Great drama and the dawn of a new season; what a day!
Well, that still holds – if I hear ‘U-S-A, U-S-A’ again one more time any time I may barf – but there was no disputing the drama that unfolded for almost an hour late yesterday afternoon when the competition was decided.
As pure sports theatre goes, it was tremendous and reminded me why we should all like games and competitions: For the drama, the intensity and the look it gives us into the makeup of athletes who ply their crafts at levels of accomplishment none of us is likely to ever reach.
Sports – especially one-on-one, I’ll-take-my-best-shot-you-take-yours events– is a wonderful, dramatic, up-lifting thing at times. For every dreadful regular season game you must suffer through, there are moments like yesterday that remind us of how good it can be.
It was entertaining and dramatic and real and you cannot baet that.
Of course, there will be talk today and there was last night that the Americans choked, that no way they should have blown a four-point lead playing at home in 11 singles matches on the final day of such a significant competition.
Well, I’m not really buying that, to tell you the truth.
Maybe it’s just me but I tend to believe the Europeans won rather than that the Americans lost; I’ll remember Justin Rose’s final three holes – tough par and match-winning birdies – and I’ll remember Martin Kaymer’s Cup-winning putt, which was as pressure-packed a golf stroke as he will make in his life.
I’m sure there were more than a handful of bad American shots over the day – and I came late to the show because I figured it was going to be entirely drama-free so I missed a bunch of early play – but the story is the team that won, rather than the team that didn’t.
It’s awful early now – about 5:35 a.m. as I type these particular paragraphs – so I haven’t had a chance to read through all the hand-wringing pieces that must be emanating from south of the border today.
But I also think most of them will miss the point.
The Europeans won the Ryder Cup and should be lauded for it.
Do you know it’s exactly 40 years and three days since Paul Henderson scored that goal?
Hope the parade’s over before I get down to media day.
It will be, I imagine, as much, it not more, of a zoo than in usual years; it’s a day when the players run through a series of photo shoots and public service announcement recordings (Hi, I’m Joe Blow and you’re watching the Raptors on some station) and every now and then a scrum will break out.
It’s impossible to get anything really good or any one-on-one time with any player and, trust me, the stories that emerge will all be boilerplate stuff rattled off by rote.
“We have a lot of talent on this team, why wouldn’t we be in the playoffs?”
“I can’t wait to get started for real and start building some on-court chemistry.”
“We’re going to focus on defence and rebounding and put in some new offensive stuff.”
“We’re all excited, we brought in some good talent in the summer.”
“Jonas is day-to-day, there’s no firm timetable but we’re going to make sure he’s 100 per cent.”
“Halifax? Where’s that?”
“I just want to do whatever coach Casey wants me to do.”
“Who do you write for again?”
“Our goals have changed, we want to challenge seriously for the playoffs.”
“It’ll be important for us to have a full training camp and pre-season after last year.”
And so on and so on.
The challenge – and it’s virtually impossible to meet today – is to get something genuinely interesting, something that provides some insight into these guys.
With a new season upon us, it’s time to once again take stock of what we do every day; do we just mimic what everyone’s doing, go through the Xs and Os and stuff like that? Sure, that’s the meat and potatoes and has to be taken care of in some manner. But the good stories are the ones about the people, who they are, why they are like they are, what got them to this point. Those are the stories you deserve, games and practices and the day-to-day minutia is okay but it’s routine; we’re going to try to get past that if it’s possible.
That can’t be done every day, it’s a function of the time it takes to develop stories so if there are days here that are more boring and basic than others, that’s unfortunate but it can’t be helped.
We will, as always, do our best. That’s about all you can ask.
(And be mindful the days are long with the two practices and some of us have to be up early in the morning to type)
I never had the pleasure of meeting Barbara Ann Scott, nor did I ever see her skate competitively but she might have been the first Canadian female athlete I ever heard of and I would imagine youngsters today are at least familiar with the name.
She passed away on the weekend, 84 years old, and if you’re going to be at all concerned or interested in Canadian sports history, hers is a story you should learn.
Hey, what’s anyone know about WestJet; that’s how we’re venturing off to Halifax and I don’t know that I’ve ever had the pleasure.