Miracle at Mile One a classic

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:32 AM ET

Say what you will about the sport of curling. It can be boring.

It can be slow.

It can be difficult for a casual fan, say, someone used to watching hockey, to develop a taste for.

But it's one thing that most other sports are not, and that's pure.

For the most part it is an amateur game, where Joe and Joanne Average start out competing in their own local clubs and could go all the way to the Olympics or the world championship.

CHASING THEIR DREAMS

When events happen as they did last Sunday on The Rock, it can capture the imagination.

There they were, four women from Manitoba, taking holidays from their lives to chase a dream, playing for a national championship in front of nearly a million TV viewers.

Where else can you see that?

There were no pouty millionaires on the ice, no high-priced agents waiting in the wings. There was no talk of lockouts or steroids or brawling in the stands.

Just a bunch of women chasing glory, wearing their provincial colours proudly on their backs, creating memories for a lifetime just by being there.

And then doing something to make it all unforgettable.

The Jennifer Jones shot to win the national championship takes an immediate place in Manitoba sports lore, along with such notables as the Dave Ellett overtime goal in 1990, Kerry Burtnyk's crowning moments in 1981 (Brier) and 1995 (world championship) and Mike Gray's interception to seal the 1988 Grey Cup for the Bombers.

The pure elation expressed by the Manitoba players after Jones made the shot was enough to send shivers down the spine of even the most ardent curling hater.

It was almost enough to make people forget about hockey, just for awhile.

CONUNDRUM: The offer this week from a Wall Street firm to buy all 30 NHL teams for $3.5 billion was intriguing. Can't for the life of me understand why anyone would make that offer to a league that is in such a financial mess it cancelled its entire season. But the reaction of the NHL owners was interesting. A resounding no. If things are so bad for them that they can't survive without a highly restrictive salary cap, wouldn't they want to take the cash and run if they get the chance? ... It's a momentous day in Hit Parade history. We agree with Don Cherry. NHL players who took jobs in Europe have no right to complain if the NHL hires replacement players ... Here's a good one for you. A Montreal newspaper sent a reporter to cover the Washington Nationals spring training in Florida. Did they even go when the team was still in Montreal?

I'S THE B'Y: Thanks to all the e-mailers who offered up definitions for the Newfie expressions that this obvious CFA (comes from away) wrote about earlier this week. Best guess now is "Long may your big jib draw" is a good wish for the future similar to "May the wind always be in your sails." ... My esteemed colleague Paul Friesen already said it yesterday, but we must comment again on the curling TV deal. Let it be noted that the CBC didn't have to do squat when it came to fixing the contracted agreement with the CCA, and they still came up with three more main-network draws for the Brier. It might seem like too little to many fans, but remember, the CBC is simply fulfilling a deal that the CCA accepted. They are under no obligation to change it. Then again, if only 17,000 people watch the games on Country Canada, it's obviously in their best interests. Now, if we can only stay with the games until the end ... I was pretty sure Jennifer Jones' Miracle at Mile One last week was one of the greatest shots ever played in curling until I saw Global's knee-sliding sports anchor Russ Hobson do it in only eight tries -- without sweeping -- the other night. Dave (Mr. Sunday) Bastl did it in six tries.


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