Sunday, May 22, 2005

Will the World Curling Tour
Ever Replace the Brier?

The World Curling Tour offers A LOT of prize money. It is a very attractive option for many of the rinks. As an example,

WINNIPEG, Man. -- The Ultima World Curling Tour and BDO Dunwoody LLP have announced the return of Grand Slam curling to Winnipeg’s MTS Centre.

The BDO Curling Classic takes to the ice January 26-29 and will feature the top high-performance men’s teams in the world battling for a $100,000 prize purse. It is widely expected the field will include the 2006 Canadian Men’s Olympic Team, which will compete at the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, in February.

The bulk of the three-pool field will be based on the World Curling Players’ Association (WCPA) World Rankings as of December 31, 2005.
It seems that the World Curling Tour is attracting increasing interest, both on television and among some of the top Canadian curlers.

My expectation (and hope), however, is that the WCT will not go head-to-head with the Brier (though if it did, I can readily imagine that the WCT might win). Rather, we are more likely to see a series of different tournaments evolve, as has happened in tennis. If so, then one rink could win several different "majors" throughout the curling season. Increasingly we are likely to see top curlers take long leaves of absence from their "day" jobs to curl in the big money tournaments. And eventually we might see more head-to-head matches between the top rinks of the world.

At any rate, as I said, I hope this is the direction that different tournaments continue to pursue in the future: more television, more money for the curlers, and more tournaments for curling fans to watch on television.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Jones finds a lead for the Olympic trials

Thanks to TSN for the news:

Defending Canadian champion Jennifer Jones is adding some Olympic depth as she prepares for the December curling trials in Halifax.

The team announced Tuesday that Olympic bronze medallist and two-time world champion Georgina Wheatcroft will join the Scott Tournament of Hearts champions as lead.

Apparently Wheatcroft applied for the job and there was an interview process.
Very systematic, it seems.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

New Zealand

John and I apologize for how slow things are here right now but it is hard to find curling news and excitement.
On the other hand, I can continue working through the Olympic Qualifying Teams, as promised.
Today is the turn of New Zealand.
And here is the team, as announced here:

NEW ZEALAND TEAM AT 2005 WORLD CURLING CHAMPIONSHIPS (Name, age, hometown, playing position)

Sean Becker, 29, Patearoa, skip
Hans Frauenlob, 44, North Shore City, third
Dan Mustapic, 44, Dunedin, second
Lorne DePape, 49, Te Awamutu, lead
Warren Dobson, 25, Naseby, alternate
Peter Becker, coach

I wish this had been available somehow from the New Zealand Curling Association Website. If someone can figure out how to navigate past this front page here I would be very grateful.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Jennifer Jones loses her lead and invites us to pose some sticky questions

Hat tip to an anonymous reader (yes, we actually have readers!) for pointing out this article , documenting Kathy Gauthier's departure from Jennifer Jones' team. A different sort of blog might speculate on other issues around this news story, but our very sophisticated reader poses some fascinating questions, varying from the technical to the profoundly philosophical.
His first question is somewhat procedural, but brilliantly works its way into the nooks and crannies of the rule-making process.
1. For the Scott, she needs somebody from her own province (whatever that means) -- or does she? Since she can compete as "Team Canada" does that mean that she can pick from anywhere? And what about the Olympic trials?
Now I promise to try to find all these rules but would be happy for a commenter to answer.

His next question flits between profound ethical concerns, contract law, and the pragmatic problems of leadership.
2. Can she poach a lead from another qualified team? Do these players have contracts? If they operate on loyalty, how far down will Jones have to go to find a replacement player?
Again I am not sure what the rules are. Comments?

His final question delves into the philosophy of identity. What, exactly, IS "the Jennifer Jones team"?
3. The Jennifer Jones team has qualified for the Olympic trials. How many players could she lose/substitute before the team would lose that status?
It reminds me of the claim that each of us is now a different collection of cells from what we were at some time in the past. So why do we feel we are the same creature that we were back then? Hmm - because there is no completely reductionist definition of what I think I am. Or at least I am not just the set of cells that form my body. But what about her team?

Now that there is no curling to watch on television, and there are fewer places to play (for those who do), I am very pleased this blog has weighty issues to address.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Kaercher as a verb

Curling fans in Canada are highly aware of Kaercher (spelled Karcher, sometimes with a stylized umlaut symbol). They manufacture the brushes now widely in use in the sport. This must be a very interesting niche market for a large multinational that specializes in cleaning equipment. I had first heard of them through curling. And the brushes do clean the ice.
In my spare moments right now I have been reading detective novels in German (trying to improve my comprehension, and I love detective novels). One of my recent favourite authors has been the Austrian Wolf Haas, and recently I have been reading his wonderfully entertaining Komm, suesser Tod, Imagine my shock this morning when I stumbled across this passage, and I translate to a point : " What I would really like, with the whole bunch of them, would be to use the new Raab-Kaercher-High-Pressure-Hose to Kaercher them all away (hinauskaerchern)".
At first I thought this amazing. And I was delighted to have my foreign detective novel and curling enthusiasms collide. And then I recalled living a year in the UK and having people Hoovering their homes.
I still feel good about the collision of enthusiasms.