The NBA playoffs are in full swing; the Toronto Raptors are in the second round and fans are hoping for a championship come June. Though this book was published November of 2018, the NBA playoffs are as good a time as ever to tell Jay Triano’s story and his rise through in the world of basketball, his dreams of playing for Canada’s Nationals team, winning championships and coaching in the NBA.
A quick read of Jay Triano’s Wikipedia page will give you the playing and coaching history of Triano, but it leaves out all the best parts; what drove him as a youth and the people who had influence on his character and how he became a world champion playing for Canada (1983) and coaching the American mens basketball team in 2010.
In Open Look, Triano describes his earliest of great experiences seeing the Canadian Mens National Team play in for the first time. From that moment his fate is sealed, he will not be anything if not a member of the Canadian National Team. But to do that Triano had to follow a trail that would lead him to meet people that would have an impact that he could not have envisioned you can see where each of these experiences have led him to his dream.
Stan Stewardson recruited Triano to play at Simon Fraser University, a BC University that played Division I basketball in the USA. Along with recruiting him, Stewardson guided the nineteen year through his first years living far away from home. Stewardson also taught Triano what he needed to be a great player, team mate and eventually to where he would see his greatest success – as a coach. But Stewardson also introduced Triano to a person who would have a profound effect on his life in in his early years at SFU, Terry Fox.
Terry Fox was a basketball player at SFU, the season before Triano arrived Fox blewout his leg playing, only his leg was weakened because of cancer. When Triano met Fox, he was in a wheelchair having had his leg amputed. Fox was to be Triano’s trainer in those weeks in his first summer at SFU in 1977. That summer Fox was in training himself for he had already self-determined that he would run across Canada. Triano notes that even then Fox had a charisma about him that you could never forget.
Of all the people in the career of Jay Triano Jack Donahue perhaps played the greatest role. The American who was coaching Canadian Team, the coach that said the hotshot from Ontario was “no good”; little did he know that Triano went through the 9 day tryout with a taped up bad ankle. That first year player from SFU would be remembered by Donahue and it would not be long before Triano would make his dream come true – he would wear the red and white of Canada’s National Team. Jack Donahue would play a huge part in Triano’s for years. Triano would honour him years later after his death.
It felt like that Triano’s story is only scratching the surface in Open Look; almost as if there are so many stories that he could tell that to get the most in details had to be left out.
But, what Open Look does is teach one thing, it’s a lesson that all young athletes should learn – have a goal, work at that goal and have all things your do be to realize your goal and do it all honestly. Whether its basketball, baseball, hockey, football or anyother sport Triano does noting if to say stay true to your goal.
Open Look is a must read for any athlete that wants or needs a role model. The only thing that could be better that reading Open Look wold be Jay Triano on the speaker circuit where he would tell these stories and add what the book can’t the emotion and personal perspective, how great would that be?
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