Did you get a load of this?
The pucks poohbahs are using a small focus group run by Republican Party strategists to figure out how owners might try to bamboozle fans about the lockout?
I guess I shouldn’t at all be surprised, in every sports labour stoppage fans are pawns and rarely taken into consideration. It’s a fight between rich players and richer owners and if there’s a few other people hurt (and I know one bar – hello, Harbour Sports Grille! – that’s cutting its opening hours because the lockout’s taking business) well, that’s just too stinking bad.
But to think the owners are getting some right-wingish strategist to find out how best to “massage” their message should piss off fans to no end.
It signals – with equivocation – that all this lip-service to the fans is just that. Bull designed to fool them rather that inform them and if there was any doubt about wanting to pull the wool over fans’ eyes all you really have to do is digest this statement from the group:
“It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear.”
Pretty blatant, no? You find a slogan or a few buzzwords, stay “on message” and try, simply, to fool the people who actually pay the bills and who are genuinely damaged by this lockout.
There aren’t bartenders or ushers or concession workers heading to Europe to find work; the arenas are dark and real people are really suffering and the NHL is hiring heavily-connected consultants to tell them how to massage the people they’re hurting the most?
Yeah, that sucks. Big time.
Right, the Raptors.
Well, it’s good for them that Kyle Lowry’s back on the court (here’s yesterday’s missive in case you missed it and shame on you if you did.)
And this is a critical week for them, without question.
Games Wednesday, Friday and Monday are the perfect time to start to fine-tune what they do, get into some kind of quasi-regular rotation and work even harder on their own stuff at real speed against real NBA opposition.
To this point, this group is intriguing. It’s deeper, it can score more prolifically than last year (you’ll see more overall production out of small forward and centre than you ever saw last year) but there has been some defensive slippage.
And as we’ve mentioned before, the early-season schedule is a blur; another reason to be ready to hit the ground running and another reason this is a key week of preparation.
You know what would be really, really cool?
If, on opening night, they carved a hole in the roof of the Air Canada Centre and The Chicken parachuted through it right to midcourt.
Seriously. Think what we could learn to further the cause of stuffed animals everywhere!
So let me get this straight.
Dude who leads the province decides he doesn’t want to do the job any more, packs it in and basically shuts down the legislature for some time because he’s either got personal issues or wants a better job or can’t handle the fight to get his party’s bills passed?
I (don’t heart) Politicians.
I type the following words fully aware that I don’t imagine I’ve ever strung them together before and full cognizant that I might not ever again.
I can’t wait to find a stool to sit and watch the Canadian men’s soccer team play today.
They’re in Honduras, need a win or a draw to move on to the next stage of World Cup qualifying and I’m told be people who know (hello, First Lady Of The Beat and Not Grace Kelly) that it could be a cracker of a game.
(Cracker?! Yeah, I’ve gone over to the dark side)
Anyway, I can’t debate or even discuss 4-4-2 or whatever but I can say this: The players and coaches have put so much pressure on themselves with their public declarations of how important this game it that it will be fascinating to see how they react.
Athletes I’ve covered have a tendency to play down games like this in public utterances, they talk about just playing their game and their style, treating it as another game, just trying to do what they.
For days, it seems, we’ve heard coaches and players suggest this might be the biggest game they’ve ever played; a true statement but not one most athletes will make in public.
We’d like to think they can rise to the occasion and not be overwhelmed by it; that they will take the challenge well, not shirk from it; that they will dominate rather than cower.
The one person I’ve seen lately who did that was My All-Time Favourite Trampolinist Rosie McLennan (I know, it’s a short list but she’s at the top) because at the moment of the most pressure in the most significant competition of her life, she came up with the best performance of her career and won an Olympic gold medal.
That’s handling stuff well.
Wonder if the soccer team has that kind of effort in it?
Hey, I’ve got a crazy week ahead with practices, games, flights (Porter to Montreal will be a new experience) and then a super-secret mission later on.
So let’s start doing mail, shall we?
Oh, remember how last week was perhaps the greatest week in baseball playoff history?
Well, I think we need Tigers and Yankees and Giants and Cards to pick it up a little bit, it’s been a totally underwhelming few days.