An odd way to spread the gospel across the land
Maybe it’s just me but doesn’t it seem odd that a new regime that’s been crowing about the Raptors being “Canada’s Team” decides to go along with cutting the time of training camp in Halifax from a week to two days?
Now, I’m giving everyone a pass on this year’s exhibition game schedule that doesn’t include any games in Canada outside of Toronto because it was set months ago but the camp cut is odd and if there isn’t at least one out-of-market Canadian game on the 2014 pre-season schedule, I’d be shocked and disappointed given the clearly-stated intention to “grow the brand” across the country.
But after spending a week in Halifax last year, cutting back to two days this year – and just one night – doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me.
Everything in the city worked as far as I know; the hotel the team stayed at was fine, the practice facility was top notch and the hospitality was off the charts.
But instead of doing that week again – and I was told months ago we’d be there tentatively for the same amount of time – they’ll fly in Thursday night, work out a couple of times on Friday, do that inter-squad game on Saturday and then head out.
Sure, it’s better than nothing but, really, doesn’t it strike you as a bit odd, and hardly worth the effort. If you’re going to go, go. Make some appearances, do some clinics, interact with the fans like they did last year.
We haven’t got a look at a schedule – exhibition or regular season yet although some teams put their pre-season sked out yesterday – but I’m hearing from a few people that the pre-season holds nothing unique, there’ll be four games in Toronto and four in other NBA cities, no exotic locales like Fort Wayne, Bismarck or Buffalo.
And that’s fine with some of us. Sure, it’s cool to go to Canadian cities – had a good time in Montreal, the game in Vancouver was neat, Halifax for a week was tremendous – but only having games in NBA cities seems to work pretty well.
The regular season? No clue when we’ll get that, it’s generally around now but I imagine there’s some scurrying around going on at NBA central to get as many Houston games on national TV as possible.
Hadn’t heard these guys in forever until it was blaring somewhere yesterday afternoon.
Not bad, as I recall.
So an NBA MVP retires from international basketball at pretty much the height of his career after representing his country for several years.
Wonder if LeBron James will get ripped across the United States for bailing on the World Cup and Olympic teams?
Word came out this week – about the same day as Kevin Durant and Kevin Love re-upped for another summer with the United States national team – that James is putting a lid on his international career and won’t be in Spain for the World Cup next summer.
Somehow I doubt he gets the Steve Nash treatment and he doesn’t deserve it as much as Nash never deserved it here.
And I’ll tell you – again -- one thing about Nash that makes his commitment to Canada far more significant than people realize.
Unlike the rest of the NBA all-stars who play for their country, Nash spent I’d guess half a dozen summers playing in bus garages and dumpy arenas with questionable talent around him just trying to get Canada to the world stage.
And by going to those qualification events and carrying some teams exponentially further than they should have gone, every basketball fan in the country should thank him.
Yes, still seeking mail, if you don’t mind.
Will have some time to putter this afternoon if you’re so inclined; it’s email@example.com.
And because a handful of you have asked for a heads-up every now and then, somehow they got way down the list of invitees and I get two hours on the McCown show on the radio today. No, he won’t be there but four of us will be and I sure hope they ask my opinion of the group assembled for the Olympic pucks next year.
I’m kind of liking the Argo Boy gig, to tell you the truth. Not enough to make it a full-time job – I need to get some summer downtime somehow – but as I’ve said many times, the athletes are very easy to deal with, there’s a far more relaxed atmosphere around the team and there always seems to be interesting stories to write.
And I would guess that’s because there are so few games so you can spend time working up stuff that isn’t X and O related to either a game that was played last night or one that’s coming up tomorrow.
Not sure how it’d work out if you had to do it every day for 18 weeks but it’s a nice and welcome change of pace.
Tough one for the Canadian junior women over in Lithuania at the world championships, losing to Spain after leading with seven minutes to go.
They’ll be top eight in the tournament, and that’s probably about right; details are here and I don’t know who wrote the game story but it’s got the world “whilst” in it and that’s a pretty good word to get into a sports story.
I’m going to have to work on that this season.
And if we can get “whilst” in a story, what would stop us from trying to get this list in there somehow:
Art as in “where for art thou”
I smell a challenge. Those are some good words we need to get back in vogue, no?
So ask me how I’m spending part of my morning.
“How are you spending part of your morning, fine sir?”
Glad you asked.
Seems Tim Leiweke’s headed into the office to sit and chat with our editorial board and a few of us have been invited to join the festivities.
That ought to be fun, no?