Saturday, June 18, 2005

CBC On-Line Curling Game

Have any of you tried the CBC on-line curling game? I have spent a little time with it over the past week or two, but not a lot. I'm not very good at it.

It is probably just me, but I find it very difficult to get the rock to go where I want it to go. It is also difficult to get the weight right.

Sort of like real curling in that sense..... 8-)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Ontario Curler Suspended for Two Years;
Fails Drug Test

Joe Frans, the second for Wayne Middaugh's Ontario rink, has been suspended for two years because he tested positive for cocaine use. [h/t to Brian Ferguson for the link; also, see here and here for more coverage]

Joe Frans, 29, ... is the first Canadian to be punished for drug-testing violations in a sport whose athletes are generally thought to consume substances no more illicit than a few post-bonspiel beers.

"I'm totally caught by surprise, 100%," said Middaugh, who has since formed a new team. "We had no clue."

Frans, who won back-to-back Canadian junior championships as a skip, could not be reached for comment last night. He will not be allowed to compete in any events that lead to the Brier or the Olympic Trials over the next two years. He is also permanently ineligible to receive government funding.

What effect does use of cocaine have on someone's curling?

"We wouldn't call curling a high-risk sport," said Joseph de Pencier, director of sport services for the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport.

... "Cocaine is a stimulant, and it is on the list [of banned substances] as a stimulant, but in most cases that we're aware of it tends to be a recreational issue," de Pencier said.
In other words, it is a moral issue imposed by the sport that has nothing to do with cheating or trying to gain a competitive edge in the bonspiels.

While agreeing that curlers are less likely to seek a competitive advantage through banned substances than, for example, sprinters, and that cocaine is less likely to provide such an advantage than a steroid, de Pencier said the doping agency cannot apply standards on a piecemeal basis.

"The list [of banned substances] is the list," he said. "We are obliged to test for the entire list, whatever the individual case may be."

I guess so. But to tell the truth, I don't much care if some curler wants to use cocaine; I don't think it's very smart, but I don't much care.

Query: who will Middaugh select to replace Frans [and McCarel, it turns out]?

Frans, a 29-year-old from Grimsby, Ont., was Middaugh's second as Ontario finished 6-5 in the Brier at Rexall Place.

But he and long-time third Graeme McCarrel were let go in April by Middaugh, who was unaware of Fran's positive urine sample.

How will he replace them? Will various curlers be invited to audition for the team? Or will Middaugh and his remaining team member put together a short list based on their own estimates of player quality? What criteria will they use, implicitly or explicitly?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Jennifer Jones

Not the Jennifer Jones of Howard Hughes fame, who appeared in the wonderful 'Duel in the Sun' (sorry - cynical search for Google hits). Rather the one mentioned in the previous posts, searching for a replacement lead.

There was a short discussion on CBC's 'The Inside Track' today about this situation. The discussion was not very informative, and left out the question of what they will be doing for the Scott Tournament of Hearts next year. (I am looking forward to being there to see.) The great thing is that this radio show makes a record of the show available on the Web - if you go tomorrow or later and follow the obvious links, you should be able to hear. This topic is introduced 20 minutes or so into the show. Mind you, the preceding topic is ice-skating pairs partnerships on and off the ice, as they work and collapse, and is also well worth listening to.