CBC, not 'See-B-see'

DAVE 'CRASH' CAMERON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:51 AM ET

Curling fans hate the CBC. TSN hates curling. Don Wittman has to wear a T-shirt saying "Hey, I only work for them," and Vic Rauter has to cover tenpin bowling.

It's not been pretty.

Who's to blame isn't an easy thing to assess, either. That is, who is completely to blame.

The Canadian Curling Association went with the money, of course. Who wouldn't?

Like asking a lottery winner if they will take the lump sum now or take payments over long-term increments. That's what has come back to bite the CCA.

Maybe the arrangement they had with TSN wasn't fair value for the product, maybe it was. The point is, they had a certain level of exposure established. A certain level of exposure and availability that curling fans had got used to.

CBC first broadcast curling in 1961. They practically invented coverage of the sport. So you had to think it was going to be in good hands. (I'm surprised they didn't come up with a "curling comes home" slogan.) But this is the CBC. They dropped the rock. Spit up the hack.

I've always been a supporter of CBC. They have always been a world-class national and international news organization.

But, I said, NEWS. Apart from Hockey Night in Canada and the Grey Cup, their history in sports is spotty. And until recent years - CBC Radio, excepted - they could barely spell entertainment, let alone produce any.

CBC may have legitimate reasons - production costs - for not showing three draws a day, but by not expecting that people would be choked by that, they stepped right back into their own stereotype: out-of-touch bureaucratic bumblers.

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Some more random curling thoughts:

There is a website called KeepCurlingonTSN that was actually started the moment the contract with CBC was signed. It's kind of an anger management central for disgruntled curling fans, but they could fine-tune their accuracy a little. A "Newspaper Quote of the Day" was credited to the Edmonton Sun, but it was actually a letter to the editor from someone in Calgary.

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Our own Graham Hicks figures curling has to reach out to younger audiences. Neon lights, glow-in-the-dark rocks, Destiny's Child cranked to 11 up to the very second the curler leaves the hack. Worth discussion. Maybe. Maybe not. Sounds like an arctic version of Arena Football to me.

Besides, anyone who has ever participated in a 24-hour bonspiel knows there is already entertainment a plenty.

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I have my own ideas for amping up curling on television.

How about "rock cams?" How about "FoxTracks" on the rocks measuring the speeds? Or if you really want to attract the kids - at least WWE and UFC fans - put hacks at each end and have the curlers release their shots at the same time?

Talk about your "hurry hard!"

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One last thing: If you can place close-microphones on curlers, that means you can also turn the volume down.

PRODUCT PLACEMENT

Over-the-counter "enhancement" drugs for men have been around for some time now. They even get advertised during curling games. And Mark Martin has his NASCAR sponsored by one.

Still, this strikes me as hilarious: There's a new sponsor for the old-timers hockey tour. It's now called the Viagra Legends of Hockey.

BILLY BUCK-AND-A-HALF

Some things are just too weird.

A colleague brought in the Sky Mall magazine after a recent airplane trip and pointed out one of the more bizarre items.

A framed photo of the infamous Bill Buckner bobble of Mookie Wilson's groundball from Game 6 of the 1986 World Series between the Red Sox and the Mets.

And it is - allegedly - signed by both Mookie and Billy Buck!!

What's next? Steve Smith autographs the back of Grant Fuhr's leg? Perry Berezan autographs Smith's stick?

(Although, this week, I did notice in the transactions that the Kansas City Royals have a right-handed pitcher named Billy Buckner in their system. Maybe he's the one with the Sharpie?)

TONYA DUKES IT OUT WITH DAISY

Some things are just way too weird.

Our gal Tonya Harding was supposed to be in the ring again this week. Fighting in Miami. Against a transvestite by the name of Daisy D.

"Daisy D never told me she was a he when we were talking on the phone," promoter Damon Feldman was quoted as saying. "Well, it's close enough. Tonya doesn't mind too much." (Apparently she did, as terrible Tonya refused to come out for the tussle, deemed a 'wrestling' match, since it couldn't be sanctioned as a boxing match.)

That's still not the funny part. A pre-match report on az.com went on to say, "In addition to Harding, Feldman will feature four other pro wrestling matches, including 'a local wrestler who weighs 650 pounds.'

"There will also be a raunchy Paris Hilton look-alike contest, with the winner getting at least $250 in cash, Feldman said.

" 'We're out to give South Florida fight fans a classy night out,' Feldman said."

You can't make this stuff up.


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