To win or to lose, that is the question
Don’t think anyone should be too surprised by who was released from the Canadian men’s basketball team yesterday.
As we’ve mentioned often, there was a glut of point guards in camp and getting down to three by letting Myck Kabongo and Phil Scrubb go just made sense after what transpired for the couple of weeks the team was here.
But there are still tough decisions to make on the roster (you can see what I mean by starting the meter and reading this from yesterday) and one other huge issue to think about:
How do they handle the tournament in Puerto Rico in a week or so?
And what they do gets to the heart of one of the more fascinating parts of international basketball.
Canada will play Puerto Rico, Brazil, Dominican Republic and Argentina – the same teams they’ll face at times at the World Cup qualifier right after in Caracas – and even Jay isn’t sure what to do.
“It’s a fine line between whether we go out and show all our stuff and see where we stand or whether we go out and play cat and mouse and I’m sure the other teams are doing the same thing.
“Maybe we’ll get together before the game and say, okay, you try in the first half; we’ll try in the second half.”
(He was joking with that last part)
The funny thing is that it’s not just at exhibition tournaments that teams try to play possum and hide things and massage their games and schedules in specific ways.
I don’t know how many times I’ve been at some international event, or have talked to people who are at them, and hear of some odd result that comes out of nowhere and then I see the coming schedule and figure it out.
Teams tank. A lot.
Sometimes it’s because they want to rest people because a game doesn’t really matter; sometimes it’s because they’re looking ahead to a specific medal round matchup they either want or want to avoid.
It happens pretty much every time and when you see some game at the World Cup qualifier that makes you shake your head, look at the bigger picture and it might become clearer.
There’s an old saying that goes something like “it’s not if you lose, it’s when you lose that counts” and we’d all be wise to remember that when the Caracas tournament begins.
And pay scant attention to the results out of Puerto Rico, they don’t mean squat.
A lot of great things are 44 years old, including the Woodstock Festival.
Yep, 44 years ago this weekend they all hung out at Max Yasgur’s farm; I can vaguely remember it but it was the seminal musical moment of a generation, wasn’t it?
Too many great acts to go through them all, this one resonates with me for some reason.
One of the great under-reported stories of the London Olympics, in my estimation, was the bronze medal for high jumper Derek Drouin.
Just seems it didn’t get the attention it should have – and I can’t remember precisely why but I think something else big happened that day – but now the kid’s gone and won a bronze at the world championships and since the only other high jumper many in Canada can name is Greg Joy, I hope a bunch of people pay attention to this young kid.
No, I do not think it’s a coincidence that Menunori Kawasaki is back and the TOD wins the odd game.
Karma, baby. Karma.
Please. I need to get some of it done today to ease Saturday morning so get to email@example.com and do your part, please.
Back to Canada for a second.
Was talking to one of the Henchmen as practice ended and we surveyed the rather substantial media turn out and got to talking about the buzz and how far the program has come.
A few of them can remember a time when they’d maybe have a week of camp up at Humber College in the north end of the city stay in Spartan dorm rooms with no amenities and be stuck far away from, you know, anything good.
There’d be two or three of us who’d show up at the odd practice, we could wander around and watch and pick off whoever we wanted to talk to for as long as we wanted to talk to them.
Now there’s a backdrop for scrums, there’s not physically enough room for us to all sit in and watch them work out and I guess the right word for how it’s being run is more “professionally.”
And it’s been interesting to see how they – and I mean the players, the coaches and the officials – have handled the increased scrutiny, the heavy time demands, the somewhat unexpected attention.
They’ve done pretty well. I think there’s a level of bemusement among some of them that all of a sudden it’s a big league program with big league attention.
Levon Kendall sure noticed when someone asked him what’s different as he stood facing about 15 or so reporters.
“Probably this, right here. I don’t think I’ve ever done a Canada Basketball interview with this much media.”
Yes, the media world is different than it’s ever been because of the proliferation of the interweb sites that are around and all-sports broadcast outlets and the organization has handled it pretty well.
Okay, one more.
If Joe Cocker was near the top of the Woodstock heap, Jefferson Airplane wasn’t far behind, was it?