Wednesday, February 20, 2008

It ain't easy being a 'Toban

Winnipeg may no longer be the centre of the universe when it comes to hosting big curling events – hard to argue that Edmonton doesn’t hold that honour – but it sure is the epicenter of media coverage for its teams.
I love reading the papers from the Buffalo province during championship time. First, both the Free Press and the Sun give excellent coverage, played up at or near the front. Second, both the curling writers – Paul Wiecek and Jim Bender – are talented and unafraid to be brutally honest. It really gets good when one of their own starts to stumble, which, admittedly, is not often.
So check out this morning’s papers after the bomb of a day by Jennifer Jones and her squad. They lost two games and were horrid.
Here’s Wiecek with a dandy paragraph:
There is no way to sugar-coat this -- Team Manitoba was embarrassed in a way that no one's seen since Barb Spencer bumbled her way to a 4-7 record at the 2003 national women's championship.
But at least Spencer battled in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., that year. For the better part of two straight days now, this Jones team has simply folded from the very first rock.

A couple more:
Jones told the media afterward that she was happy with how her team played after the first end, noting they battled back to make the final score 10-8.
That's a little like extolling the virtues of the swimming lessons that came after the Titanic hit that iceberg.

Here’s Bender, being somewhat kinder but still pointing to the obvious:
The Buffalo gals have not looked like the juggernaut that won everything but the Hearts last year. But they did at least make it to the semifinal. Nor have they looked like the fearsome foursome that was tearing up the cashspiel circuit until they were stopped cold, failing to even qualify for the playoffs at the last women's Grand Slam.
Jones was not dominant at the Manitoba provincials and may still be bugged about the negative reaction to the burned-rock incident in Gimli.

Love it. You wonder how the gals react to this stuff if they even read it? There's nothing like the brutal facts.
Of course it is so strange to see Jones (not to mention Kelly Scott) wallowing with four losses. They may not like it, but it makes for great reading.

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