These are the darkest days in a long, long time
Anyway, one last late one thanks to the time zone thing …
Gotta do something
I’ve been around this team for a very long time and know the misery of some bad seasons and horrid stretches.
This is close to the worst I’ve seen in many a year.
There just seems to be a lethargy that envelopes this group at key times in games and the mood is dark almost consistently.
Now, that’s entirely predictable given the circumstances and I’m not getting the sense that everyone truly hates each other but they are 4-18 and nerves are on edge.
Everyone knows something has to happen – big trade, small trade, something else – if for no other reason than to change for change’s sake. I’m not usually a proponent of that and I do honestly believe there are some nice pieces here but …
It’s 4-18, no one’s happy, no one can possibly be anything close to happy and the sense you get is that more than a few of the people around the team want something to happen just to get it done and over with.
That puts a lot of pressure – even more than usual – on Bryan and Dwane but that’s what they get the big bucks for.
I don’t know what it’ll be but something’s gotta give before people start punching each other.
An odd sight
If you had asked me which of the Raptors would throw a mouthpiece at a referee I would have had to go far down the list before I got to Amir Johnson.
That was so totally out of character it’s not even funny.
But out of character or not, you cannot throw things at officials, and you can’t hit them with what you’ve thrown and you can’t get to the point where you’re physically restrained from going after him.
Now, no one knows what was or wasn’t said – Amir said there were no words spoken, but I suspect a couple might have been – and David Jones, the referee, is not blameless in this at all.
But throwing stuff?
I’m thinking Amir’s lucky if all he gets is a two-game suspension and three or four might be more likely.
I am not at all laying the blame for this totally at the feet of the new starting point guard but I’m wondering where all this “leadership” and “grittiness” stuff we heard so much about has gone.
There is more than enough blame to be spread around but I thought – and was told – that Lowry had one of those “screw this, I’m getting us out of this funk” attitudes in him.
Haven’t seen a lick of it, which is too bad because this team needs someone to take it by the collective neck and shake vigorously.
More? Very little since I have to run to write off-day stuff and catch a plane.
We’ll recap my own highlights and lowlights of the trip tomorrow morning.
I haven’t seen a lot of “cool” people in various airport lines over the years that have me want to say something to them.
I can remember seeing some TV guy – home repair dude, if I recall correctly and a friend I was talking to at the time tried to get me to say hello but I didn’t – but that might have been it.
But I did run into the parents of the Notre Dame football kid, Manti Te’o, while waiting in a never-ending security line at LAX on Monday morning; we were off to Portland, they were going to Honolulu and I did take the time to tell them how proud they should be of their son, who seems as grounded and as normal as you’d hope. Plus, I understand the kid can play a little bit.
They were equally polite and seemed a bit taken aback that a guy from Canada would even know about their son and his exploits.
I had no idea who or what Sklyar Grey was but I knew someone sung this song and it seems a tad appropriate to me.
I’m going to tell you, the highlight of the trip (at least the part that didn’t involve finding a very cool bar and new beer in Salt Lake City) had to be the half hour I spent hanging out with Christine Sinclair on Monday afternoon for this piece.
I don’t see an awful lot of Canadian women’s soccer, although I did cover the bronze medal game in London and a couple of games in Beijing, so the only interaction I’ve had with her have been in post-game scrums and mixed zone interviews.
Not surprisingly, she’s far more engaging and funny and witty in a one-on-one situation sitting outside at a Starbucks than in those stressed moments right after a game.
A couple of snippets that didn’t make the story.
On the bronze medal, post-game euphoria:
“My parents, they joke, ‘you’re not in any of the celebration pictures, where were you?’ … I just collapsed on the field in tears.
"You’re just exhausted and just completely overcome with emotions. You’re so happy and it was just too much.”
On the team’s place in the world now:
“For so often when we played the Americans, and not just the Americans but the other top teams in the world, like Germany and Japan, it’s almost like we’ve gone in there sort of going, ‘ok, we’re going to lose, we might have a chance at winning’ and John Herdmann, who I can’t believe isn’t up for coach of the year, he should have won it hands down, he changed our mindset, he changed our attitude, he had us believing we could beat any team in the world and it didn’t have to be a fluke.”
Anyway, a lovely time, made this horrid trip a large bit better.
Not sure the out-of-town Irregulars will get this but there was a big bike lane controversy in Toronto a little while ago; I imagine the Bully Mayor (who may not be the Mayor next month) would have a conniption if he saw this that I saw yesterday in Portland.
Okay, I’m out; if you’ve got some pressing queries or want to say high and try to make my life a tad better, let’s start the mail.
Oh yeah, I have a two-hour layover in Vancouver in a bit but that's the only time I'm going to get to posting comments until close to 10 tonight so ...