1 A familiar name — and one of the nicest ladies in Manitoba curling — will be back at the women’s provincials this winter.
Karen Porritt, a two-time Canadian mixed champion and a Manitoba women’s champion with Jennifer Jones in 2002, won her zone playdown at Fort Garry Curling Club Sunday morning to qualify for the 2009 Manitoba Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Neepawa in February.
So exactly how many provincial appearances is this for Porritt? "I have no idea," she said Sunday. Suffice to say, it’s a lot.
Porritt is 46 and failed to qualify for the last two provincial Scotties, but she thinks her team this year — Janice Blair, Susan Baleja and Alison Harvey — has a legitimate shot to win.
"We definitely have the shots to do it," says Porritt, "it’s just a question of consistency."
2 The other three city zone winners Sunday were Janet Harvey, Holly Scott and Angela Wickman. Barb Spencer won her two-team city zone earlier in the weekend.
Harvey’s win was noteworthy. She was thrashed 8-2 by Elmwood’s Tracy Konzelman in the B-final Sunday morning, but came out in the afternoon rematch and hung a five up on Konzelman en route to a 10-4 win in the A-B final.
3 There was probably no one more disappointed yesterday than former provincial junior runner-up Kaileigh Strath.
The 21-year-old skip was once again the bridesmaid on Sunday, falling 8-2 to Rossmere’s Wickman in their A-B final.
Strath vows to fight on, however, saying she’ll compete for the last berth remaining into the 16-team Scotties at the MCA Women’s Bonspiel next month. "It’s the harder way to go," Strath said, "but it’s the way we’re going."
4 This just in — yet another American doofus doesn’t think curling is a sport.
Writing on the widely-read CBS website, www.sportsline.com, producer Gregory Urbano declares that curling — alongside such widely divergent activities as NASCAR, chess, competitive eating and mountain climbing — are all not sports.
Urbano argues that offence and defence are what makes a team sport different from a group competition and he says that curling fails that test because defence is played through offence.
And then he adds this gem: "Until someone tears an ACL making a defensive stop in curling, we’ll keep it on the non-sports list."
See you at the Olympics, clown.
5 Speaking of curling at the Olympics, you’d better bring a very fat wallet if you’re planning to take it in at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
Tickets for round-robin draws are $65. You heard me — $65. The semifinals will cost you a C-note and the gold medal games are going for a cool $125 a pop.
You can get all the ticket information you will need at www.vancouver2010.com. You can get all the money you’ll need by knocking off a couple of banks.
6 The new MCA executive director, Shane Ray, will take your questions when he appears on CFRW’s RockTalk tonight at 7 p.m. You can e-mail your questions today at: email@example.com.
Ray has the good fortune of following my performance on RockTalk last week during which — in a hopeless attempt to appear intelligent — I dropped the word "epochal." Host Resby Coutts laughed at me so hard I was actually convinced it wasn’t a word until I came home and looked it up: ‘Epochal — extremely important, significant or influential. Origin — 1675-85."
You’d think Resby would know a word that was invented in the same century he was born.
7 My favourite curling mathematician, Kevin Palmer, has another fascinating post this week on curlingzone.com.
Palmer concludes, using math I cannot begin to explain, that his statistical analysis of provincial, national, international and cash tour events found that women either do a poorer job of holding a lead or a better job of coming back from a deficit — depending on your perspective — than men’s curlers do.
After 11 years at this job, I can report with certainty that women’s curlers also smell a lot nicer than men’s curlers. Trust me.
8 And finally this morning, a little something on old-time pond curling from the great Robert Burns to warm your frigid bones:
The sun had clos’d the winter day,
The curlers quat their roaring play,
When winter muffles up his cloak,
And binds the mire like a rock,
Then to the loch the curlers flock.
Robert Burns, Tom Samson’s Elegy