An eventful and long day of travel and missed games

An eventful and long day of travel and missed games

Tales of travel and whatnot today because I’ve been loafing almost all weekend, there’s not much going on and I could get started while having a couple of very nice pilsners from the pFriem Family brewery in the lobby bar late Christmas night.

May have to have a couple more there tonight.

The day on the road did mean I missed every second of every game, either because I was in a plane, walking through an airport or at a gate.

I did the egregious non-call on Durant at the end of the Golden State-Cleveland game and it proved two things:

One, the theory that stars “always get calls” lost some lustre since there’s not a bigger star in the game than Durant and maybe that bleating calms a bit.

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And it’s that refs blow calls, as they do once or twice in every game on every night of the regular season and that some officials are less good than others. Just like some players blow plays, some are less good than others, same as writers blow sentences and some are less good than others.

They’ve got to train them better, I think; work on positioning; maybe have them watch film of teams they’ll officiating.

I don’t for the life of me that adding a fourth or a fifth official is a good idea because it will only clutter the court and won’t necessarily mean the odd missed call is caught.

My support and defence of some referees in the heat of the game is well documented although I have been rather vociferous about the, um, struggles of some. But no one’s going to get it perfect every night, it just ain’t going to happen and you need to put that dream out of your head.

But they can be better, no question, we all can. Takes a bit harder work and better preparation.

Sure, it sucks when a trip like that gets missed at a decisive moment in a game like that but, you know what, sometimes life isn’t perfect.

Landed to the news of George Michael passing, knew I had to do this and the great Johnnyc had already sent it along.

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This is a first and, yep, Big Brother is watching.

Land in Vancouver on the way to Portland – one of those You Can’t Get There From Here cities – and have to clear US Customs and Immigration there.

It’s a helluva hike, actually, and for some reason known only to the non-travellers who designed that silly YVR airport you have to repeat the security process there after already doing it at Pearson.

Silly.

But I digress.

Get to US Customs, am chatting with the fellow about my flights, my intentions, whether I need an I Visa or just a B1 to do my job and all of a sudden he turns the computer screen to me and says.

“Is that your bag?”

Sure enough, in the time it took me to walk one end of the airport to the other and clear a tiny security line, the US government had taken a picture of my checked bag, matched it up with my passport and boarding pass (not the luggage tag, just the bar code) and had the photograph waiting for me.

Maybe that’s normal but it’s never happened to me before.

I figure they knew what was in the bag, too.

Yeah, this a bear of a trip, long with brutal deadlines and I have no idea what we might get in the paper or on the web or in the tablet night to night – we’ll do our best to get as much in or up as we can and there’s always the Three Pointers – but …

A night off in San Francisco before the Golden State game virtually assures a bit of time at the Buena Vista Coffee House and staying the night after the game in Phoenix because there’s no practice off the back-to-back to worry about assures a bite at Pizzeria Bianco so the trek’s not a total write off.

And since I treat New Year’s Eve like the Amateur Hour that it is, being off in Manhattan Beach on Dec. 31 really doesn’t matter to me. I’m pretty sure I can find a stool steps from my hotel that I can sit at until I can wish Loved Ones back home a Happy New Year at 9 and call it a night.

The Raptors?

Well, I missed practice because it took so long to get here but the People Who Know said nothing untoward or newsworthy happened, as I figured.

With they way they got screwed over by Drunk Schedule-Making Computer the best we could have hoped for was some griping but it’s not their style.

Now, privately I know a bunch of them are miffed about Toronto-Utah-Toronto-Portland but they aren’t going to go public with it.

So they practiced, nothing bad occurred and we move on.

All right, it’s crazy early out here in foggy Portland, need to get the day and deadlines and story plans worked out.

Happy shopping, if that’s your thing. And if it is your thing, you’re a far, far, far better person than I.

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