We lost a hard fought, well coached, game last night to the Argentines in overtime at the U16 FIBA Americas. Wow, what a basketball game… what an environment to play in!
Our boys got their first taste of the passion and fire that comes along with international basketball yesterday. And, there’s no better way to know what that intensity feels like other than to play the home team in their gym in an important game.
The stadium was shaking and the media booth, where I was perched, was trembling. The Argentine fans were jumping up and down, chanting songs, and sending sustained piercing whistles in the air that reverberated off the walls. Players couldn’t hear the whistles over the mayhem and the coaching staff could barely issue orders from the bench. (Amazing!)
I was told by the players after the game that the fans behind the bench were unwavering and unrelenting in the ferociousness of their comments. As told to me by the coaching staff, one older gentleman, was literally right in the player’s ears screaming: “Eff you MF’er! I’m going to kill you.” His English, I’m sure, wasn’t great, but some things you don’t need to call on the attaché to translate. The F-Bomb is pretty much universal and the players only needed to feel the spittle and hot breath on the backs of their necks to know that he felt adamant about what he was saying. (Awesome!)
That’s the fire and “orgullo” (pride) that these countries play with.
Hey… I’m not condoning the behaviour of the fans. But, as an athlete, you better have a positive approach to cope with playing in this type of an environment, if you want to compete for an Americas or World Championship.
Our boys had it on this night. Very proud.
Despite the loss, we advance to the crossover round and will play USA. The team has given themselves a shot to qualify for the World Championship next summer and will have two chances to come away with the a win which will secure a spot. The top three (3) teams from this zone qualifier move on to 2010.
No mercy for the wicked…
UPDATE: They Did It! 2010 World Championships, Here Canada Comes
Big congrats to Canada’s Cadet Boys who qualified for the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championships!
This was the sum of the effort, contribution and support of many—including those with us and those back in Canada that contributed. A big shout out to the players, coaches and staff for creating synergy in such a short period of time. Well done.
Very proud and humbled to have the opportunity to have been a part of it all. It’s not very often you have opportunity to represent your country in some capacity on an international stage.
One more thing off my ‘bucket list.’