engage people in sport, build friendships, and are just downright fun

Bring back Jurassic Park.

No, I’m not calling for a return to the Mesozoic Era. Or even the early 1990s when Steven Spielberg’s film starring the ancient wonders of our planet was wowing audiences (and influencing the naming decision of a future championship basketball team.)

Rather, I’d love to see the opportunity for more gatherings of the modern day “Jurassic Park” style to take place: viewing parties that bring communities together over a shared experience in the sporting world.

READ MORE: Raptors ‘Jurassic Park’ in Prince Rupert

Jurassic Rupert, the Civic Centre watch party that took place during Games 5 and 6 of the NBA finals last month, was an engaging idea. It offered a venue for people to go and enjoy the games with others looking to partake in the historic series. There were popcorn snacks available. And of course the projection screen was huge.

Families, friend groups, and all other combinations of people came out for the fun. Even folks that were not normally basketball fans were eager to be part of the atmosphere, to be part of a celebration that spanned across the country.

Sporting events provide an ideal venue for people to come together and share experiences and good times. So why not hold more of these events? This concept doesn’t have to be limited to Finals series or international tournaments either. A Saturday night hockey screening or Sunday football gathering would also surely draw those looking to experience the camaraderie of sports fandom with their fellow fans. And of course, public viewings and the bonds and relationships that ensue go a long way towards promoting community unity as well.

I hope that the city finds a way to plan more of these events going forward. I will be sure to see you there!

READ MORE: Report: Kawhi Leonard to leave Raptors, sign with L.A. Clippers

Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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