Sunday, October 30, 2011

Who's a club curler?

The Ontario rep for the Dominion championship was declared over the weekend and it’s a name you might recognize – Greg Balsdon, the same guy who lost the Ontario men’s final to Glenn Howard last February.

Understandably, that’s created some uproar. How can a guy get to the Ontario final and still play in the Dominion, a competition that’s supposed to be for the club curler?

The answer might be contained in a post on by one of the players on Balsdon’s team, Jordon Keon. He points out that the team easily meets the rules of the competition which state that no more than one player on the team can have been to a provincial final or played in a Grand Slam in the last four years. Yes, Balsdon plays at a higher level but the other three are club curlers, albeit very good club curlers. They also won the Energizer, the big city of Toronto event for club curlers.

But as Keon points out, a year earlier, the same team lost out early on in the zone playdown (we happened to be one of the teams that beat them). I was in the zone playdowns again this year and I heard some grumbling from other players in the playdowns about Balsdon being there (actually Sunday morning he was only half there -- he slept in and missed the first few ends of his game!). One chap suggested that Balsdon should “know better” and should never have entered. Hmmmm. I think there was a full vine of sour grapes in the Granite Club by Sunday for some folks.

But it’s hard to fault him (or any of the other competitive players who entered; Balsdon wasn’t the only notable competitive curler in the event in Ontario) when his team meets the qualifications. I had no problem with them being there.

So really, if there’s an issue here, it’s in the Dominion’s definition of a club curler as Keon also points out. I don’t know how you make a rule that clearly defines the difference between a club curler and an elite curler as long as a player such as Balsdon plays in a club. Do you want to rule out every competitive curler instead of making an allowance for one? That might be the only alternative.

For now, some people really need to relax. It’s just a game. Balsdon met the rules of the competition, he and his team won the playdown. Good luck to Team Balsdon at the Canadian final. 

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