After the men’s basketball team’s crushing defeat at the hands of UQAM, it hit me. There weren’t going to be any more games at Concordia this year. There weren’t going to be any Stinger games away from Concordia either. There will be no Stinger teams in the National Championships of any sport and this is as sad as it is disappointing. As I watched the clock ticking down in the final losses of Concodia’s hockey and basketball teams, I felt heartbroken – never mind the athletes who were playing, especially those in their final games.
I guess I was spoiled last year, my first year at Concordia, when two of our teams made it to the National Championships. I now realize how hard it is to reach the Nationals.
Having the wrestling team bring back four gold medals was a great achievement and finishing so close to Brock University in the team competition is unbelievable and should be recognized as an amazing achievement.
Now, what is a sports fan to do with no more Concordia teams to cheer for? Let me share some ideas with you.
The NHL’s trade deadline Thursday at 3 p.m. and that is always fun to watch. I expect the Canadian teams to be very busy making deals to help their playoff push (except Toronto which seems to be pushing away from the playoffs).
After the deadline, all heck will break loose as there are as many as eight teams fighting for three playoff spots at the back end of the Eastern Conference and six teams (third-place Calgary to eighth-place Edmonton) within five points of each other. Buckle your seatbelts!
Major League Baseball’s Spring Training is also well underway, but for games that really count, try the World Baseball Classic. The main part started on Tuesday and Canada is relishing their role as underdog. If Jeff Francis and Eric Bedard can pitch up to their potential and Jason Bay steps up to lead a dangerous offence, Canada has a shot to finish ahead of Mexico in Pool B and advance to the playoff round.
On Saturday, the first qualifying session of the new Formula One season takes place in Bahrain, with the race on Sunday. Canadian Jacques Villeneuve will look to bounce back from a string of disappointing seasons since his championship win in 1997 with the new look BMW team. Defending champion Fernando Alonso will look to repeat and Michael Schumacher will look to bounce back from his worst season in a Ferrari.
And don’t forget about the NBA and NFL. The NBA is nearing the playoffs, while the NFL has huge labour problems. If the NFL cannot get a deal in place soon, the first major professional sports league to have a salary cap may not have one after this season. That is a big story to watch if you are a fan of any professional sport. It could have major implications for the other leagues as well, because the NFL has set an example for the economics of most of the major sports leagues.
So, put your Buzz bobbleheads and thundersticks away for the summer, but don’t forget to come back next year when Stinger baseball, soccer, rugby and football teams start their seasons.