In case you were wondering... no, the headline has nothing to do with the photo.
The photo is of Japanese Olympic second Mari Motohashi – we love saying that name really fast – and yes, her team and her sport are still in the news over there (snide writer comments aside). 10 million TV eyeballs for one game, followed by another 20 million for the next, will do that for a girl. NOTE: if anyone can help translate some of the magazine cover text – apologies for the small font size – we would, of course, salute you verily.
In North America, the Japanese team is a part of a CurlingZone online discussion concerning the subjective female team rankings by The Curling News... which were also discussed, incidentally, on the men's side. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts... either here or at CZ, where registration is also n/c.
Oh yes, the headline.
The 2006 Paralympic Winter Games start this weekend, with wheelchair curling up to bat on Sunday. Canadian Team Leader Wendy Morgan has been e-mailing some thoughts, and here's one anecdote to start us off...
One of our players, Chris Daw, has a severe allergy to bananas. I was witness to one attack he had when we travelled to Prague, when we entered a restaurant with bananas on the table. It is funny because they have fresh fruit – including bananas on every table in the village cafeteria – so we quickly had them declare two tables 'banana free'.
Anyway, today at the practice facility in Pinerolo they had bananas sitting on the refreshment table – I had spoken to Lisa (competition manager Lisa Schoeneberg) yesterday and she agreed to have them removed – however they somehow reapppeared again today... so a half-hour into our practice Chris was in trouble. Trevor (Equipment Manager Trevor Kerr) ran to get his pills, and I stayed with Chris, and the medical personnel on site sent for the doctor – it sounds hard to believe that someone can be so allergic without touching or eating the banana – but someone had eaten one in the morning and put it in the wastebasket on the ice.
When the doctor arrived I encouraged him to go and speak to Chris, so that finally they would understand the severity of the allergy... well they know now, and the venue is now 'banana free'.
This story, of course, could happen to anyone, able-bodied or otherwise. Morgan also reports on some typical paralympic issues – problems with transport, the gravelly roadways leading to the venue etc. – and we look forward to passing along selected thoughts and impressions as official Paralympic wheelchair curling gets underway. In the meantime, here's a U.S. story on one of their wheelchair curlers... Jimmy Jam certainly appears to be quite the character!
• It's rare to see a rookie curling article appear in a Canadian paper, but here ya go;
• Deadspin continues their curling obsession, now that they've discovered the puppies...
• It's old news in Canada now, but their Olympic gold medal curlers will all have streets named after them;
• This U.S. music writer, who harmlessly labels curling “perplexing”, thinks his country is – win or lose – rather “sullen and spoiled”... any thoughts on that one?