Maybe this will help pass the time.
Q: Hi Doug. I'm considering making the 4 hour drive to Halifax to watch the intersquad game. Do you think it would be worth the drive? I know the ball won't be that serious but it could be good to see all the new players. Your thoughts?
Also, During training camp are there ever any official opportunities for autograph signings or is the team more focused on training and less focused on public relations in their adopted city for the week.
Jeff M, Saint John
A: You know, in all good conscience I can’t really tell you to take a four-hour drive. It’s a glorified practice with drills and a short game played at less than full intensity. I guess it could be fun but you’re looking at a 10-hour day, I’d imagine that might be a bit much. Up to you, though.
And with two-a-days Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, a single practice and rest on Thursday and the open practice and flight on Saturday, there is nothing official scheduled for the players at all.
Q: Okay, here's another one, since you asked for more: I read today the NBA is finally going to do something about the flopping. I heard it was going to be in the form of a fine after the fact. Not sure what I think about that. On the one hand, I'm glad because I think flopping cheapens the game. On the other, I kinda think it's up to the refs. They're taught to call what they see, not just the results of what might have happened. If they don't see a foul happen, they shouldn't call it based on a player falling to the ground. Also, flopping isn't a new thing. I remember being new to the sport in junior high and going to watch our senior high team play. That'd be 1979. I'll always remember being awed at this one wiry player who was a master of the flop. Maybe now it's been elevated to a new level, but that guy obviously learned it from somewhere. So question time: What's your take on the new penalty? Think it'll work?
G M, Vancouver
A: Had a couple on this, I’ll use this one and hope the other questioners see it.
I’m not sure it’ll work totally but it’s entirely worth the attempt because flopping is endemic and a blight on the game.
I would hope that officials are able, and willing, to call the most flagrant of flops that are easily seen in the course of a game at real speed.
It’s the other ones, the ones that refs don’t see at true speed but that can be picked up after the fact that I’m glad they’re going after.
And I think the way they’re apparently going to do it – with possible fines and, hopefully, suspensions after a certain number has been reached – is fine with me. I don’t want games stopped repeatedly for instant review replays, I don’t like the idea of a “coach challenge” because it slows the game down just as much so having league officials review games – and you know teams will be pointing out episodes where they think opponents flop – seems to me to be the most workable solution at the moment.
The trickery of the flop is become greater with each passing year and if it takes some league type in the office the next morning to figure out what’s transpired that officials might have missed, I’m fine with that.
Q: Hello Doug! There's something akin to sadness about my garden right now. The mandevilla, impatiens, portulaca and amaranthe are all offering up their final blooms of the season and as I sat admiring their shades of rose, cerise, magenta and fuschia I wondered when, oh when, I would see such glorious hues of pink again. And then it hit me. Doug's Shirt! And while it doesn't feature all the pinks in my garden, it is bright and cheerful and even during the dreariest of dreary Raptor contests, well, just looking at it can sort of cheer one up. Or cause one to mock. Either way it's a fun distraction. (I know, I know....it's "light red".)
So, Doug, as you prepare to head off to Halifax and really get this season's show on the road, what's your plan for Raptor coverage this season? Big changes? Small changes? No changes? Will there still be IGBT's? And gamers? And off-day stories? And morning blogs? (Whew!) And - every now and then, because we all like it so - a pink shirt? Thank you.
Lorie P, London
A: I wish I knew what, if anything, we can do to enhance our coverage this year. I’m sure we’ll still have the IGBT, we might do something each afternoon of games that’s a bit interactive, or at least informative, but the Tall Foreheads and I haven’t really had a chance to sit down and go over the season and the plan.
We’ll listen to any and all suggestions, though.
And I’m sure the light red shirt’s hanging in the closet somewhere and I think I can probably still squeeze this rather substantial girth into it. So, there’s that.
Q: You know upon your 20 million milestone hit I saw this article the next day and now I am not advocating for this site to become a public broadcast site to talk about this and that but this girl touched my heart, made me shed a tear and want to reach out to her and just give her a hug. It has to do with bullying, yes we have one for a mayor but he is what he is plus he was voted in but bullying in our young ones is so damaging, so isolating and just wrong.
I remember many moons ago when I was in high school, I walked into one of my classes and there was this girl close to tears, for whatever reasons she was always teased, ridiculed.. Well this day someone had taken her stool and books and put them out on the roof, all were laughing it just annoyed me, I went over to the window, reached down got her books and stool and told her here sit down and don't pay attention to them and no one said a word to me the teacher walked in and said what's going on I said nothing, absolutely nothing.
I just don't get it never have never will, as these people are not only people, but vulnerable so to see this Michigan town rally around this girl is the right thing, and Doug you have a young son, peers listen to peers kids need to stand up, bullying is just wrong not only in all aspects of society but especially in our schools, it will never stop as it is what it is, but administrators/teachers/parents/students can't allow it to occur under their watch.
Doug B, Toronto
A: I heard about this story the other day and was equally touched by it.
I know there’s no question here but people need to know about it.
Bullying is one of the scourges of our time, it’s far too prevalent and needs to be eradicated entirely.
Some very good friends of mine run a website that promotes one of the very best messages we can deliver to our youth.
Yes, Different Is Cool and we all need to be far more accepting of everyone. That we aren’t is a shame.