It was just another December day in Toronto.
It was a Saturday, so the briskness of city life had slowed down to a more relaxing pace. Families were out shopping for Christmas gifts. Twenty-somethings were getting day-drunk on Caesars and watery lagers. And retail workers were dreaming of when the holiday season would end, so they too could partake in the pleasures of easy living.
But in Yorktown, where resplendent condo towers reach out toward the firmament, a band of noble warriors had gathered.
There were over 100 of them, and they had come to partake in an ancient procession — the Toronto Santa Speedo Run. For 10 years, men and women have come to this proving ground. And like Olympians of old, they must strip off the trappings of civilized life and battle the elements with only a small piece of cloth to retain their modesty.
But there were nine among the crowd who had never before taken on this most sacred of trials.
They call themselves the Triggerfish. For this ancient order of aquatic gladiators, the speedo is a sacred garb, worn during the underwater combat known as water polo. But this day, nine brave men stepped out of the water and into the biting air.
Others stood in awe of these demigods. Their flesh rippled as they stood unashamed in the streets. The speedos clung to their backsides, as if in a desperate lover’s embrace.
And they ran.
They did not run for glory, or vanity, or to be venerated as gods who have risen from the water. No, these noble paladins did it for the most vulnerable amongst us — the children. They ran, so that the young ones at SickKids Hospital might have toys and games to bring them joy.
They hurtled through the streets, like stallions, wild and free. At times, they would stop, lay flat onto the streets, and thrust down and up in a display of animal virility.
Onlookers gawked from their cars and from inside the shops, astonished at their graceful masculinity. From their heaving chests, the Triggerfish would bellow Christmas songs, bringing joy to all around them.
Ming Yao was one of these majestic souls. He says that the Triggerfish were able to raise $3,000 for the children.
And though this was their first run, they’ll be back again next year.
“We’re using our speedos for good,” he says.