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So, talk about being slow on the uptake. (Although in my defence, it was pre the third cup of coffee. Yes, the older I get, the more caffeine it takes to get the brain cells to snap to attention or at least roll over and open an eye…) Anyway, was checking out the blog yesterday and got stumped by a word you used. Of course, I turn to Google and searched for enlightenment.
And, in my search for what the heck you were referring to, I learned the story of Aubrie Shapkin, a 13-year old ballet dancer from Cochrane, Ontario who was chosen to play Clara in the Nutcracker with the Jeunesse Classique Ballet Society last Christmas and violin-playing Uzbekistani twins Vladimir and Vasily Shapkin who busk on the streets of Sydney, Australia.
So, along the path to discovery, I watched some outstanding ballet and listened to Paganani’s Caprice No.1 for violin. An altogether lovely start to the day.
Oh, and eventually saw that the word is also used as a mashup of the names of a couple of Blue Jays front office dudes. So, duh on me. And makes your sentence make sense.
Anyway, lovely interview with Vince Carter. And after reading it, did some additional reading on the Junior NBA World Championships (and what is it about Welland and its athletes?!). Do you know if there’s going to be any local coverage of the games (please don’t say it’s on DAZN). Would be nice if NBA TV Canada picked up the Canadian games. Will you be watching, if indeed it can be watched?
Hope you’re well and getting weller and weller all the time. Looks like it’s going to be an interesting (Aargh!!!) NBA season coming up and we’re going to need you to help us through it. Also, to tell the stories from the hugely anticipated FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup in Tenerife next month!!!
Enjoy August. 🙂
A: I don’t know of any TV but it’s a Fox Sports and FS1 production so that takes the DAZN live-streaming out of the equation on that site. I would guess – and will have to check mid-week – that one of the Canadian networks would at least pick up the finals, as I believe they do with the Little League World Series, which this hopes to become.
And yeah, well and weller and wellest and it’s a long, slow road back but I’m on it and training camp and the women’s World Cup are absolutely on the list of goals.
Q: Hi Mr. Smith,
We are so glad that you are doing so well, and happy to read your articles and blog again.
We will keep your son in prayer as he has chosen the courage to be so open and vulnerable about his struggles with anxiety. As a secondary school teacher, I seek to be constantly aware of and care for shy and introverted students who may be going through the same struggles. His words are a strong reminder to me, and will help others, I know.
I am hoping you will be able to answer this question about MLSE:
As part of the re-branding of the ACC to the Scotiabank Centre, has MLSE let go of all its long-time staff there?
This ad from MLSE for jobs available seems to me to indicate much more than a few positions open, as would be normal for the beginning of the year. It looks like a full re-hire:
If so, I am concerned for the many wonderful people who have held long-time positions there, such as the usher in our season seat section who we have come to know, who helps a single mom and her kids in his apartment building, like the woman who sells food and drink whose brother has MS and she helps her family, and so many more. I am concerned that MLSE may be doing a rebranding re-hire, that would mean people losing their jobs and probably also mean lower wages too. For example, in the lower bowl area in section 113 over the past two years, MLSE started handing out paper ads as people came in to the section, to order your food through a phone app so you could bypass the paid staff, affecting people like the aforementioned woman, in an attempt, it seems, to let go of some of the staff, and to save money. I truly hope this is not the case for MLSE.
I thank you in advance for any information that you can provide in this case.
I wish you a peaceful day.
Blessings to you and your family.
A: Thanks very much for the kind words, I’ll pass them along.
I don’t know of any purge at the newly-named arena, in fact I’ve been at other MLSE-operated or owned properties and seen many familiar faces from the ACC and there were a handful of old acquaintances spotted the one day I was in the Scotiabank Arena.
I think what might be happening is a replenishment of seasonal workers who might have moved on to full careers after part-time gigs last summer. There was certainly nothing in the new naming deal that would have mandated large-scale staffing changes.
