Triano pokes fun at his team during St. Catharines visit
Old 03-19-2009, 09:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Triano pokes fun at his team during St. Catharines visit

Jay Triano couldn’t resist a jab at his Toronto Raptors, who are in second last place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference.

While touring the Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre, he chatted with Gunter Siegert, a stroke patient undergoing physical therapy.

“You’re doing some good work there,” he told the beaming St. Catharines resident.

“You’re standing up straight.

“The way some of our guys are playing, you might be able to help us,” joked the head coach of the Raptors basketball team.

Siegert responded with a chuckle: “Yeah, that’ll be the day.”

Triano, who was raised in Niagara Falls, has had a stellar career in Canadian basketball.

He’s a former national team player, competed in two Olympics and coached the Canadian men’s team at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney.

Triano is also the first Canadian-born head coach in NBA history.

After his Thursday walk through the St. Catharines complex, he spoke to a gathering of family, friends, staff and patients.

In the audience was his father, Howie Triano of Niagara Falls, who’s also a recovering stroke patient at the Shaver. Howie worked with Shaver staff to make the visit happen.

Triano spoke about triumphing on the court and being at the Shaver to conquer health challenges.

Perseverance, optimism and hard work are values linking both worlds, he said.

“It is a tough time for you,” Triano said. “You’re here for a reason; you’re here because of adversity and now it’s time to get help from people.

“You do it the same way that you did before adversity struck,” he said. “If you have a positive attitude, that’s how you got to where you were successful in the first place.

“It’s the same thing we address with our basketball team. We’re in a tough spot right now, fighting for the playoffs and it’s not looking great with 14 games to go.

“Are we just going to fold the tent and let it go, or stay motivated and get better?”

Triano told a personal story about Terry Fox, whom he knew while playing basketball for Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

At the time, Fox — who also played basketball — recently had his leg amputated because of cancer.

Triano met Fox while meeting with his coach to complain about being homesick for Niagara.

The clash between Triano’s trivial whining and Fox’s unshakable spirit shook Triano to the core.

“Here are these athletes playing in university, and this guy is telling us, ‘I’m going to run across Canada on one leg,’ ” he said.

At first, they laughed at the cancer survivor.

Meanwhile, Fox was organizing dances to pay for his Marathon of Hope, a 1980-81 cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research.

“He just would not stop with those dances and that’s exactly the way he was with his run,” Triano said.

Fox’s marathon was cut short when his cancer returned. He died June 28, 1981, and has since become a Canadian icon in whose name millions of dollars have been raised.

“It’s people like that that really inspire you, and you need those people,” Triano said. “I see that when I’m here at the Shaver.

“And I tip my hat to you.”

Shaver board chair Ron McTavish was impressed by the power of Triano’s message, and his handshake. “I wish I had something like that for my golf swing,” he remarked.

For Lucas Diiorio, 13, of St. Catharines, the Triano visit was just as memorable.

“The Raptors are my favourite team,” said the Connaught School student, who was in physiotherapy for a broken elbow. “He’s a really nice guy and really down to earth.”

Howie Triano, who has been at the Shaver for a few weeks, smiled and nodded to his son’s stirring words.

“I told you he would be good,” he said afterward. “He gives great motivational speeches.”
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Last edited by Acie; 03-19-2009 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 03-19-2009, 10:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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