It was 60 years ago that Joe DiMaggio uttered those famous words, "I want to thank the good lord I'm a Yankee." In that light, I, Salim Valji am going to write the words, "Thank the good lord I'm a Blue Jays fan."
Everyone goes through tough times, it's a necessary evil in life. Right now is one of those dark periods in my life, and if not for the love in my heart for my Blue Jays, I'd have nothing to fall back on.
I was raised in a very religious household, both my parents were practising Muslims and my family was and still is very devout to the religion. Unfortunately, I never truly identified with the religion, and didn't really consider myself a true member. I was and still am a Toronto Blue Jays Fan first and foremost.
They believed in Allah, I believed in the Baseball Gods; they thought the mosque was a place of worship, my place of worship was the baseball diamond; Mecca wasn't the holy land, Toronto was.
My family had the Prophet Mohammed to believe in, I had Joe Carter's magical world-series winning home run to believe in. I couldn't help the fact that I identified with that logo more than with my religion.
My love for the Blue Jays has provided me with a sense of unity and belonging that few things on Earth can offer.
Even in the darkest and most terrible of circumstances that life presents you, when that final out is recorded and a win is sealed and knowing that hundreds of thousands of fans are rejoicing with you over the same event; those circumstances evaporate and are replaced with feelings of brotherhood and harmony with every other fan. And it's very hard to put that into words as to how that feels.
The one thing that sports gives us is something to believe no matter the situation we're in, and you can't put a price on that. People say they have religion to believe in, well sports is a religion.
It's a religion that can give you tears of joy seeing that beautiful Carter home run and give you heartache seeing Scott Downs blow another save; and that's the magnificence of it.
So it's a statement that everyone can say in unison no matter what colours lie in your blood or what sports venue occupies your heart, "Thank God I'm a Sports Fan."
It's a statement we baseball fans can share with the football fans, the hockey fans and whoever else wants to join us; and something we can be united on. And that, my fellow sports fans, is the greatest belief of them all.