Q: Hi Doug,
I’ve been reading your blog and answers about DeRozan, and agree pretty much with everything.
As to the Dwane Casey situation, however, since it went down while you were, I never saw your analysis of that firing.
I believe that you said you didn’t agree with it, but I don’t recall anything else.
I personally do agree with letting him go, but I may have based that on a false perception of the situation, and I am hoping that being closer to the situation, you could enlighten me.
As I said, I could be wrong, but the way it seemed to me was that last summer it was Masai who decided that a “culture reset” was needed and that Casey had to be convinced. I got the feeling that if Masai hadn’t pushed it, then it might not have happened. Granted, that once it did happen, I assume it was Casey who managed to convince the players, but even at that, I’ve heard that it was Nick Nurse who pretty much designed their new offense.
If my perception is wrong, please straighten me out, but if Casey couldn’t see the need for the reset on his own, then it was indeed time for him to go.
A: The “culture reset” was one of the more nebulous phrases ever associated with this franchise in the 22 years I’ve been around it and took on a life far greater than it needed to.
But, yes, Ujiri wanted a change in the style of play and got it. They shot more 3s, moved the ball more effectively and cut back on isolation play, as every significant team and individual stat proved in a 59-win season. And that was under the charge of Dwane Casey, who like every coach in the NBA, collaborated with his entire staff to make it happen. Not just Nick, not just Rex, not just Jama but all of them. And Casey saw the need, heeded his boss’s request and made it work to the greatest regular season ever.
Ultimately, Masai felt that group had reached its plateau and decided to make a change at the top, whether that change works cannot now be known.
Firing Dwane was a tough move, I don’t personally think it was necessary but I’m not in charge. What it was, was just a personification of the crappy part of professional sports, like the DeMar trade, where good men lose jobs.
Q: Hey Doug:
Takes a while for a train to get up to speed, and it’s good to note you’re slowly but surely (Shirley?) getting back up to speed.
I saw on Twitter you tweeted a while back a story by a young man with the last name Smith. It appeared like this was Super Son. I always thought it was a very sound decision by you years ago to shield your family from unwanted incursions into their lives by some of the stranger characters out there by referring to members of your family as Super… (And sure didn’t hurt your last name is Smith.)
The young lad’s piece was very thoughtful and well-written and wondering, if this is indeed Super Son, why you lifted his anonymity? Considering he is dealing with depression, I can’t help to think of your interview with DeMar this winter. What are your thoughts about this issue, especially if you were dealing with it both at home and professionally with an athlete that you obviously care a lot about?
On more mundane matters, since Jonas is the only 7 footer on the team, and the Raptors don’t appear to be interested in re-signing Lucas, do you think they pick up another 7 footer before the start of pre-season?
Appreciated as always,
A: Yeah, that was the kid and I figured it was an important message he was delivering through his own social media channels. I was quite proud of him for doing it so a little boost couldn’t hurt. And judging from the reaction of The People, it was the right call.
For the Raptors roster, I don’t know that the 14th man has to necessarily be 7 feet tall but I do think it’ll be a big man to balance out the team. But I also think a four-man frontcourt rotation of Valanciunas, Anunoby, Ibaka and Siakam will be sufficient and any late add will solely be deep insurance.
Q: Not a question, Mr. Smith, just a message to let you know how much one transplanted Torontonian (I’ve lived in Mexico for 30+ years) missed reading your perceptive and thought-provoking columns. I was very sorry to learn that you had suffered a serious health problem, and was concerned by the lack of updates on your condition. So, very glad you’re back. Please take good care of yourself, as I – and many, many others – look forward to reading your columns for many years to come.
Thank you… and good health… Paul C. Kersey, Zamora, Michoacán, Mexico
A: Muchas gracias.
Trust me, no more hero ball and I’m taking every possible precaution not to create any more serious issues.
Doug Smith is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @smithraps