Toronto and I go way back. It was the first foreign city I ever visited, a family trip I took back when I was in 7thgrade. Later, it became the place where I gave a 5-day Orff Course just about every summer since 2000. They seemed to like me there and would invite me back each year to teach whatever I wanted— a jazz course, world music course, poetry and music course, pedagogy course. All taught at the Royal Conservatory of Music, where Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman first introduced their ideas to North America in their one and only historic trip to the continent. That was in 1962, one year before my trip—wouldn’t it have been interesting if it had been the same year and if I was on the same tour of the Casa Loma as them?! I can feel a short story coming on.
After all these years, I know scores of wonderful teachers who keep coming back for my courses. I have my little routines that I look forward to. Dinner with a friend at Hemingway’s Bar and Grill or the Thai Restaurant, night at the Jazz Club, barbecue at a friend’s house out in York. Getting nut bars at the store next to the Bata Shoe Museum, enjoying the daily walk on Bloor St. and so on. Along with Madrid and Salzburg, it’s a city I’ve taught in over and over again. It’s an old friend.
But now everything has changed. It’s as if my old friend stole my girlfriend and betrayed me. I’m talking about the Raptors beating the Warriors! I’m still not over it and need a special Sports Therapist to work through my issues. I didn’t see that final game and am thinking I need to watch it to better process my woundedness. I’m actually taking a rare year off from teaching in Toronto because of my course in Halifax, but tonight I will spend the night there before flying on. So last night’s dreams were all about that final game I didn’t see.
On the surface, I know what to say. Hey, it’s just a stupid game. And the Warriors were severely handicapped by the absence of Kevin Durant. And the Raptors played extraordinarily well and deserved their victory and I should be happy for them. All of that makes sense. But there is some deeper layer that I can’t quite get to and it’s a total surprise, because I’m not a rabid sports fan and only tune in when the Giants, 49’ers or Warriors make it to the playoffs. Why did this end up meaning so much to me?
Well, I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, I will still talk to my friends in Toronto and hopefully, teach there again another summer. But only if the Warriors win next year! J