“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
— Winston Churchill
The start of the season is a ways away yet, but I got to thinking about Memorial Sea-Hawks basketball the other day.
There are changes on the way for both the MUN men’s and the women’s teams this year and it remails to be seen if they are positive or negative.
MUN men’s basketball coach Peter Benoite said last week that while things are “moving along at a good pace,” he’s definitely not ready to begin the season at this point.
“We’re working day-by-day to be where we need to be,” Benoite noted. “But, I feel we are much further ahead then we have been in previous years.
“It looks like we’ve got a lot of the pieces that we haven’t had at the this time in previous seasons, so there is a lot of reasons for optimism at this point.
“Of course, I’m always optimistic about the start of the season and always feel we have the potential to do well. So I’m trying to keep things in perspective.
“As we have seen in the past, things never quite go as you plan and anything can happen between now and the start of the season.”
Benoite says the team is deeper than its ever been since he took over the helm in 2008.
“The guys are getting after it in practice and we’ve had good energy around the team,” he said. “ We have guys at each of the key positions and we have a deep enough roster to challenge each other in practice. That alone will make us more game ready.
“So all-in-all, I’m pretty optimistic about things. Things are looking up.”
The Sea-Hawks have alumni games Friday and Saturday before heading to Montreal Oct 3. The team will be in Waterloo, Ont., Oct. 18. The team’s AUS season opener is Nov. 9 against Saint Mary’s at the Field House.
As for Memorial’s women’s team, head coach Doug Partridge said it’s a little early to comment on how things are going.
“Lots of change and we just started real practice last (Wednesday) night,” Partridge noted.
The veteran MUN coach did confirm Sam Kavanagh has chosen to continue her education at CONA (College of the North Atlantic) meaning she will not play this year and that Emily Jameson was accepted to the MBA program at Saint Mary’s University and will transfer and play there this season.
Asked if he gets a little antsy waiting for season to get underway, Partridge said he used to once, but not so much these days.
“Just excited to get started training with what I feel is possibly the most athletic group of players we have ever had at Memorial. Being so young, we have so much potential,” he said
“ I’m fascinated to see how it all shakes out over the next three or four years.”
Like MUN men, the Lady Hawks open at home to Saint Mary’s Nov.9.
In the meantime, the team will play some local high school boys’ teams Oct 11-12. The Lady Hawks will play a couple of games at McGill University Oct. 18-20 for what Partridge is calling “our first real competition.”
“As we say in program: progress, not perfection.”
— SNL’s Stuart Smalley
Christine Sinclair, Canada’s best known women’s soccer player, wouldn’t do a one-on-one interview with me Monday night at Topsail Field.
Her handlers said she doesn’t do one-on-one interviews because she’s so shy. Well, she did a one-on-one interview with CBC TV’s Wendy Mesley last year. It’s amazing how some athletes get over their shyness when you put them in front of a TV camera.
Look, Sinclair, whether she wants the responsibility or not, is the face of Canadian women’s soccer. I understand that most athletes don’t like doing interviews. But she’s the captain of the team and part of that responsibility is to deal with the media. She’s 30 years old. She needs to suck it up and do every interview she’s asked to do if at all possible. It’s how you help grow the sport. Let’s face it, women’s soccer needs all the publicity it can get.
The Sinclair snub aside, the four national team soccer players did an outstanding job at the camp with the youngsters. After the final day of camp the players took several minutes to sign autographs and pose for pictures with every kid at the camp. I understand it was Sid Cox who was responsible for bringing in this group and he’s to be congratulated. A first class job all around and a feather in the C.B.S. soccer cap for sure.
Memorial University Director of Athletics Michelle Healey sees a future for both men’s and women’s volleyball at MUN. She said men’s coach Luke Harris “has done a good job in recruiting this off-season and is looking forward to the start of the season. Our women’s volleyball team made it to the semifinal last year (under coach Bill Thistle) which shows the potential we have in that sport,” said Healey ...St. Pat’s senior soccer team is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its one and only provincial championship next month with a dinner ... Some rugby people believe injured Dean Blanks will be back playing within two years, though probably only at the local level of the game...