Society

“The Grand March of Everybody Who Hated You in High School and Everybody You Hated.” Dissecting the sports parade

The expression is “Everybody loves a parade,” not “Everybody loves a sports parade,” and there are so many excellent reasons for this.

Although sports parades take place every year, they most certainly do not take place in Ottawa every year. Before the Redblacks won the Grey Cup in 2016, 40 years had passed since their last championship. And the Ottawa Senators haven’t won a cup since 1927. That’s the same year they started to carve Mount Rushmore.

In Ottawa, a sports parade comes along about once every couple of generations. It’s more a story that gets told to incredulous children than something for which you have to worry about finding parking. Sure, we get the Santa Claus parade, and it’s great and everything — even if Santa sometimes looks a little skeevy — but it’s just not the same. Zero chance of nudity. Zero chance of looting. And so, for the most part, we have to suffer and watch all the other “winning” cities having their obnoxious parades.

And there they are, all these rich young people, gifted in ways you can’t even begin to imagine, wearing suits that cost more than your car, riding along in some vehicle that cost more than that house you bid on but lost. They’re up there blocking traffic like the uncaring gods they are, waving insincerely at the roiling mob while trying to decide which strip club to attend later. It’s hard not to feel a burning resentment, since it’s like watching the Grand March of Everybody Who Hated You in High School and Everybody You Hated — and there’s a pretty good turnout.

Really, isn’t the sports parade just a form of corporate gloating, anyway, a kind of office party for finally doing your job properly?

If Infrastructure Canada were to have a terrific season and build some kick-ass bridges, would they get a parade? Would hundreds of civil servants march brightly down Bank Street, all adorned with OC Transpo bus passes and government IDs hanging from their necks like Olympic medals? Or would they just nod an understated “Good job” at one another and then take the bus home and watch some Netflix?