Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mixed Doubles 'Trials' misses the mark

As discussed earlier, the Canadian Curling Association announced the creation of a national mixed doubles competition to determine this country’s rep for the world championship.

Except it’s not calling it a championship. Instead it’s the Mixed Doubles Trials. I’m not sure if that means trials as in trial run or if it means trials as in Olympic curling trials.

Whatever, it sounds just a wee bit pretentious and only adds to the silliness of mixed doubles.

And to add to the silliness, this Canadian Press story byDonna Spencer quotes CCA head honcho Greg Stremlaw as referring to the Canadian Mixed as the “Canadian mixed fours.”
Mixed fours? Really? Is this where we're going now? 

The reason for creating this national championship was to allow a proper mixed doubles team to advance to the world championships. This year, the worlds are being held in Fredericton, April 13-20. Previously, two members of the Canadian mixed champs went on to the doubles competition and it was always tough to decide which two. But it should be noted that whichever team wins the Canadian mixed will get two spots in the Canadian mixed doubles, splitting the team in two.

Those two entries will be part of a 32-team competition at the national finals and this is where it gets even more odd. There will be one representative from each province and territory (14) and then 16 open invitations being decided by the Canadian Team Ranking System. No residency rule will be in place.

So potentially Cheryl Bernard could team up with Wayne Middaugh and likely get an entry. Not because they’ve ever played mixed doubles before but because the regular (i.e. four-person) teams they play on have fared well over the last few years.

So you create a national championship because you have difficulty with two members of a four-player team being chosen to represent the country, and then half your field is selected based on play in four-person team competition.

You're trying to legitimize a new format to get it into the Olympics, and then you treat the national qualifier like some half-assed Friday night mixed league. 

Sorry but this is messed up. Either establish a mixed doubles competition or don’t. A half-way, part-qualifier, part-invitational, party-mixed-double, part-not isn’t the way to go. This system is ridiculous and seems to indicate a lack of serious intent to the format.

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