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|An Inspiration To All...|
Mar. 23, 2010, 4:50 PM
TSN has prepared a masterful piece on Jay Triano that outlines his relationship with Terry Fox.
The two knew each other at Simon Fraser University. Once a pretty good high school basketball player, Fox worked as a trainer for the men’s basketball team on which Triano starred.
Fox detoured his 1980 Marathon of Hope to Niagara Falls to visit Triano in his hometown. Decades later, when the school unveiled a bronze statue of Fox, Triano was the event’s master of ceremonies.
The Terry Fox run has become a staple of the Canadian calendar and a world-wide phenomenon. The runs have generated more than $500 million for Cancer research. When he began his run, Fox was hoping to raise $1 for every Canadian.
I tell stories in schools. My employer is the only one I know that grants its workers paid time to do something good for people.
I have two go-to stories. One is a tale of Maurice Richard, who I met, dragging a defenceman with him to the net by sheer force of will.
The other is about Terry Fox. While the kids are wildly enthusiastic about his story, they don’t seem to have a lot of material. They don’t know the constant grind of the prosthesis pulverized the stump of his leg. They don’t know that he was an adult when he lost his leg. They fall silent when they consider the choice of amputation or death.
The logistics of the 143-day run stagger them when they learn how people prepare for a marathon and the physical demands of the run. They didn’t know that he was often irritated, that he chafed when others ran with him because he so longed to race them or that he was nearly run off the road in Quebec.
They didn’t know an OPP cruiser was waiting for Terry at the Ontario border or that he first realized the depth of his run at a CFL game in Ottawa when he came from under the stands to deliver a ceremonial kickoff only to find 20,000 wildly cheering, weeping Canadians.
They didn’t know that early in his run people took him in, that service clubs gave him spontaneous barbecues or that just a handful of people showed up for the beginning of the run.
They didn’t’ know that while his manager and driver stayed at hotels, Terry often slept in a van rendered rancid by a notoriously poor chemical toilet. He had it parked in the giant pyramid-style structures municipalities use to store salt.
They did not know that many feel Terry refused to stop his run until no one on the highway near Thunder Bay could see him quit or that the young amputee he memorably swam with would die of his Cancer.
The kids don’t know that if they were stricken by the same Cancer Terry walked into, they probably wouldn’t even lose their leg today, let alone die, thanks to the progress in Cancer treatment.
I know this, and I never met the man. Jay Triano and that is the definition of great people on the court or off, on or off the ice.
Through Terry Fox, I share a thread of life with the famous, accomplished coach of the Toronto Raptors. If you ask, or even if you don’t, I will tell you about the effect of meeting Maurice Richard.
I think the inspiration of great people runs undiluted through the people who knew them to the people who didn’t. That’s what Jay Triano has offered you today.
Maybe that’s why they call it a link.
|Raptors Remain Close Despite Tough Season|
Mar. 22, 2010, 2:28 PM
When Ed Davis opened his Range Rover the other day, he found about a million pieces of foam, coincidentally one for every harsh word DeMarcus Cousins has for his Sacramento teammates.
There were five cackling teammates present when the chips hit the pavement, a number, give or take, in tune with the number of weapons Gilbert Arenas brandished at Jarvis Crittenton.
I couldn’t come up with anything to match the one-game suspension the Wizards’ Andre Blatche and Javale McGee incurred for a DC punch-up, but you get the idea.
Somehow, filling a rookie’s car with foam seems, well… innocent.
Through a 20-50 season that has carried about the same ratio of joy and disappointment, the Raptors remain that rarest of phenomena: a harmonious team enduring a galvanizing, losing season.
Sonny Weems should be the star of a real life show named Everyone Loves Sonny. If he and DeMar DeRozan aren’t inseparable, the very least it would take is a putty knife. Amir Johnson makes it a threesome. Davis is polite and deferential. Reggie Evans is everyone’s big brother, so long as the big brother is a highly decorated NBA veteran who views the world with equal parts wonder and wry humour.
This is not necessarily the norm.
The rule of the court often emulates the rule of the pond: the ducks look differently at each other when the water goes down.
On losing teams, someone invariably complains about not getting enough looks, being cheated on playing time or any number of imagined offences. Sooner or later, the word ‘respect’ creeps in and a frosty divide materializes between players who balk at mentoring young players and young players who feel no need for a mentor.
NBA players often come into the league when they would otherwise be undergoing their second or third year of college. They are kids who travel with men with incalculable wealth and even entitlement greasing the road to who knows what. A losing season is a hothouse for all of the above conditions.
And there, in the parking lot of Air Canada Centre, the foam hit the concrete. “Welcome to the NBA,” said Reggie Evans among the hoots of his teammates. “Good luck cleaning it up.”
Some of this must lie at the doorstep of coach Jay Triano, who has never encountered a bus he would throw his players under. Much can be attributed to Evans, the perfect placid focal point when the dressing room doors close. There is no deferring, on the court or off, to a resident superstar. The team’s best young players, Johnson, DeRozan and Davis, seem to be surviving without any sense of entitlement. Andrea Bargnani is a stoic, Jose Calderon is ludicrously positive.
It is impossible to know how the Raptors are going to turn out after the agonizing first few steps of their young core. One thing we do know. The Raptors aren’t planting their seeds in salted earth. The players get along and for people whose growth has only just begun, that means a lot.