Monday, September 14, 2015

When Did This Become Acceptable?

I did not see the women's final in yesterday's Tour Challenge Grand Slam event but I knew the outcome especially as it unfolded in the game's last end and in particular on the game's last shot. When I returned home to watch a replay of the last end of the game, I was disappointed in what happened after the last stone came to rest. I was prepared to just shake my head but it bothered me all night.

It's not difficult to construct the situation. Team Homan was up one with last stone advantage. Team Tirinzoni was counting two on either side of the eight foot circle. Skip Homan had a reasonably open path to the four foot to draw for the win but choose to play to one of the yellow handled Tirinzoni stones to secure the victory.

Having not seen the game I won't comment on Rachel's tactic of playing to the opposition stone as opposed to the draw (the ice and atmosphere conditions in the building were less than ideal it appeared) but suffice to say that her shot curled more than anticipated, leaving the team from Switzerland counting two and winning the title.

Naturally, given the magnitude of the victory, to say nothing of its attendant monetary reward, including the surprising way it came about, Team Tirinzoni had to be feeling over the moon with elation. But even though the release of emotion tells you to let the feeling out, on the ice, in front of the team that just lost the game (it could be argued that Team Tirinzoni did not win the game, Team Homan lost the game) the right thing to do is to simply shake hands, enjoy a group hug and save the wild celebration for later.

But that does not appear to be the current culture of sport today! The wild celebration that took place on the ice immediately following the last shot seems to be accepted. If that's the case, I now can say I'm officially "old school". That is not OK with me!

It's about respecting one's opponent and how he/she/they might be feeling. I could argue too that it's about class and professionalism. And there's another aspect as well. You might be playing the team you just disrespected down the line. Athletes have long memories. Your rather thoughtless action of today might just provide your opponent with that extra bit of incentive when they next meet you on the ice. That puts your ill-timed celebration into the less than prudent category as well.

Just because standards change, it doesn't mean you have to change with them. The right thing to do will always be available. Make the right choice!