No World Cup a tough blow but not a crippling one
Well, that trip to Caracas certainly didn’t turn out the way many had hoped or expected, did it?
Three straight losses to the end the FIBA Americas World Cup qualifier – and I think it’s fair to say Canada pretty much ran out of gas at the end of the long, hard tournament – and no trip to Spain next summer.
(I think it’s laid out pretty well here why I cannot imagine them getting one of the four wild card spots; at least two will go to Europe, one will go to China and one to either an African nation or Brazil and Canada is so far down the list of priorities it’s incomprehensible to me that they get in the back door).
Now, is not qualifying a disaster?
It’s a hiccup and, of course, it’d be better to be at the World Cup than not at the World Cup for so many reasons it’s not worth going through them all.
It will be more difficult to raise a lot of money for next year but a lot of the sponsorships in place are based on the quadrennial that just started so that’s less of an issue that some think. Again, it’s not perfect but it’s not a crippling blow.
And, yes, they will need to play games next year and run some kind of program but I would imagine that process will begin immediately. They need to call USAB today and start lobbying to play the Americans at least once before the worlds – maybe one time here and one time in the States – and Maurizio, who continues to be one of the truly great resources in the organization, has to start using is vast array of European contacts to set up pre-World Cup tours for as many games as possible. That work is huge and I know they know how important it is and how it needs to start today.
Now, the big thing everyone seems to be concerned about is the players and their commitment to the program, even if it has suffered a setback.
I can’t make this point strongly enough: These kids have bought in, lock, stock and barrel (another hoary cliché that I don’t know the genesis of) and that’s not an issue. At all, believe it or not and I don’t really care if you don’t.
They know where the program is and where it’s going and what the possibilities are. I would imagine most of them, given their druthers, would rather be in the Olympics than the World Cup and Rio is still on target.
This team was too young, it didn’t shoot the ball well enough and it didn’t have a real clue about how different the international game is from what they’re used to playing.
Some of us figured before they went that they’d be in tough to qualify and that everything would have to fall pretty much perfectly into place for them to get one of the four spots.
It didn’t. Not even close. They were good, just not good enough.
And while it is a setback it’s not a killing blow. This is still the most talented group of young Canadian basketball players ever and there is an undying desire to represent the country and show the world.
It’s just on hold and those who thought it’d be the 2019 World Cup and 2020 Olympics before they were ready to make their full impact might be right after all.
This just stuck in my mind for some reason.
Yes, my mind is an odd place at times.
Montreal’s got a lot of very good things – hi, McLeans! – but one of them isn’t a nice airport.
Not quite Developing Nation bad but not too far away, the lounge is tiny and there were like 50 people jammed in a small area at the gate before the full – full! – 9:30 p.m. flight back.
Not sure what the construction deal is that’s going on but it better make some serious improvements.
You catch the IOC news on the weekend?
It’s Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics and wrestling will be back in, that was the big news coming out of the poobahs grand conclave.
I’m more than okay with wrestling beating out baseball/softball and squash to be put back on the program, it was ridiculous to dump it in the first place.
It’s an historic part of the Olympics, it’s a more global sport than the other two, I firmly believe, and it struck me as a short-sighted decision to remove even for one Games.
Baseball and softball really have no global appeal – sure, they play the sport in a lot of countries but not nearly enough where it’s a serious sport – and that should always be the first consideration. While we tend to focus on Olympic sports that are important in North America, that’s the wrong view, the Game are for the world and if the world includes events that we don’t like or aren’t familiar with, well, that’s tough on us.
Squash? Would have been a distant, distant third on my list and I believe that to be a commonly held opinion.
Now, in the “It’s All About Me” world we live in, I was really rooting for Madrid to beat out Tokyo and Istanbul for the 2020 Games and was a bit disappointed at the result. I just like Madrid and Spain and it would have been a nice trip with various nice, close places to visit after.
Istanbul? Was fascinating to be there for a few days at the world basketball championships, it’s history is stunning, the Blue Mosque is incredible and being able to go from Europe to Asia just by crossing a river is really neat.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Tokyo will, I’m sure, do a fine job and it’s an intriguing city and will do whatever it takes to run a successful Games.
But what got me was all the hand-wringing about each of the bid cities and while they shouldn’t get the games.
The economic picture in Spain, the government crackdown on protesters in Turkey, the fallout from the nuclear meltdown in Japan were front and centre in all discussions.
But how do we – or they – know what the world will look like seven years from now? How is it possible to predict anything given the way things change so rapidly in the global political, economic and social picture these days.
No, it was a total guess by the IOC fat-cats, hope they made the right one but no one can say with any certainty that they did.
Hope all your fantasy football teams had great success yesterday.
No, not really.