There was a brief moment in time when I watched a soap opera. I think it was my senior year of high school, and blessed with a spare period and living across the street from the school I somehow got the idea that a reasonable use of my suddenly free time was to watch Days of Our Lives.
I got bored of it after a few months, but what amazed me was that for years afterwards I could tune in or stumble across it and still faintly follow the storyline.
Can you guess where I'm going here?
I'm not going to apologize for the dearth of From Deepisms lately, but by way of explanation, there was this thing called the Olympics which required me to briefly become a figure skating expert, then become a snow cross expert and then go to Vancouver and get drunk for a…..um, cover the greatest celebration of sport in Canada in our lifetime.
And then I worked on a couple of articles about why the basketball development system is so unsatisfactory to so many people in our fine country (but hey, we can pump out the women's bobsledders!), and then I took a few days off after working for 40 straight and reintroduced myself to my family.
And now I'm back watching a soap opera, or at least the Toronto Raptors, which is kind of the same thing. I mean, I know I'm supposed to be able to provide some fresh insight and all of that, but it just feels like so many other moments the past three seasons or so: Bosh gets hurt; Raptors suck; room for optimism dwindles.
In terms of plot lines we're at a bit of a crisis point right now - a losing streak, Bosh calling out his guys and the starting lineup getting shuffled all in a week is like someone sleeping with the pool boy and someone getting a miracle cure for the mysterious illness in the same episode, soap opera wise - but it all kind of feels like the same thing, doesn't it?
I can't say exactly why, but I was legitimately happy for the Raptors hardcore faithful when they had that 24-11 run in mid-season.
It was so fresh! And after the start they had, so unexpected. And for Raptors fans, so rewarding. There was this winnable chunk of games - and they won them. There was some favourable scheduling, with plenty of off days to practice, prepare and rest - and they practised, prepared and rested!
Their defence improved. They integrated disparate parts of their rotation. Bosh continued to tear it up. Jack and Calderon co-existed. Turkoglu got the benefit of the doubt i.e.: well, he's still kind of sucking, but the team is winning, so he must be, what exactly? Facilitating! He's facilitating! That's it. Facilitating (as an aside, this is now by favourite catch all adjective: whenever I'm doing anything that's not measurably productive, yet not obviously destructive - which is to say doing not much of anything - I'm going to be facilitating. Stamped it, double-locked it).
I mean, those were good times. For those watching at home, it was some good TV. For those in the arena, there was some value for that entertainment dollar.
But Bosh gets hurt? A 1-9 limp to back into the playoffs only to do the sacrificial lamb thing when they get there? Or just miss and another late April "things are going to change" press conference? Will Bosh stay or go?
I mean, I've seen that show before.
You know you're having a good day when the first time back writing about a team you haven't been around for six weeks or so and you get unhappy emails from the director of communications and the team president, but hey, these things happen.
So in the interests of fairness, let me clarify:
I was wrong to imply in my story for Tuesday's paper that Hedo Turkoglu or Andrea Bargnani or Bryan Colangelo refused interview requests after their practice on Monday.
That's not what happened.
This is what happened: While Chris Bosh - who in my opinion has been an exceptionally accountable pro during his time in Toronto and who has been by far the most consistent player this season, not to mention pretty close to brilliant - was getting some tough questions about his role in the Raptors recent slide, Turkoglu made the veteran's exit, which is to say: leave when the media are otherwise occupied, thus limiting the possibility of having to do interviews.
Hedo's never turned down an interview request, but to me to the scene didn't seem right, at least metaphorically: Why is Bosh getting the business and the guy who's been the perhaps the biggest disappointment this season easing his way out the door unobstructed?
Similarly when Triano was talking, Colangelo left. Now Colangelo has always been accessible to reporters and to his credit he stopped and talked when he was asked. But again, it struck me that Triano was taking his share of weight while Colangelo was making a quiet exit.
Didn't feel quite right.
And Bargnani eventually did come out of the weight room or where ever he was; it's just that no one noticed he was there.
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