A significant accomplishment for a group of young women
Seems it worked even before, or more quickly, than they could have imagined.
It was a bit under-reported on the weekend – sorry about that, things got in the way – but the Canadian Under-17 girls finished a tremendous world championship with a bronze medal after beating Japan 84-77.
That’s a rather significant accomplishment – as far as I can tell it’s the first age-group world championship medal a Canadian women’s team has ever won – and should serve notice that the next era could be as good as the one we’re experiencing right now.
The Canadians finished between the powerful and unbeaten Americans and silver medallists Spain in the tournament, which caps the international season for Canada Basketball.
We cannot be sure how many of these girls will eventually play for the senior team (there’s still a junior career to think about for many of them) but there is one thing we can be sure of:
Canada Basketball is putting in place some wildly important and well devised grass roots programs – especially on the female side – that can only help keep the country among the top teams in the world in the years to come.
Unlike the boys, who have AAU and club teams that offer top notch competition, a lot of these girls are truly homegrown and what Canada Basketball is apparently doing is providing them with the right amount of training and coaching to allow them to succeed.
We’ll get more into the big picture of the game in Canada over the next couple of days – there’s still a stop to be made this afternoon to wrap up the senior men’s camp – but suffice it say a world championships medal for the Under-17 girls is the most significant accomplishment of many for an organization that has turned itself around incredibly over the last five years.
Saw something Friday that I’d only seen one other time in my life and, man, it just seems so weird.
While waiting for the gang to show up before Springsteen epic, was sitting on a stool passing time.
And the guy two over from me was sipping his beer and in between sips he’d drop one or two olives into his drink.
Yeah, olives. Regular old green olives.
Had seen that one time before, in a saloon in, I believe, Sioux Falls or some other outpost when we were there with the lads for a pre-season game.
I didn’t get it then, I just don’t get it. Maybe it has to with my basic aversion to olives but, really, olives in beer?
Someone explain it to me.
No, I don’t get to an awful lot of concerts – just doesn’t seem to be enough time – but it wouldn’t matter because they would all pale in comparison.
Three hours, 40 minutes – according to Springsteen-ologists I trust it was among it’s in the top 10 all time in terms of time on stage – and it was like nothing I’d seen before.
Wide-ranging set list with old classics and new stuff from the current release and more energy, start to finish, than you could possibly imagine.
Oh, and the six- or seven-song encore was almost too much to take.
I heard him do The Rising and felt chills.
Thunder Road in the encore was spine-tingling.
My City of Ruins, another classic.
Oh, and I have no idea why but this is among the all-time favourites.
And I’m glad I got to hear it. Can’t really explain the feeling except to say that it’s rather incredible.
But here’s one for you.
I’m sure there are musicians out there who connect with their audiences like Springsteen does – there has to be, I presume – but I don’t think there’s another guy, and his band, who pour more energy into every single performance, every single song than the E Street Band does.
It’s like they feel they owe the audience their very, very best each night and there’s a palpable feeling.
It’s something else indeed.
And, yes, Super Family already has tickets for Copps in October, I’m going to try to rejig a travel schedule so I can get there, too.
Another basketball note – and, no, there is likely to be no Raptors news this week, either; still holiday time – and one we’ve been a tad remiss about of late.
Remember the NBL Canada? Well, it’s draft night, they’ve just come off their second combine to take a look at the talent and everything would seem to be on track for another solid season.
There’s a new team in Windsor, I see former NBAer Cliff Levingston is taking over the coaching gig in Halifax and the Quebec team is moving into a more suitable facility in Laval.
The league has done just what it had to, it didn’t try to grow too fast off a good first season, hoping instead to capitalize on the inroads it made last year to make the second year better.
We’ll get into it more as the 2012-13 season gets closer but if you’ve got a chance to help ‘em out in any of the league’s cities, I’d say do it; it’s a worthwhile endeavour and they are going about things the right way.
Oh yeah, one more left over from Friday.
Remember how I used to think Yannick Noah was the coolest guy in the world?
Well, he’s now tied atop the list, I believe, with Little Steven Van Zandt.
Dude’s an incredible musician, a pretty good actor and I’m driving around Saturday and, after playing nearly four hours on Friday night, I hear him in hosting a live afternoon version of Little Steven’s Underground Garage on Q107.
That’s one cool dude.