Homer. Mouthpiece. Company Man. These are but a few of the blasphemous names used to describe the voice of the Raptors, Chuck Swirsky. As the team *ahem* struggles this season, it has become fashionable to dismiss the omnipresent Swirsky as a histrionic PR-machine for MLSE; an entertaining character who constantly sells the Raptors, refusing to criticize his collective bosses by criticizing their team.
Now The Swirsk is too proud and professional a man to step down from his pulpit and wade into the swamp to sling mud with these nay-saying Philistines. The Blue Baller is not. So to all of you disbelievers who call yourself Raptor fans, orient yourself South to basketball Mecca and bow down with your godless brothers in Madison Square Gardens—there are 70 unused John Starks throwback jerseys waiting for you!
To say that Chuck Swirsky refuses to criticize the Raptors, misses the real point. The Swirsk does not defend the Raptors blindly, He plays the thankless role of The Angel’s Advocate; a martyr who stimulates righteous debate by taking a fervently optimistic perspective, asking: “But what if things do go exactly right, what then?” There is a difference. The Swirsk absolutely recognizes the basketball sins that are taking place before His eyes, but just stop for a moment and imagine a world where He slips into the Dark Side:
“Well we’re 2 minutes into the first and Araujo has just picked up his 3rd foul. He takes a seat next to a sleeping Jalen Rose, and in comes Charlie V—another player Deadman Walking reached for in the draft. Charlie inbounds the ball to Calderon who is yelling instructions at his teammates, none of whom seem to understand a goddamn word he is saying. Jose drives and kicks the ball out to Joey Graham on the perimeter who looks like he is going to wet his pants at the prospect of dribbling. He wisely passes the ball into the post, and Bosh scores the bucket, cutting the Piston’s lead to 18. Do that while you can Joey, CB4 is CB-Gone next year. Book it.”
Take it from the author of The Tournament of Assholes and the All-Herpes Team, it is much more godly and challenging to be positive than it is to be negative. [Flagrancy Editor’s Note: slanderous and spiteful are perfectly ok, too.]
For you infidels who complain The Swirsk’s commentary is too over the top and distracts from watching a game, may I suggest you turn down the volume. May I also suggest you scratch your eyes out of your heathen heads. If you can not appreciate listing to The Swirsk speak in tongues about the Raptors, you do not deserve audio, or the gift of sight. In sports broadcasting, like religion, nothing great is ever accomplished without enthusiasm. And for the Swirsk, the Raptors cup genuinely spilleth over.
For The Blue Baller, the experience of watching The Game and listening to The Swirsk’s gospel are so intertwined that they can not be separated. When I was but an OT-3 Level Raptor fan, I used to ridicule those followers who would watch the game from the stands while listening to The Word of The Swirsk on Canada 3000 earphones. I recant brothers, I now see you are enlightened!
So the next time one of you pagans hear Leo Rautins griping about not passing the ball into the post, or Jack Armstrong shrugging off another Raptor loss, remember The Passion of The Chuck. In fact, when my balls turn from blue to black, and finally to dust, I want them shot out of a cannon at centre court of the ACC, with Chuck Swirsky blessing the whole event, dedicating the blast to some 13-year old Raptor fan who may be watching in Penetanguishene.
See, true Raptor fans have braved fire and brimstone for this team; watching players quit and refuse to report, GMs squander draft picks and botch trades, Rod Black. But through it all, there has been a single bright light in our collective horizon: The Swirsk. For true believers, He is not the team’s voice, He is the team’s soul.