For Team Canada, it’s been 8 years. For me, 12. But we are back at the World Championships, which begins today in Hamburg, Germany.
Here are the relevant links…
Today also marks 29 years since I lost my legs in a car accident. Some years the date August 16th rolls by without notice, but this is not one of those years. I’m grateful for the reminder to stop and appreciate how blessed I’ve been by this sport. It’s been a Godsend.
Worlds has expanded from 12 to 16 teams since the last time I competed in 2006. (For the women, it’s gone from 10 to 12). You’d think that might lead to a watered down competition, but the opposite is true. The tournament is deeper than ever. Yes, there are some standout teams here, but the middle of the pack is thick with dark horse potential. There will not be very many easy games, if any. With regard to parity, the sport is in a good place.
How does Canada stack up? Honestly, check back in a week. It’s too close to call. But I know that we’ve been working hard since the beginning of this quad 18 months ago, in order to put ourselves in a position to compete. We have the ability to get rolling, to go on runs, to generate a little bit of swagger. We’re a unique team, with a unique set of strengths and weaknesses, making specific matchups and tactics more relevant than ever.
It’s good to be back in Germany, where I spent four seasons playing in the RBB - three with RSV Lahn-Dill and one with RBC Koeln 99ers. The Germans have had a knack for marketing the game to those outside the fold, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of fan and media buzz they can generate here in Hamburg. Outside of the Paralympics, it’s a tough task, but I anticipate good things here.
It’s off to practice, then opening ceremonies, and then let’s get this thing started already. I’m not getting any younger!
ps. The title of this post is an obscure allusion to a David Gray song, “Back In The World”, and if my wife picked up on that, hi babe. She and I love that album - Mutineers - and we were soaked in it when we were making our latest album. “No more trudging around stony eyed through the town like the living dead” is a great line that I definitely plan on using during a timeout.