Monday, February 21, 2011

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do?

What is the real story about what happened with Team Canada? The announcers during the 2011 Scott Tournament of Hearts tell us that Cathy Overton-Clapham was cut or was fired. As of this writing, Wikipaedia says it was a team decision:
... the team decided to part ways with third Cathy Overton-Clapham, replacing her with the younger Kaitlyn Lawes in time for the 2010/2011 curling season.
Apparently, Cathy-O was surprised... sort of...
Clapham said in a recent interview that she was blindsided by the team and the team could not look in her eyes to tell her so she knew something similar to this was being stirred up.
I'm not sure what "something similar to this" means (gotta hate those indefinite antecedents!) and there is no reference provided for that statement. According to other reports, Jones wanted to have a younger team (Cathy-O is 41; her replacement, Kaitlyn Lawes, is 22). But that seems like a red herring; I would think that for Jones, performance is much more important than age. I can also imagine, though, that control issues might have been important.

It seemed to me over the past couple of years that the Jennifer Jones - Cathy-O partnership was becoming strained. Cathy-O seemed to disagree more vocally with some of the decisions of Jones, thought the clash (to the extent it existed) was subtle and restrained. I certainly wasn't sure I saw it.

Ms. Eclectic and I have talked about this situation quite a bit over the past couple of days while watching the Scott. She thinks Jones was impolitic at best if indeed Cathy-O was blind-sided. I tend to agree with her, but I'm not sure just what to believe, since Cathy-O's behaviour while on the Jones team seemed less-than-ideal, too.

No matter how you come down on this topic, though, keep in mind that changing team members is something that happens all the time. For example, Kleibrink has a completely new front end after their Olympic appearance of 2006. Kelly Scott has a new lead from her championship team of 2006. Similarly, there have been changes on such men's teams as Martin, Ferbey, Gushue, et al. I expect other teams have gone through similar changes, and when you look at the list of Jones' team members over the years, it doesn't look as if she changes members on a whim:

2008–09 Jennifer Jones Cathy Overton-Clapham Jill Officer Dawn Askin
2009–10 Jennifer Jones Cathy Overton-Clapham Jill Officer Dawn Askin
2010-11 Jennifer Jones Kaitlyn Lawes Jill Officer Dawn Askin

Early on, there were some questions raised in curling circles about their dropping Cathy Gauthier at the end of the 2005 season, and then the removal of Dana Allerton in the middle of the 2006-7 season.

Is it something about Jones that makes these team changes that arouses such media interest (including ours), or it news because she is the skip of Team Canada? I suspect a bit of both.



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