A series of random, yet entertaining, points
For today’s reading and listening pleasure, a series of totally random items because there’s no one thing that really strikes me as important.
I fear dead.
I know wacky things happen at things like Olympic qualification tournaments but it’s going to take an act by some outside agency for Canada to even qualify for the last-chance tournament next year.
That loss to Venezuela was crushing, as it turns out. Looks like – and, again, odd things happen – Canada is going to need three wins in the four second round games to have a chance to move on.
A win over Argentina today is too much to ask for, even from the most optimistic among you, which means they’d have to get Puerto Rico tomorrow and then Uruguay and Panama. The last two are quite doable, the Puerto Rico game could be considered the most important game this team has played in many a year.
We’ll get more into this when this thing’s finally over but not having a senior team next summer – and if they did run a program, it’d be terrible scaled down with nothing significant to play for – would set the program back a long, long way.
We know the future still looks brighter than it has in years if the talent develops as expected and the team continues to improve.
But missing out on a summer will be costly in sponsorships (and money is a huge issue, still), public perception and global significance.
I’ve always maintained it would be nearly impossible for Canada to qualify for the 2012 London Games but not even having a chance next summer will be almost crippling to an ascendant program.
But, on the bright side, maybe more of you will pay closer attention the women’s team.
Right, the name thing.
Well, here’s the thing: With a flight Thursday and games Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Sunday afternoon and a flight home last night, something had to fall through the cracks and trying to go through all the comments and votes on what to all the national basketball teams was it.
Besides, today is a holiday, and I’d imagine some of the Irregulars are off and won’t be able to stop by. So let’s wait and not take the surprise away from them.
Remember the saloon, PJ Clarke’s, that I was telling you about in New York. The one with the jukebox that had the Johnny Cash one?
Well, how about a Saturday night with a burger and my friend Stella and this little ditty comes on?
I tell you, that Les Brown could arrange some music; and Doris was a looker, as they say.
Okay, I will fully admit that New Yorkers – especially the city’s sports fans – can be entirely too much. Too brash, too loud, too many, too everything.
But, I tell you, they do the coolest thing at Yankee Stadium.
Top of the first inning, Yankees take the field and the fans in the bleachers start chanting names.
Der-ek Je-ter, clap-clap, clap-clap-clap is one. They do every position player and they don’t stop until that players waves or doffs his cap or acknowledges them in some way.
It’s very, very cool; kind of like the fans and players saying hello.
Not sure why it struck me as so neat, but it did.
We’re almost at the end of the first round over in Lithuania and I guess there are two or three things that jump out.
Spain’s on form and right now look unbeatable. You know how I was all over Lithuania being at home and being really good? Well, Spain dropping 62 points on them in a half was something quite unforeseen.
Oh, and you know how we always talk about being at home being a big deal? Well, Turkey got all the way to the world championships gold medal game in Istanbul a year ago and today they either have to beat Spain or get some help from Great Britain to even have a chance to scrape into the second round. It’ll be interesting to see how Spain handles the game, though. They’ve already clinched first place in their group, I’m hearing they might give Pau Gasol and Rudy Fernandez the day off and this exactly the kind of game some teams “take off” at this point in the long slog of a tournament.
Oh, and the other thing?
What the heck Macedonia?
Oh, I know what it is but what is it doing leading Group C with a chance to win it tomorrow when it finishes the first round? They drilled Greece, lost a tight one to Croatia and have two other wins under their belt. Not bad of a team of guys no one’s heard of and without a single NBA guy, isn’t it? There always seems to be one big surprise in these kinds of things; I’d say Macedonia is it right now.
You want the height of opulence?
The dugouts at Yankee Stadium are air-conditioned.
Five or six vents in the roof blow nice cool air all day; no way those highly-trained ball players are going to have to go too long in searing heat.
The people you meet sitting on a stool.
Another PJ Clarke’s story – I know, it’s become something of a haven – but a good one.
Sitting there Saturday evening right by the maitre d’ spot and this older gentleman, quite gregarious, comes down to see about his table. It’s hugs and handshakes all around, he’s obviously well known and there’s something eerily familiar about him. Anyway, he looks over, I nod because that’s what you do when you’re hanging around and he wanders over, obviously wanting to kill some time before his family gets there.
“Hi,” he says, “my name’s Nick Bollettieri.”
Yep, world famous tennis coach and we sit there for about 45 minutes telling tales. I hear about his nine ex-wives, the little boy he and the missus have just adopted from Ethiopia, about his son-in-law who’s the main model for Le Chateau and about his life story that’s coming out later this year.
We talk David Stern, who he knows; the late Dick Shaap, one of the giants of the broadcast industry; Carling Bassett, who was among his very first pupils; some other mutual friends and acquaintances and, all in all, was quite a fascinating time.
See? Who says cool things don’t happen when you’re sitting on a stool killing road time?
It’s the 65th anniversary of the birth of Freddie Mercury.
Will fully admit I wasn’t a huge Queen fan growing up – still aren’t, if truth be told – but the dude could sing.
All right, folks. Enjoy your Labour Day; get the kidlets ready to head back to the grind tomorrow and it’s almost time to get into the rhythm of the fall.
Wonder when the Raptors will start trickling back into town to get ready for the season? Oh, yeah. They won’t.