Here's the dilemma. As I'm stepping onto the first tee with Jack, Frank calls to say I need to be in rehearsal that same afternoon or the show's cancelled. How do I choose one over the other? How could I possibly turn down the opportunity to wander the fairways with the Golden Bear but, at the same time, how could I pass up the chance to perform with the Chairman of the Board?
Clearly, I can neither win nor lose. Either I enjoy the most memorable round of golf, and regret missing out on sharing the stage with a musical icon, or I have the time of my life treading the boards alongside a legend, while beating myself up for snubbing my own boyhood sporting hero.
This, of course, is the stuff of fantasy but let's consider a real life situation which is prompting plenty of debate regarding the composition of Canada's roster currently competing at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
While Toronto FC has officially provided two players for the competition (American midfielder Sam Cronin and forward Ali Gerba of Canada) the discussion surrounds those senior players who have stayed home. Dwayne De Rosario, Adrian Serioux and Jim Brennan could all have reasonably expected a call from Stephen Hart, interim head coach of Team Canada.
Hart informed me recently it was the players' decision to forego the Gold Cup in favour of regular season duty with TFC. He wouldn't elaborate, preferring naturally to talk about the players who had made themselves available.
It's the age old club versus country debate where, in my opinion, the players are caught in a no-win situation. They're damned if they do, damned if they don't. If they choose not to go they're accused of being unpatriotic and if they do answer the call, they face the flak of loyal fans who pay to see Toronto's best eleven making a serious run at the play-offs.
Let's get a couple of things straight. None of the aforementioned can be charged with being indifferent to the Canadian cause. They've all served their country with distinction, often in trying circumstances, and have amassed well over 100 international caps between them.
In addition, they all wanted to come home when the opportunity presented itself. There's no question they had a desire to be part of Canada's sole MLS franchise - to them it's not just another team, it's their hometown team and that can make a big difference to a player considering his next career move.
How, then, can they be expected to make a logical choice between two things which mean so much to them all?
The majority of players on Hart's roster are in their respective off-season. Only a handful of players on the Gold Cup squad make their living in North America where the campaign is in full swing and virtually every team, Toronto FC, included needs to keep piling up the points to qualify for the playoffs.
If any pressure came from TFC management for these players not to participate we should not be surprised or offended. Mo Johnston's job is to provide Chris Cummins with the best players available to enable Toronto FC to be a contender in Major League Soccer. Cummins' job is to mould that team into a unit which wins more games than it loses. If a selection of his key performers is missing in mid-season, his task is made that much more difficult.
The problem, as ever, is not so much one of loyalty as of timing. The Gold Cup, in its present format, is always going to superimpose itself on the regular season in MLS and while that is the case the competition will continue to ask the impossible of individual players.
As it is the 2009 MLS season began earlier, in part, to accommodate the final round of World Cup qualifiers but it would be folly to expect team owners to close down for three weeks during the Gold Cup this year or for a month next year when the global focus will shift to South Africa. They need to put a product on the field the fans will pay to see, World Cup or no World Cup.
The players are the product, but no matter how good they are, they cannot be in two places at once. As long as they are in their own "Happy Place" that's what should really count. For me, Jack it's your honour. Sorry Frank.
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