The Toronto Raptors are one win away from hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy, a moment which would surely go down as a historic one in Canadian sports lore.
Seemingly everyone in the country has been glued to their television sets, or have found to a way to watch it with loved ones. This Finals series has the makings of do you remember where you were conversations years from now.
For the Senior Women's National Team, their viewing experience has been nothing short of epic. The team has been in preparation for a busy summer ahead which includes the FIBA Women's AmeriCup 2019, the 2019 Pan-Am Games in Lima and FIBA Women's Pre-Qualifying Tournament in Americas in the fall. Training camp for the events has been at times gruelling, but the team has been able to bond over the Raptors' historic playoff run.
"It's kind of funny because we're all on the same floor of the hotel and so everyone is just kind of watching it in their room," National Team member Ruth Hamblin told NBA.com.
"You can hear everyone cheering through the halls - and some people might be a few seconds delayed. It's pretty hilarious actually."
Most of us have never gone through training camp, but we can all safely assume from afar that it's not easy. The gruelling preparation can beat you down not only physically, but mentally as well. In recovery some athletes don't want anything to do with basketball, but when you have a chance to watch history how can you turn it away? The Women's National Team has used the NBA Finals as a bonding experience.
Depending on how tired they've been after training camp has dictated how they chose to watch. One game the team watched from separate rooms in their hotel with the doors open as screams echoed throughout the floor. Another game they went down and took over a local sports bar. But as Game 4 came to a close and the team began to look ahead they realized that the potential series-clinching game would be in progress while they were in the air on their way to Brussels, Belgium to take part in a five-game European exhibition tour.
Hamblin came up with the idea to try and use the power of social media to help sway Air Canada into accommodating their flight with a feed to the game.
"I think we finally realized it just before (Game 4) and we were 'like shoot, Game 5 is going to be when we're in the air'," Hamblin said. "Once one person realized it, it kind of spread out and everyone started panicking and we were all very upset.
"I was like 'wait we should reach out on Twitter and send a photo' so that's how all that kind of happened. So we'll find out when we get to Montreal to see if happens so fingers crossed that something is going to happen."
Dear @AirCanada,- Canada Basketball (@CanBball) June 10, 2019
We're flying to Belgium from @CityofEdmonton #YEG tomorrow night. Can you help us out and make sure we can catch the @Raptors game on board? 🤞We can't miss it.
Team Canada 🇨🇦🏀 pic.twitter.com/6mjUs3jsir
Amongst the support from fellow Canadians pledging with the Canadian airline on Twitter, the team got a relatively quick response from a customer service agent named Martha.
Hello, thank you for reaching out to us. Could you please provide us your booking reference in a direct message, so we may better advise ? Regards #WetheNorth /Martha- Air Canada (@AirCanada) June 10, 2019
No word yet on whether or not Martha was able to pull some strings to help Hamblin and the team out, but Hamblin says if the flight does end up getting a feed to the game she hopes her fellow passengers aren't expecting to get any sleep on the way to Europe.
"I think it could be very boisterous for sure. I mean I hope some people aren't really counting on getting a good nights sleep because it's going to be a very exciting environment.
"We're all going to be checking on each other through our TVs and cheering when big plays happen so it could be a very entertaining plane ride.
"I think it's just been amazing to see how our whole nation has rallied behind (the Raptors) showing that we're just so much more than a hockey country.
"As a basketball player, it's just so exciting as we preparing for the Olympics next year - just to know that our country is supporting basketball and loves basketball.
"I think it could be an explosion for the game in our country."
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