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Canada deserves a big crowd for FIBA qualifier

A few little things because I’m still trying to find a rhythm and, I think, this is my first back-to-back.


What’s going to be interesting when Canada finally gets to play at home in significant international basketball tonight against the Dominican Republic is what kind of audience they’ll attract.

Aside from an exhibition game at the old Varsity Arena I remember aeons ago — at least 20 years — the senior men’s team hasn’t played a real game in these parts since the 1994 world championships.

We’ve been in Vancouver for exhibitions — it was Yao Ming’s first game in North America after he’d been the No. 1 draft pick back in 2002 — and I recall driving around London and Kitchener for games against New Zealand one summer and there have been a couple of other exhibitions here but nothing that really meant something.

I don’t know if they’ll sell all the tickets that are available but given the number of people who’ve told me over the years that they’d love to see this generation play in person, now’s the time to back up those words.

It’s a tough weekend with the holiday upon us but that shouldn’t mean a large audience shouldn’t take in the contest. The night in Halifax last November was excellent, I’d expect nothing less in Toronto. Canada Basketball officials backed the change in the qualification process in large part because it would guarantee six home games through the first two rounds of qualifying and they — and the players — deserve big crowds.

You know, if you get a couple of months of forced idleness, you can tend toward watching a lot of mindless TV, especially if you’re me.

So here are three shows I didn’t know about that are now part of the daily routine.


I know She Who Supports Arsenal is a bit of a fan and I’ve kind of become one, too.

DaVinci’s City Hall

I think they might have made only six or eight since I keep seeing the same ones every morning but it’s a wonderfully cheesy Canadian production.


Seeing as there seems to be one — Vegas, Miami, New York — on somewhere every hour of the day, it’s hard to avoid them.

What else have you got for me, it’s looking like a long summer with long periods of boring downtime ahead of me

Don’t forget this, we’ve got some good stuff.

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I know it’s lost some of its lustre over the years just as the entire sport has but there’s still something about the Queen’s Plate, isn’t there?

It goes tomorrow at Woodbine — it sounds like it’s going to be a perfect day out at track — and, to me, it remains a significant one-off event on the calendar that deserves some attention;

I don’t know if it’s the pomp and circumstance or the presence of the wonderful Brian Williams hosting the event on TV or the stories that come out that no one knows about but it’s something I seldom miss. I know horse racing doesn’t hold nearly the allure these days that it once did but for one day, it’s worth checking out.

Besides, we’re gonna need something relatively calm to digest after what I expect will be a raucous afternoon with my loud and passionate gaggle of Portuguese soccer fans watching the World Cup round of 16.

The 30 or 40 of them tend to surround my stool watching every game they play and it’s an awful lot of fun seeing them live and die with every kick and call.

Don’t forget we’re going to try and pull together some kind of mailbag for one day early next week and you’ve got to do your part.

You do that by clicking on askdoug@thestar.ca and clearing your mind. You’ll be glad you did.

I bet you could have gotten some long odds that Steve Pearce would be the first domino in The Great 2018 Blue Jays sell off.

But here we are and I’m guessing there are at least three more transactions coming.

Helluva summer, no?