Heartless soccer; old time music and a three-guard combo
Well, I still have the Black Stars of Ghana to root for, don’t I?
Guess we found out a wee bit about the Canadian men’s football team in what has to go down as one of the dark moments in the sport’s history here.
What a despicable performance. 8-1? My far more learned colleagues were incredulous at the immediate capitulation and while I am loathe to go all off the deep end because I don’t care all that much, really, there have to be major, major changes in that organization, don’t there?
It doesn’t take a seasoned observer to realize that desperate home teams are going to come out throwing haymakers and to not be ready for it is, well, deplorable.
Remind me of yesterday’s “big game” when the next World Cup qualifier rolls around, would you?
I was sitting with a guy watching the horror unfold and as the goals pile up and the Canadians looked increasingly amateurish bordering on entirely overwhelmed, he brought up an interesting point.
It’s going to be easier for a Canadian men’s basketball team to make an impact globally than it will for a Canadian men’s soccer team.
Yes, apples and oranges to a degree but if those are 1 and 1A in world sports – and they are without a shadow of a doubt – at least there is some promise in the develop of young talent for the basketball program.
I’m not sure that same optimism exists in soccer, which seems to me to be far more fractured than basketball ever was in its darkest moments.
I know there have to be great young footballers out there who are Canadian but they don’t ever seem to emerge wearing the national colours.
Why is that, folks? Enlighten me a wee bit, would you?
Is it because Soccer Canada can’t track them or entice them here? Is it because the opportunity to play for another country by dint of ancestry and passport is simply too good to pass up? Or are there not enough good young players in the pipeline to even get Canada to a second stage of World Cup qualifying.
It’s mystifying to me and it strikes me that in the two most respected games in the world, there is Canadian promise in one and none in the other.
How’s this for a minor point:
Is it all possible that the good young Canadian male athletes are simply choosing basketball over soccer? I’d say that’s a valid point to examine.
Seriously, this is how my mind works.
Dude says, ‘hey, you’re going to Montreal with a free night, that’ll be cool.’
And I think to myself, ‘yeah, Montreal. Sweet. Smoked meat, a deli or two, perhaps a walk up the Street Of Pubs by the Bell Centre and …”
If I could have only found Youppi dancing and singing The Happy Wanderer it’d have been perfect.
But I bet this is the first time Fred Waring and The Pennsylvanians have ever appeared in a nominal sports blog.
Oh yeah, we’ll be here for an IGBT tonight right around 7 for the titanic struggle betwixt the HOTH and the Washington’s and in the words of the immortal Billy (Red) Lyons, dontcha dare miss it.
Justin Verlander is the best pitcher of his generation and I defy anyone to argue otherwise.
Hey, Raptors fans?
Remember the zone defence?
Well, we haven’t seen it for a single, solitary possession this season but it’s coming, Dwane told us at practice yesterday.
“We haven’t seen it, we’ve been thinking about it and working on it a bit the last few days so we’re trying to get it in.”
The interesting part? If they can actually get stops with it, it should help them run a bit, he said.
“It’s an old adage that when you play zone, you run better. First of all, there are constant mismatches all over the floor, the shot goes up, the guy guarding you is probably not next to you so it does produce better numbers in offensive transition.
The problem with the zone, any zone, is defensive rebounding, boxing out, finding a body. But it does give us an advantage to run.”
I do see it still as a bit of defensive trickeration and not something they can use all the time but did throw a wrench in to some games last season and as an odd change-of-pace plan now and then, it should be fine.
But given how much work they’ve had to do on offence and traditional defence this camp, I can’t imagine them using it very much for the next month or so.
So I’m sitting there yesterday trying to figure out some travel for the regular season and have stumbled upon the worst “you can’t get there from here” road trip maybe ever.
It’s Christmas Day to San Antonio then on to New Orleans then down to Orlando and you can’t get from here to San Antonio without a stop, you can’t get from San Antonio to New Orleans without a stop and there’s no non-stops between New Orleans and Orlando, either.
Not complaining, though, those are two very good cities (with Orlando being the odd one out), just pointing out that all journeys are not fun to plan.
The pucks might come back?
Oh joy, oh joy!
What are the few thousands of fans at tonight’s Raptors game going to see?
Well, for the first time all three point guards will be available and don’t be at all surprised if you see two of Kyle Lowry, Jose Calderon and John Lucas III on the court at the same time.
With Lucas proving to be a more than capable scorer still – he’s far more a scoring guard than a point guard – Dwane’s been toying with the idea of using some combination of the three in the same backcourt.
And if it works – I’m a bit dubious but we’ll see – it’s going to have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the rotation if Case wants to get to nine and 10 on the odd occasion.
“You have to look at your three guard combination, two of the three playing together at some point which may bump Landry to the three, DeMar to the three or whatever.
“That monkey-wrench is there; yeah, we have some issues to clear up before we get to that nine or 10.”