More games than you can imagine
Now, this is starting to feel like the Olympics.
One of the big things about getting this gig is seeing different sports, talking to different people.
In the last 24 hours, got to see the women’s soccer team, the men’s water polo team and Garbo, Jose and Spain trounce Greece.
Made for a whirlwind time but it’s also what’s special about this.
Now, I don’t know good water polo from bad water polo and have to have the intricacies of soccer pointed out to me but not talking to professional athletes can be kind of refreshing.
The water polo coach, Dragan Jovanovic, sort of killed his guys after what I’m told was a horrible 16-6 loss to Spain. The women of the soccer team will stand and answer questions for as long as we care to ask them. And Garbo and Jose seemed genuinely glad to see a couple of familiar faces (The First Lady Of The Beat and I) after the game against Greece
Now, if they could just do something about those scorpions in the train stations. (I keed, I keed).
I’m pretty sure you’d never see this in North America.
The media conducts its post-game interviews at the Olympics in these places called ‘mixed zones,’ spots just off the court or field where the players have to file by on their way to their locker room.
We’re usually separated by barriers and we stand against them, call out to the athletes as they walk by and hope they stop.
Anyway, there’s always a whole bunch of cheering in the press box and mixed zones at these things, a fact I remember all too well at the natatorium yesterday morning.
When a couple of the Spanish players walked by, not only did the writers, or whatever they were, call out to them, they called them over and gave them big hugs to congratulate them.
You should know that Garbo looks in as good physical condition as I think I've ever seen him. Lost some weight, too. Looks to me like he could withstand an NBA season. -
Here’s one reason to love international basketball.
Two timeouts per team per half. Only called by the bench.
Here’s one reason to love international water polo (me being the international water polo expert and all).
Four eight-minute quarters. No timeouts. Game’s over in about an hour.
Oh yeah, all you Raptor fans wondering whether former second-round pick Giorgos Printezis will ever be in the NBA.
Probably not soon. A DNP-CD in a 15-point loss to Spain does not bode well.
Since we’ve got a lot of basketball today, here’s a basketball question:
Q: I know he lacks the star appeal of the other players on the team but wouldn't Jason Kapono be a perfect fit for the US Olympic team? The international game is all about 3 point shooting (a relative weakness of the US team) and, even though he's had his troubles guarding bigger quicker NBA players, I think JK could be a decent defender against international competition, especially if the US plays a zone defense instead of man to man. Add all that to the fact that he'd likely get a ton of open shots playing with guys like CP3, LeBron, Kobe, Bosh, Dwight Howard etc. and he seems like a logical choice. If the US gets beat again this year, especially by their inability to make 3 point shots, do you think we might see Kapono on the next edition of Team USA?
Serge P, Ottawa
A: Well, you know, I was going to dismiss this out of hand and then I figure, if Michael Redd’s on the team, which can’t Jason Kapono be?
And then I remembered that Jason’s not the greatest defender in the history of the game – maybe not even in the history of his family for all I know – and that may be what’s keeping him off an Olympic roster.
I heard they invited him to play for the developmental team that P.J. and Jay coached before the real team left for here and I’m told he declined. Probably had a golf game.
And I can’t imagine he’d get a sniff four years from now, he’ll be older someone else will emerge to fill that role.
We’re sitting watching the women’s soccer game the other night and we figure it’s becoming a pretty popular team back home, right?
So why, in its infinite wisdom, did the CBC and TSN not send a soccer play-by-play guy and an analyst over here?
They got basketball guys and boxing guys and baseball guys and guys and gals for a whole raft of sports. But not soccer?
Now, I hear the CBC does a brilliant job on Olympics (I’ve been at the last five summer games so I’m going by the comments of others) but that decision was, frankly, a mistake.
Surely to goodness they could have found room for two more people.
Yes, Jose Calderon makes that familiar three-finger sign after a three-point basket playing for Spain, too.
For every second we’ve been here, it’s been humid and it’s felt like a thunderstorm was only seconds away.
Well, we finally got one today, a nice downpour.
Did it clear the humidity? Yeah, not bad, actually.
Guess whatever they’re doing to seed the clouds or alter the weather is working.
Saw a couple of basketball games Sunday and nary a peep of The Chicken. They might be saving she/he/it for the playoff round.
But did get a look at the goofy little mascots, who were traipsing around the water polo venue (and you gotta love a stadium called the Yingdong Natatorium) during halftime of the Canada-Spain game.
Not sure if I’m warming to them, yet. Maybe it’ll take a while.
I can’t remember what the stuffed animals were, exactly, in Barcelona but they stick in my mind as some of the best out there.
The Oompa Loompa things in Nagano were sorta cute, too.