Monday, September 14, 2009

Disappointing turnout for Olson Ossoyoos 2 on 2

Just seven wheelchair users turned out for the Olson Curling Supply Ososyoos 2 on 2 spiel this weekend, and three of them were from out of province.

The team of Darryl Neighbour and Chris Sobkowicz won, but it is a shame that having secured the support of a major curling sponsor, the organizers of the Osoyoos event have been unable to sustain the interest of even local Team Canada members.

The poor attendance is a reflection of the parlous state of wheelchair curling in BC. Despite hosting the coach and four out of five of the national team, and taking the last three national titles, success at the top has not trickled down to inspire grassroots interest.

In the past CurlBC has not seen it in their interest to encourage competitions outside of their immediate selection control. That appeared to change with last year's provincial playdown, but as things stand now, there is unlikely to be a 2010 playdown, for lack of female competitors.

11 comments:

Wayne Ficek said...

It is with disapointment that I read Eric's article concerning the 2 on 2 curling event this past weekend in Osoyoos.
It's negative theme does nothing to assist wheelchair curling in Canada and I ask you Mr. Eales why was the following not mentioned in your article.

Fact - Two members of the 4th place Northern ONTARIO team from Halifax AKA Mark and Chester travelled 2300 KM from Dryden ONtario to compete in this event just for the experience and because they love the game.

I also want to extend congratulations to Chris and Darryl for winning this event. THIS SHOULD NO DOUBT CEMENT CHRIS S. AS THE LEGITIMATE 5TH MEMBER OF TEAM CANADA AND I WILL GO AS FAR AS SAYING IN MY OPINION HE SHOULD IMMEDIATELY BE MADE THE STARTING SECOND ON THIS TEAM. SURELY HIS ALL STAR HONOURS AND HIS WIN THIS WEEKEND HAS TO COUNT FOR SOMETHING???????............THESE ARE TWO OF THE HIGHLIGHTS THAT WERE OVERLOOKED FROM THIS WEEKEND AND DEFINITELY DESERVING OF SOME MENTION??? WAY TO GO ALL OF YOU.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that Chris had a chance last year at the World's. The team didn't start to win until he was replaced. Maybe it was a coincidence...... or a chemistry issue?

Anonymous said...

Wayne you are forgetting that Bruno made the allstar list at the Nationals as well. You can hardly call a two on two event with 7 players a decision maker. Darryl is no slouch when it comes to making shots so I think he may have had something to do with his team winning. You should also check the stats during the worlds. Chris was a bottom runger. I don't think Canada would have won gold or even a medal if Chris had stayed in the line up. Replacing Ina with Chris would be a recipe for disaster IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, can't see Chris with another chance.....Gerry doesn't seem to fit as well.......thus Bruno.......with or without Jim

Anonymous said...

Have to agree that they won't take another chance on Chris....Bruno is just too likely an alternative.

WAYNE FICEK said...

Interesting, I can see I am in the minority as far as who should replace who?
The writer who reminded me that Bruno was an allstar is correct however so was his front end so I am guessing that he got to play some comfortable shots.? I do know from what I have saw of Bruno he is also a good shot, however will adding a new face not disrupt the chemestry of the existing team? Unless the coaches have there minds made up that they are going with 2 females ( which it appears they do) then unless there is an injury we can count on the alternate being a spectator until at least game 3 0r 4.
I think Eric suggested that Canada's schedule is pretty tough the first 3 games so where are we with an 0 - 3 start?
I do know either way Chris or Bruno can step in to do the job?
Its all about Canada winning however I am not privy to the chemistry of the practice squad and if any one knows the inside scoop I would love to hear about it. Chemistry will be important especially if Canada falls behind early.

GO CANADA GO
In solidarity

Wayne

Anonymous said...

Chemistry?

"Coach Rea told me that Chris Sobkowicz, who has struggled at lead, had asked to sit out a game, and that Sonja "was more than happy to play." I like and respect Chris, and know that he has it in him to do what he thinks is in the best interest of the team. But whether or not he jumped before he was pushed, I have to say that the team looked happier with Sonja on the ice. And Sonja had her smile back for the first time this week.

You can see the match commentary below, but Canada shot an incredible 83% team percentage. Sonja shot 90%, Ina 86%, Darryl a mere 77% and Jim 80%, 23 points better than the respectable shooting of his opponent" - Eric during the worlds.

Add a little stick throwing episode and ???

Guess you had to be there.

Anonymous said...

There are pro's and con's to any system and I know there are with a pool system. The biggest positive in a sport were there is a limited number of elite level athletes is the ability to pull from any province to acquire the best available curlers. The biggest challenge is making them a "team". I would suggest the best lead is not necessarily the best hitter, etc. In a pool your core "team" is very much placed in position. The alternate needs to be able to play ANY position. Their normal position of play is not as important as their ability to change their mental approach to their REQUIRED position of play. It is a very different mental approach to setting up an end as opposed to finishing an end. I am sure that the entire program from coaches to psychologists and technical experts will consider all strenghts and weaknesses from each member and put the best 5 curlers they feel are right to accomplish the goal. While we all have our personal interests and alliances, we all need to trust Joe and his support staff to make the decisions they feel are in the best interest of wheelchair curling in Vancouver 2010. I applaud all the athletes who have worked so hard for the chance to represent their country and will be cheering you on whole heartedly, who ever makes the final squad.

A "Canadian" with a vested interest!

Eric Eales said...

The problem with the above comment is that it misunderstands the role and selection of an alternate.

As things stand right now for Team Canada you pick a fifth depending on whether you need a shot maker, or help at skip. You also pick someone who will have the confidence of the rest of the team.

Similarly, if you don't expect to play your fifth except in an emergency, then you pick someone who might be at peace with that role, rather than someone convinced in their own mind that they should be in the starting line-up.

But you don't need a utility player as a fifth, as the coaching staff acknowledged at the 2009 Worlds when they started the event without Sonja Gaudet on the ice.

Anonymous said...

This alternate will need to be able to play ANY position. You do not ever knoe who/what can go wrong so you are right, no utility player. They need to be abvle to play every position PHYSICALLY and prepare to play that position MENTALLY. I belive that Chris struggled PHYSICALLY because he was in the wrong MENTAL state. He is a very accomplished curler and simply does not forget how to deliver a stone.

The potential to replace a person in wheelchair curling is significantly higher than able body for many more reasons. The selection of our 5th member will be critical to the success of the team whether they play a game or not.

I fully understand the difference between a fully competent alternate and look forward to the day when this person is utilized for their skills and not taken to the event "in case they are required". This however gets into a strategy discussion and this particular thread is not the place for that discussion.

Anonymous said...

I think that everything turns on Jim regarding the role of the fifth player.

Assuming Jim is healthy, there is NO need to deal with a strategist at all, and the fifth sould be a shooter.

If Jim is not ready, then we certainly need someone to help Darryl withe the headaches and pressure of skipping. Remember, before Jim, Team Canada was a rudderless ship, with players platooning in and out of skip position to atempt to make something work.

Good luck to Jim for the benefit of the Team and Program.