A sport may come to a sudden stop so let's watch soccer
Maybe between now and October we should call this Doug Smith’s Raptors Blog With A Whole Bunch Of Other Stuff That Interests Some Of You Because There’s Not Enough Basketball At The Moment.
Unwieldy but …
Is this the last NBA day for a while?
We all know that the collective bargaining agreement expires tonight, there’s a negotiation session scheduled for today in New York but there’s been no sense of optimism that this thing is going to get settled in time to avert a lockout that could be crippling to a sport that’s never been more popular than it is right now.
Yeah, sure is stupid, isn’t it?
The specifics of the talks make my eyes glaze over so I’m not going to get into them in too much detail; it’s billions divided by millions and give backs and takeaways and it’s all about money.
But it’s also all about office workers and ticket takers and concession stand workers and front office types who may face layoffs or salary cuts or job losses if this thing drags on for any length of time.
I know people always get hurt in labour situations like this and ancillary damage is unavoidable but just once I’d like to hear the owners and players say, ‘hey, we’re sorry, folks, we’ll find a way to make it up to you.’
Not sure that’s going to happen and if the falls rolls around and games are missed and people miss paydays, that’s going to be the worst thing about this.
Yes, the players will ultimately make obscene amounts of money and owners will get a system that practically assures them a profit despite themselves and to think they’ll suffer hardship is foolish.
The hardship is going to be felt by the regular folks affected by this; it’s not right, but it’s a fact and it blows.
Now to the other important stuff.
Of course I’m going to be near a TV at noon today to watch Canada-France and you probably should be, too.
(It’s women’s football for the uninitiated)
I kinda feel this weird connection to this team and maybe that’s why I have become a big fan of this World Cup since the run-up really began a few weeks ago.
I remember covering a lot of them in Beijing and coming away very impressed with not only their athletic ability but the way the comported themselves with the media and the fans and the whole circus-like atmosphere of the Olympics.
They were tough, rugged and while they didn’t play nearly as entertaining a brand of football (I seem to recall it was far more kick-and-chase back then instead of something trying to approximate the Beautiful Game under this coaching staff) they were fun to watch and write about.
Irregulars will know that I’m a fan of Canadian women’s team sports (basketball, soccer, softball, primarily since I’ve written a lot about them all) because they just play, the often get short shrift from the public but they don’t whine and they represent themselves, their country and their game in a manner of which we should all be proud.
You know I’m not a fan, per se, but I want these young women to do well.
So I’m chatting with a young friend of mine yesterday and we’re talking about run of the mill stuff and the topic of the impending Canada Day weekend comes up with all the good stuff there is to do.
I said to her, “hey, this is a big weekend for you, right? Time to celebrate; it’s like your birthday.”
“It’s like Christmas!”
And all I can think of is that I hope the idiot Mayor of the City Where I Work gets eaten by fist-sized black flies all weekend and that the entire time is filled with thunderstorms. And that he loses every game of Yahtzee he’s forced to play to pass the rain-soaked hours.
So barring any work stuff that pops up, I’ve got a couple of days coming that could include some time on the deck and I have a wee bit of a craving for crustaceans and if anyone’s got a good barbecue recipe, I’d give it a shot.
This has some pertinence given where we are in all things labour and also gives me a chance to give you one more chance to click, write, send and unburden yourselves with mail.
Q: Hi Doug. Very quick question re: the trade exception, which I believe exists until July 11.
Say, for example, a lockout begins on July 1, ten days before the exception expires. Does the exception just expire early or will the Raps get the ten days to use the exception when business reopens, if such a thing is permitted in the new CBA?
Thanks, and keep up the good work.
Gareth M, Ireland
A: That’s one of the great unknowns and when you ask any connected with any team about anything to do with the impending lockout or labour talks, they clam up like never before, fearing the Wrath of David.
Best I can tell you is we just have to wait. Wish I could have more info for you, but it’s not easily obtained.
And it’s actually July 9 if they pull off a miracle and get things done before the deadline.
Once more to the soccer:
Christine Sinclair is the anti-Hedo, isn’t she?
(You know, with the whole mask thing)
Yes, I’ve heard the name Johnny Davis linked to Dwane’s staff in Toronto but, no, nothing is official.
And as we’ve been saying off and on for a couple of weeks given the absence during workouts and at announcements, there’s always been little chance either Alex or PJ would be back.
When things get done, or close to done, I’m pretty sure I’ll let you know.
One more kick at the world juniors before they start sometime later this morning against Korea over in Latvia (and if I could figure out time zones I’d tell you exactly what time it is but I can’t, so I won’t).
One of the more intriguing kids on the Canadian team is Sim Bhullar, who many of you may have never heard of.
He’s a 7-4 kid we wrote about in our paper in this piece a week or so ago and he’ll attract a lot of attention, I’m sure.
Now, I have never seen him play in person so I cannot speak to his skills, his fluidity or his mobility but he is intriguing, if raw.
Greg Francis has this to say about him the other day.
“Sim is a has made huge strides in his game. He continues to improve throughout our training camp so I feel that he is among the best big men in the competition. Sim might be the best low post scorer in the tournament.”
One to keep an eye on for sure.