Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rock Report III

ST. JOHN’S – Krista McCarville versus Amber Holland was not the women’s final that betting sorts would have put their money on. With a national broadcast on CBC, I think it’s good for the sport – it won’t feel like a rehash of the Scotties. Casual fans may know McCarville from her Scotties appearances in the past but Holland will be an unknown for most viewers.

Team McCarville has looked very good, building comfortable leads in many games. Team Holland has had the more typical run, winning the close ones. The logical pick would be McCarville but perhaps the nail-biters will have steeled Holland (Insight Sports photo by Anil Mungal) for the gut check that is the final.

The best sports moments occur when the gulf between winning and losing is vast. Here’s why this game isn’t just another cashspiel final.

We’ll start with the lesser differences between seeing your name engraved on the trophy and getting a candy dish:

Winner gets $25,000. Loser gets $16,000. Personally, I sort of wish that difference was greater. (Remember, I’m the guy who thinks the Capital One Grand Slam Series should have just one event that is winner-take-all.) Still, who wants to leave nine grand on the table?

The winner gets 40 CTRS points; the loser gets 30. I guess 10 points is 10 points.

And the big difference:

The winner gets an automatic berth in the Canada’s Olympic Curling Pre-Trials event. The loser does not. For these two teams, who aren’t a lock to get in otherwise, this is huge.

Clearly, it’s not just another cash spiel final to wind up the season. As I watch the teams jog on the spot and do jumping jacks behind their sheet – why do the women so relish the calisthenics while the men completely eschew them? – I wonder if they’re doing any tallies in their heads.

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