So it's come to this, says Al Cameron.
Team Randy Ferbey is reduced to receiving pity from their fellow competitors, amid hoots and catcalls from the crowd at the Metro Centre.
Jeff Stoughton said two things yesterday... We want him to get four losses and get rid of him, which could happen this morning, and possibly live on CurlTV, and he also said this:
For some reason Canadians seem to hate a winner. The poor guy, he's out trying his best and people are cheering misses. I think that's pretty ignorant and rude of the crowd to do that to a true champion that's out there.
I don't know why. It seems the Canadian mentality is that they don't seem to love their winners and these guys are certainly big winners.
I think the crowd should be a little more respectful. If a team misses a shot, let the end pass, then cheer your hearts out. But when guys are missing and they're cheering those misses, it is very disappointing as a player to see that happening, especially to such a great team.
How strange to hear this, just four years after the war of words that pitted "Slammers" like Stoughton, Martin and Middaugh versus "sellouts" like Ferbey, Russ Howard and Morris. As for the Met Centre fans, you'd think the war between the athletes and their national governing body was still ongoing, and they were choosing sides. And not the side which the majority of curling fans seemed to be on, all those years ago.
Just last February at the STOH in St. John's, fans were cheering misses – but not booing players, it should be said – and for that they received a public earful from the host skip, Heather Strong. To which the sports editor of the hometown St. John's Telegraph wrote that fans should be allowed to do whatever they want. The logic was that it's part of the show, and a show the fans have paid for.
Russ Howard: I predicted carnage here. I just didn't think it would happen to Randy. And not this quickly. You don't expect to see somebody like that 1-3. But you wouldn't expect us to be 4-0. You wouldn't have bet on that either.
There's carnage piling up on the women's side of the Trials, too, and also overseas, where a public furor is starting to brew over the controversial selection process for the U.K. Olympic teams.
2002 Olympic gold medallist Rhona Martin will skip Scotland's entry in this weekend's European Championships, with two other skips on the team as well. And it seems The Scottish Curler, another fabled tome similar to The Curling News, conducted a recent competitor poll and only 9 per cent of 77 athlete supported the selection process, with 86 per cent having reservations and 19 per cent fully believing it's a "recipe for disaster". In addition, an anonymous "but disturbingly well-informed" letter was published in the mainstream Herald, quoting data compiled on the women's candidates that shows 2002 world champion skip Jackie Lockhart ranked lower than some athletes who were passed over for the Euro team announcement. Here's a second piece on the controversy, which could get ugly.
Still with the international scene, we'll finish with something good and something baffling. On the plus side, a nice Reuters feature on the U.S. women's team was moved yesterday, and you can bet US Curling will be watching for national pickup, to go along with this weekend's broadcast of the ICE show on NBC, which features curling. Meanwhile, Japan has announced their Olympic team, which includes five curlers... but so far, we don't know who they are.