Basketball's next challenge, and playoffs in the season are cool
Well, then the pressure shifts to the poobahs at Canada Basketball who must now find a way to leverage all this good feeling and all this summer’s success into the thing that the drives the process as much as anything:
Yeah, there is still a need for funding for these various programs (I didn’t get a final figure but if this five-day camp didn’t cost somewhere near six figures I’d be very surprised) and the various teams that have to play and my man Wayne Parrish and his fellow big shots are, I’m sure, out beating the bushes trying to find partners to come aboard.
Should be a no-brainer for some. If you want to get in on the ground floor with an increasingly successful international game (and check out this to see who did what this summer), now is the time.
Everything else would seem to be in place.
The senior men have a group of talented, wiling participants right now, the age-group teams are well on their way to being significant players in the world and I honestly don’t remember a time since I started watching this group in 1992 when more optimism abounded. It’s really shocking and if I know Wayne and Maurizio and the boys and girls, they’ll be able to turn this good feeling into some tangible financial gains and things can keep going the way they have been.
It’s essential to capitalize on the summer and the promise of the marquee senior men’s team. Nothing is going to happen on the court now until next summer; the hard work is in the various boardrooms and meeting rooms and now the focus has to shift to the organization as a whole rather than the teams as individual entities.
There is no doubt the game is growing and flourishing more than ever in Canada – and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find another national organization that can match the overall success Canada Basketball’s had this summer – and there’s no reason to think it won’t keep going that way.
Okay, fill up those golf ball dispensers, Super Son and I are about to hack and slash our way through Niagara for a couple of days.
He, of course, seems more interested in riding in and driving the cart than making birdies and bogeys (can’t wait to introduce him to automatic two-down presses) but what the heck.
Couple of rounds of golf, some wings and pizza at the local, various things Super Wife won’t let happen at home (NO VEGETABLES, except maybe celery and blue cheese dip) and it could be a good couple of days.
Speaking of …
Best sports comedy ever?
If it’s not, it’s tied with Bull Durham.
Know what I kind of find cool about the soccer?
Playoffs during the season.
Not sure how many, if any, of you know that the FCs have a big “League” game tonight against a Mexican side and what it’s done is, I understand, created some interest in a dreary season.
You’ve got the Champions League in European football and that’s very cool, you’ve got other “Cup” competitions that unfold during a season and what it does is add some juice to a year.
They do it in European basketball, too, with the EuroLeague for the best teams and other Cup competitions for some basic domestic leagues.
It’s fun, it creates a bit more buzz, the competitions take a while to unfold and they actually can give also-rans something to play for if they keep winning or pulling upsets.
There is no way TFC would be playing a meaningful game in the dreadful season without the outside tournaments and it has to be a bit of a boost to the players and their long-suffering fans.
Same thing goes in England, I’d suspect, with the FA Cup where unknown sides can pull an upset or two and I’m sure there are other examples in other leagues over there.
Sadly, they can’t do it here with the two sports that would make most sense – basketball and the pucks – for a couple of reasons.
One, the leagues play far too many regular season games – if they went from 82 to, say, 68 or 70 and lopped a couple of weeks off the length of the season it’d be great – and, two, there probably isn’t the competition outside the established leagues to make it worth anyone’s while.
But what if they did this?
What if they cut the NBA season short by about 10 games or so and created some kind of Global Cup where all 30 teams here and the top 10 or 15 in Europe were split into groups for a round-robin (say one two-game trip to the continent, a two-game trip here for each European team) and the top teams then moved into either another round-robin or an elimination series.
How cool would that be?
And it’s not going to happen because (a) no league wants to cut its season short and (b) it would underscore just how dreadful some regular season nights are.
Too bad, isn’t it?
One last note on the basketball and then we’ll let it rest.
The one thing that most people I talked to brought up – and it was a chatfest hanging around with a gaggle of old friends the two days I was in the gym – was the calibre of coaching these kids have had when they were growing up.
There was a time not too long ago when the provincial associations didn’t work all that closely with the national team program and it was a serious issue.
Now? Now the groups are working together, the calibre of youth coaching is getting better and better every summer and the collaborative effort is only making things better for everyone concerned.
Good to see.