Blame shouldn't be crutch in curling

JOE PAVIA -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:34 AM ET

There is a hierarchy of missing shots in curling.

It is rare, I know, but say you miss a shot, the first thing wrong was the ice. There's a high spot. Or a low spot. It's dished. All the rocks run to the outside. It's the late draw. The pebble is gone. There's no glide path. The ice is dirty.

Well maybe the rocks are bad. They aren't matched. My rock is a cutter. Perhaps the stone is heavier than the rest.

That guy in the house really cannot call line. He just doesn't know when the rock might curl. He gave me too much ice or not enough ice.

So my front end wasn't using a stopwatch. How do I know what draw weight is? Why did they keep sweeping it? They should have kept sweeping.

This broom is useless. It bends when I deliver. Maybe I need a crutch.

Your curling New Year's resolution is to avoid the hierarchy of blame.

MIXED MESSAGE: You have until Dec. 31 to register team for the OVCA Mixed Bonspiel, Jan. 17-21. There are three divisions: Open for all ages; senior men, 50-plus and senior women, 45-plus; and recreational, where one man and one women have to be new to bonspiels. The entry is $120 per team. Call 1-800-385-6621 to inquire.

NOT SO SPARKLING WHINE: Curling got a boost in the U.S. on Sunday when NBC aired the Korbel Elite Curling Challenge, a matchups between American Pete Fenson and Swede Peja Lindholm. Korbel makes sparkling wine, so this seasonal sponsorship fit in well with the bubbly-buying season. As a promotion for curling, the game fizzled. The playing conditions were atrocious with heavy, straight ice causing plenty of hogged rocks and hit weight draws to compensate for the poor ice.

The game was played on Oct. 26 on a sheet of outdoor ice at New York's Rockefeller Center. Despite the best efforts of renowned icemaker Mark Shurek, the warm temperatures and rain made the surface very much unplayable. Colour announcer Don Duguid attempted to put a brave face on the action, but there was little to describe.

Granted, curling got live coverage on the Today Show in October, but if the non-curling Americans saw this game, they had to wonder how hogged rocks and draws out of the back 12 equated with skilled curling. Perhaps this event needs to be rethought.

CURLING THIS WEEK: Local teams have a good chance of capturing the province in the Pepsi Junior Provincials that begin next Wednesday at the Coldwater & District Curling Club. The Ottawa rinks competing are Rachel Homan, Christian Tolusso, Katie Morrissey and Neil Sinclair. The Homan team is suffering from injuries, but has to be the favourite. Both Tolusso and Sinclair are genuine threats on the men's side. The Scotties Tournament of Hearts regionals start Jan. 4. Expect to see Janet McGhee and Jenn Hanna emerge in Gananoque. At the Navy Club, the men's TSC Stores Tankard regionals will also be under way. Howard Rajala and Damien Villard should advance to the provincials. Zone play for both the Fairfield Marriott Challenge and Best Western Challenge begins Jan. 4.


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