Monday, February 27, 2012

On Booing Jones

There’s a wonderful piece by Paul Wiecek in the Freep today about the seeming legions of Jennifer Jones haters. For some reason, Jones has become Enemy No. 1 with many curling fans who show their displeasure by booing her, posting harsh comments in places such as and lashing out notes on newspaper web sites.

For the life of me, I’ve never understood this.

Yes, Jones along with Dawn Askin and Jill Officer (It wasn’t JUST Jones who made this decision) decided to part ways with Cathy Overton-Clapham after a successful season. They had an eye on the future and decided on this move.

In any other sport, this would have been an accepted as part of the business. You make changes in hopes of getting better (hence the rabid appeal on days such as today, Trade Deadline Day). They aren’t always popular but they are done. But in curling, for some reason, everyone is expected to play nice. It doesn’t matter if you lose, win or tie – you just stay with the team.

That doesn’t mean that Cathy O doesn’t have a right to be upset or hold a grudge – it’s easy to see her side of things – or that folks can’t like and dislike whomever they want. It’s just that to put a black hat on Jones and continually stab her, to me, just doesn’t make sense. If the Cathy O dumping is the only reason people dislike Jones, isn’t it time to get over it?

Jones is an immensely private person but I got to know her well during the 2010 Olympics when she sat beside me on the media bench. She was working for and spending 13 days and 14 hours a day beside someone gives you some insight into their make up.

Last year, in preparation for the Scotties, I did a lengthy interview with her and shortly after that, she called me and asked if there was one topic we discussed in passing that could be left out of the story. 
Because it wasn’t really relevant to anything I was writing about, I agreed. During the course of the week at the Scotties, she thanked me and confided in me several times about a few things, and I came to see how tough it was for her to be on the receiving end of the harsh comments and the boos that rained down at the Charlottetown Civic Centre, especially during the game against Manitoba and in the final.

If this was a professional team and you’d paid good money to come and see it play (i.e. the Leafs or Habs), then boo all you want. But these people are just regular folks who work jobs and curl for fun and a little bit of spending money.

And really. . . booing in curling?

This year, although I wasn’t there, it seems some took delight in watching the Jones team crumble
Jones, to me, is an exceptional individual, someone who has managed to combine a career with curling. Not many people – male or female – have done that at the level she’s at career-wise. She also does a lot to give back to the sport, hosting clinics, signing autographs, talking with young players.

Perhaps this is the price that has to be paid for curling moving into bigger arenas and the athletes becoming bigger celebrities. I just have a hard time understanding people’s rationale for this harsh and mean-spirited action against someone as talented and good-natured as ones. 


Carolyn said...

Well Bob..suck it up.. many many people will NEVER get back on Jones bandwagon. For a trained Lawyer she should have learned by 37 yrs old how to communicate with others and in particular her team mates she still has NOT learned by the fact she was unable build up Kaitlyn's broken confidence at this year's Scotties. The other thing is that Jones kept pretending that all was well and that she was Cathy's friend..she should have had balls and some Human compassion for firing a "friend" like that and could easily have privately talked to her..she didnt and will NEVER get people back on her side..she sure has you wound around her finger!

Anonymous said...

I have the utmost respect for the Jennifer Jones team as curlers. I won;t pretend to know them as people and cannot comment on their treatment of their former third. What I can say is I will cheer against them for their involvement with Monsanto as a sponsor. The CCA obviously is also in bed with Monsanto. Curlers, do your research about this dangerous company. Yes we need sponsors, but there is no dirtier money than Monsanto money.

Carolyn said...

PS ..Bob.. what is extra infuriating is the fact that you , who is supposedly so posting this Column right after Team Alberta just won the Canadian title.
Why arent you writing about this instead of this Boooing issue a YEAR after it happened in PEI?
Nobody, not even you using your journalistic privilege will ever change people's Minds about Jennifer Jones.

Get your head out of your Arse about issues that true curling people dont even want to discuss anymore

Watch some really great Curling being hosted by Canada in Lethbridge..maybe then your column might just be worth reading!

jmm said...

Well Bob, I seem to recall some less than flattering words written by you concerning JJ and company in the past.

To paraphrase a recent post, you guys in the media like fanning the flames but when the fire gets out of control you are suddenly shocked and appalled.

Jeff G. said...

Excellent piece Bob...

It's too bad a select handful of so-called curling fans choose to resort to personal attacks and disrespect to Jen and her team for something they know absolutely nothing about. I agree it's their own choice to like or dislike Jen and team, however, it is absolutely disgusting and shameful in the manner they do it. Jen is and has been the greatest ambassador for this sport and deserves nothing short of complete respect for what she has done. She is an athlete and is passionate about her sport. On top of that, she dedicates unbelievable amounts of her own time to women's curling and its future prospects - the kids.

So to those of you who *think* you have the right to attack the character of the members of this team or any other team for making decisions with the big picture in mind, give your heads a shake. You do NOT have that right - nobody does. Agree or disagree with what the team has done but leave the personal trash out. It has no place here. Stop running this sport into the ground because that is exactly what you are doing. You make it impossible for teams to make competitive decisions. Keep it up and eventually this cometitive sport will turn into nothing more than beer league hockey.

Anonymous said...

she should use blush for 'her makeup'

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