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A measure of revenge — and a major accomplishment — for men’s volleyball team


There’s always something that falls through the cracks and it’s no one’s “fault” really. There’s a lot of stuff going on, there aren’t enough of us to stay on top of it all’ is the way of the world in which we live and it’s a terrible, unwinnable fight to think we’re going to all of a sudden fix it.

And it’s with that in mind – especially the no fault part because we really do try our best – that we catch up with what’s turning out to be one of the great weeks in Canadian men’s volleyball history.

You remember – vaguely, perhaps – that team from its run at the Rio Olympics a year ago, right? Made it to the quarter-finals of the Games basically out of nowhere and only after qualifying at all as the very last opportunity?

If you don’t recall, this is what they did when we caught up with them. And it was a memorable, memorable day for me (who did this); Not Grace (who penned this 100 per cent accurate epic and, yeah, I was the guy who asked the question and was damn proud of it),  and High Park Cy, (whose yahoo story I simply cannot find, much to my chagrin). It was an outstanding day for three old blokes who really had no idea what they were watching.

Anyway.

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That Canadian team – with a new coach and a few new players – exacted a tremendous measure of revenge yesterday, beating Russia 3-0 to advance to the World League Finals semifinals for the first time ever.

It’s a major milestone and a helluva big accomplishment for a team that flies so far under the radar in the mainstream Canadian sports world that it may as well be on the ground.

I can’t speak to anything technical about their win yesterday, or any of their wins at World League events as they’ve unfolded around the globe this season for that matter, but when you do something no one in your circumstances has done before, it’s big.

I have a feeling the young kid who had the match-high 14 points – Sharone Vernon-Evans – would be someone to keep an eye on, even if it’s difficult. The kid’s 18 years old, youngest player in the tournament according to the Volleyball Canada item that landed in the in-box last evening, and would strike me as an athlete with a bright, shiny future.

Yeah, the team’s accomplishment has been under-reported and that’s too bad. It’s hard – no, it’s impossible – for many of us can keep up with all that’s going on these days; there’s not enough staff, there’s not enough time in a week or a month, there’s not enough space in the paper and, sadly, sometimes catching up as things unfold is the only way to go. It’s especially difficult in Olympic sports where teams or athletes might go years without competing on home soil and makes it hard to even do a deep-ish dive on them.

I’m sure the diehard volleyball fans across the country are well aware of what’s transpiring in Brazil and now maybe a few of you are up to speed and will seek out as much information on the team’s Friday semifinal as you can get.

We’ll try and keep trying but catching up is maybe the best we’ll be able to do in a lot of circumstances. It ain’t perfect but it’s probably the best we can do.

Only a matter of time until she made an appearance in Canada Month, right?

Well done on the mail – you have hot dog opinions and that’s very cool because it means you’re reading all the way through – but there’s entirely room for more.

Questions, that is, not specifically hot dogs, so travel on over to askdoug@thestar.ca sometime today and let me know what’s going on with you.

No question too silly.

Hey, it’s End Of The Moratorium Day in the NBA.

Everyone happy with that?

I’m hearing it’ll be tomorrow before there’s a big buntoss, chinwag, dog-and-pony show here for Lowry and Ibaka so the day should pass uneventfully in these parts.

(Which now means all hell will break loose around dinner/stool time. Thankfully, there’s good wireless where I plan to be).

Speaking of catching up, Canada’s U-19 men’s basketball team is, not at all surprisingly, off to the world championship quarter-finals tomorrow against France.

They’re now 3-1, 2-1 in the preliminary round and Round of 16 win over Angola yesterday and are pretty much right where they expected to be.

The path to the medal podium is hard – Canada’s on the same side of the draw as the prohibitively-favoured Americans – but getting to the top four and having two shots at a medal would be a helluva accomplishment for this Roy Rana-led team.

I see TSN’s out with the Raptors going with Sun Life as their tiny sponsored patch on uniforms starting next year.

It was inevitable – I think they’re the sixth or seventh team at least to announce their deals – and the entire idea’s not a big thing at all, I don’t think.

In fact, in an era where the pucks playing surface and surrounding barriers are full of ads and when Sportsnet can screw over viewers by superimposing ads on the hitter’s eye of ball parks, the biggest surprise is that it’s taken the NBA this long to do something like this.

The money will be nice, I don’t think the ads are at all intrusive and I’m pretty sure it’s not going to dissuade people who want to buy a jersey from spending the money on one.

So, time marches forward and, yeah, everything’s for sale.

TORONTO STAR | SPORTS | DOUG_SMITHS_SPORTS_BLOG

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