A story worth listening to and a bit of Raptors summer plans
When it comes time to talk about the great Canadian sportsmen of the past 30 or 40 or 50 years or so, the list is always predictable and dominated by those practitioners of the pucks.
Well, here’s one and I’m glad to see he got his due yesterday, even if it was a bit overshadowed by the stupendous work of our Olympic Rookie Of The Year and the rest of our city hall staff once again chronicling the misadventures of your Mayor.
George Chuvalo doesn’t get nearly the credit he should for what he accomplished as a boxer when the fight game really mattered.
Him getting the Key To The City from Toronto yesterday was a nice honour, if a couple of decades too late, but the best thing it did was cast him in the spotlight, albeit for a day, and perhaps bring his story to a whole lot of people who have never heard it.
As a fighter, he was incredible, never knocked down or out and he fought all comers at time when the sport was not fractured and when it attracted great athletes chasing a belt.
(Quick, name two heavyweights today, I dare you)
He was tough and unrelenting and unafraid of anything and when you stepped into a ring with George, you were in for a scrap.
No, he did not win a major title and never beat the true greats of the game but he fought them with determination and honour and as a Canadian athlete, he deserves more recognition for his historical accomplishments than he generally gets.
And the rest of his story (and I knew Stumpy would nail it) is even more significant. Can you imagine the emotional torment of a live that’s included the loss of so many family members to the evils of substance abuse? I can’t.
But George, who I know a little bit from a long-ago time spent typing a bit about boxing, fought on because that’s what he did. He took all the shots and kept coming and as motivational speaker now, his story is one that a generation should hear.
Oh yeah, I could listen to this stuff with regularity and it’s pretty cool to have friends who drop stuff like The Lumineers on you, I have to say.
I believe I read somewhere yesterday that Jim Clancy will start Game 3 this season for the Yankees.
And Bob Baylor will play short ‘til Jeter’s ready.
A digression, but you brought it on yourselves.
People, people, people.
So I go and mention the 40th anniversary of Dark Side Of The Moon and an Alert Irregular comes back with the 40th anniversary of The Young And The Restless and then I hear how good it was.
Way back in the day, as just a young scribbler, I worked at a place (hello, Woodstock!) that published an afternoon paper so we had to be at work about 6 a.m. to start getting the pages done and we’d be finished about noon.
Well, what were we to do except have lunch and loaf around someone’s apartment after lunch (it was a pretty close and young staff) and, of course, that meant the TV was on.
And GH was the personal favourite.
Remember Luke and Laura’s wedding? I do.
Old Edward Quartermaine? Sure.
(I went on to work with a woman who last name was Quartermain a few years later and that was kind of cool).
The Cassadines? Sure.
Monica Quartermaine? A crush.
Look maybe the Young and the Restless was okay but if you’re afternoon was All My Children (remember what’s her name who lost all the Emmys?) and General Hospital (and I can’t for the life of me remember the 2 p.m. show) it was a pretty good day.
Now, of course, it’s some NCIS rerun or a healthy dose of Criminal Minds that covers off an afternoon on the couch.
So we’re at practice yesterday trying to come up with some legitimate story idea (I hit on Alan Anderson, since I hadn’t written much about his future in a while) and the conversation with Dwane is wide-ranging.
It settles on what a few of these dudes have to do in the off-season to improve their games and, as expected, the one guy we’re chatting about is Terrence Ross, who has to get bigger and stronger and work on all aspects of his game.
But Dwane mentioned one thing that each guy has to do and it’s true scut work and I’m not sure it’ll happen.
He thinks, and he’s right, that the lack of solid defence has killed these guys all year so while it’s all well and good to take, or make, 500 three-pointers a day, he and the staff have started to devise an off-season plans for each player that involves such rudimentary defensive work as slide drills, agility drills and footwork drills that hopefully, makes them a bit quicker to react and might give them a chance to guard their man at least a little bit better one-on-one.
I’m dubious that an NBA player will spend part if his off-season workouts doing slide drills when there are shooting drills to do but on the occasions when Raptors coaches are with them they will as part of the coach’s grand plan.
We, as they say, shall see.
Let’s start this mail process; a free Good Friday afternoon in delightful Auburn Hills and a Saturday with life to myself should give me lots of time for good answers.
It’s firstname.lastname@example.org for all your hellos and whatever.
Now, I guess, we find out a bit more of what Ricky Romero is made of.
I don’t think anyone could have been too surprised the one-time TOD ace was sent down yesterday (Griff’s got the gory details here) and Romero should have nothing but peace and quiet and no distractions as he plods along in Single A trying to work out mechanics that have been, it would appear, been messed up since about the second month of last season.
We saw what a rebuilt process did for Roy Halladay way back what seems like eons ago and if Romero can handle it as well as he did, well, things will work themselves out.
I can’t pretend to know his mental makeup well enough to figure out whether he can handle this situation, although he always presented himself as a young man whose mind was/is strong enough to handle anything thrown his way.
Whether that’s actually the case remains to be seen, people often talk a good game, whether they can do it is an entirely different matter. Guess the only saving grace is that we’re talking about someone at the back end of the rotation and JA Happ may prove to be an adequate replacement in the fifth starter’s role.