The start of the weekend mail
Was a long, long, long night of great music. More on that Monday, more mail tomorrow and here’s this to get you through the day.
Q: Hi Doug! How are you? (You wanted us to ask, so I've done it :) ... But seriously, how are you? Time zone adustment completed? London 2012 laundry washed, dried, ironed and neatly put away? Random receipts found and pesky expense reports filed?)
Anyway, good points in your blog about the men’s basketball program. The women's program, thanks to its appearance in London, must be considered ahead of the men's in terms of creating and building on a legacy. This summer (and throughout the exciting qualifying process) young Canadian girls were able to watch our senior women’s team wear the national jersey, play on TV and then finally in the 2012 Olympics.
So, that being said, I am wondering if Canada Basketball has (done the right thing and) extended Allison McNeill's contract? And hopefully for at least four more years! Thank you. (And do you have any update on our U17 Women's team at the FIBA World Championships? I think they were playing the Netherlands Friday, but I haven't seen any score at the time I sent this along.)
Lorie P, London
A: The update is that the under-17 girls beat Netherlands by a point in what I’m told was a great game and play the USA today in the semifinals. They have now two games to play for a medal.
As for Allison, nothing’s been done yet but I believe her deal isn’t up until the end of the calendar and it’s usually the first of the next year before anything’s done. And if she wants the job, it has to be hers and I’ve had no indication she doesn’t.
And me? All seems pretty much back to normal, kinda boring at times to tell you the truth. It's like post-Olympic letdown.
Q: Good work in London, Doug. This has been, and is, a good time to re-evaluate what we-you call sports and our connections to sport: especially when it comes to the pros vs the rest.
With the Pan Am games - and athletes from entire hemisphere - coming to Toronto-GTA in 2015 we have a great opportunity to engage with sport in new and fuller ways.
It has to do what we think, what we are taught, what the media says COUNTS as sport.
One reason your columns are so engaging is that we learn of your involvement with your son's teams and with regional sports competitions. The irony, of course, is that without everyday community-based sports, the pros in their own lives would never have become pros!
It is a challenge for us all to get out from under the deluge of celebrity-driven mass professional sports "entertainment".
Q: What are the prospects for the 2015 Pan Am games here in Toronto-GTA to re-engage us in support for sport as will be on display when 10,000+ athletes from the Western hemisphere come to play here in our community?
Charles N, Toronto
A: It’s going to be quite interesting to see how the general public takes to that event. I fear it may get lost a bit in a typically busy summer but I hope people get out to at least see something. The thing will be what the legacy is, first in facilities that future generations will benefit from, and then from any momentum it gives young kids to take up sport seriously.
I know it will be covered by the media almost as well as the Olympics were, at least that’s our plan right now, so the awareness may boost interest.
No, it’s not the Olympics but it’s big and it does bring together world class athletes.
Q: Hi Doug. This might be a bit naive question but, How much cash do the Raps have in there wallet? Because there are still some big name free agents out the (e.g. Alonzo Gee, Josh Howard, Michael Redd) do you think the raps could if they wanted to afford any of them? Have a nice day,
Mike B, Czech Republic
A: They have very little money to spend outside of cap exception and even less interest in adding any of those guys, none of whom would be considered in the least a difference maker. They like what they have, still have a roster spot for some flexibility in deals and aren’t going to be adding anyone.
Q: Doug: When you leave for 3 weeks, to cover an event like the Olympics, some drift away. It's like an NBA, or NHL lockout. Win us back with some of your nifty insider, Raps news. Get into B.C.'s ear and pry out a tidbit for us. We're still here, and are getting antsy for the start of the season.
Ken B, Matheson
A: I wish I could but I can’t. Bryan’s on vacation, Dwane’s on vacation, the players are scattered and the rest of the front office is doing mundane front office things like travel schedules and the like.
This is, has always been and will always be the dead time around the NBA.
Q: Golf Guru - with the 9 handicap. Jack N said that he always went to the US open at least two weeks in advance. My question is course management.
I will assume the course is closed but other players are likely to be there also. Do they play 18 holes? Do they put 20 balls down and swing away. Do they find the trouble spots and put 20 balls down. What happens to the golfers ahead or behind? Do they book time for certain holes and for certain times?
Me - I gave up golf till I was able to compete properly. No need to pay green fees and lose my temper when I can do that for free.
Second question. There are a lot of female lead singers but there seems to be a lack of female backup musicians.
Any thoughts on that matter.
Peter T, London
A: Generally practice rounds are quite informal and I’ve known guys to drop a second ball in a fairway or putt three or four times each green to work on specific shots and lines. And they play quickly enough, and everyone understands the informal nature of the rounds, that there are few delays.
Q: My wife and I have our tickets for the Raptors intra-squad game in Halifax, October 6. We are expecting you will be around for that game and the preceding days of training camp? If so, we East Coast Irregulars need to begin planning the reception!
Eric H, Broad Cove, N.S.
A: I’ll be there for the week of camp, the Monday night until the Saturday night but am getting back home right after the scrimmage. I am sure, however, that there will be evenings to hang out in that great city and I’ll be asking for tips as I did in Ottawa and Vancouver.
Looking forward to it very much.
Q: Hi Doug, how are you? Things well here, any chance Montreal will ever get an NBA team?
Doug B, Ottawa
A: I’ll never say never but there’s a 99.999999999999 per cent chance it’ll never happen. So, yes, there is a chance as the movie once told us.
Q: Hello Doug. I was wondering is it possible for more than one team to put forth an offer sheet to a player? Kind of like create a bidding war for a restricted free-agent.
Ken L, Bath
A: They can talk about what might be in the offer sheet but a player can only sign one; I am sure if an agent gets a sniff of what might be in one and there are other teams on the prowl, he might use one as leverage against the other but only one can be signed.
Q: I've long given the Raps benefit of doubt on their typically woeful 2nd round selections, but this year I shook my head at the Acy pick, especially after they called "Quincy" and Miller would have been an excellent gamble at that point. But an undersized power forward (PJ Tucker, anyone?) was the last thing they seemed to need. Of course Q Miller and Will Barton, two potential plugs in our 2/3 gaps, were drafted right after. I know I know nothing, I know the Raps spend many hours working on the draft, but I honestly sometimes feel I have more relative insight (please, not a lack of humility, but a surplus of frustration). Please assure me the Raps knew something about Acy, and didn't just call out the wrong last name.
Gary M, Ottawa
A: They got the guy they wanted.