Thursday, March 13, 2008

Notes From The Brier - Of Haves And Have-Nots

One of the things that I have noticed at the Winnipeg Brier this week (other than the incredibly long lines at Tim Hortons) is that despite there being 12 teams at the Brier (one from each province, Northern Ontario (a men's curling quirk - the women's championship invites back Team Canada, the defending champions), and the Yukon/Northwest Territories), there is in reality only 3 or 4 with even a reasonable shot at actually winning the title. Curling, like most sports is extremely expensive and time-consuming if you want to be the best, and this year the best include teams from Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, British Columbia, and Newfoundland & Labrador. Of these, the champion will probably be one of either Alberta or Ontario - and both of these rinks are effectively professional curlers who have dedicated the time, money and effort to become the best in the world.

With the top teams, curling becomes a game of inches - with the others a game of feet - there is no comparison. If curling is to maintain itself as a sport, it must find a way to level the playing field so that everyone who gets to the Brier has an opportunity to be successful, or after a while the have-nots will get tired of being cannon-fodder and the Brier will suffer...

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