So Canada’s Olympic curling qualifying process has come with a couple of teams that we figure we’ll send to the Sochi Russia. It was a fantastic week of curling that produced a few surprises particularly on the men’s side (Koe?? Howard??) though you only have to take a second glance at the field to see that maybe, just maybe we should have expected one or two of the “great” teams to have some difficulty. It was a ridiculous field for anyone to have any thoughts of dominating yet, I think both of our newly minted Team Canada’s did just that. In my opinion, they deserved to win and it’s that concept of “deserving” to win the prompted this particular entry. If you follow my ramblings you’ll recall that I previously stated that “realistically” only a couple of the teams from the “Road to the Roar” really have a shot at winning the Roar itself. Interesting then that the final featured both teams that qualified from the Road to the Roar. It sort of makes you realize that maybe it’s not so easy to pick a sure winner or that I don’t really know what I’m talking about. You choose.
Just prior to the Roar of the Rings, Ontario held it’s Junior Men’s and Women’s regional playdowns. The winners from those events get a chance to compete for the Provincial title and one of them will represent Ontario at Nationals. That’s a big deal. If any of you follow junior curling in Ontario, you’ll be familiar with a number of names that tend to do well at the competitive spiels held in Southern Ontario and typically those are the teams that will end up playing at provincials. This year however, a number of those teams did not qualify for provincials on both the men’s and women’s side. This “upset” (and I use the quotation marks on purpose) caused a lot of discussion about “who deserves” to be at provincials. This discussion got fairly heated and a number of teams and players who made it through to provincials were bashed around a bit because they “didn’t deserve” it.
In my opinion, this is a fairly silly argument. For me, it’s simple. If you won, you won and you deserve your shot. If you lost, I feel badly for you but you lost so no trip to the next round. That’s why we bother playing the games folks. There are always going to be teams that feel that they put in more than others but that only means you’re improving your chances at making that next round, it doesn’t guarantee anything.
Take this view to the Roar of the Rings. Who at that competition didn’t work their butts off to get there? Any of them? Of course not. They all knew what was at stake and they all knew that in order to have a shot they would have to put everything they had into preparing for it. There was a lot of online chatter too after the Roar from many teams that didn’t get through but I have yet to see anything that sounds at all like “they didn’t deserve to win”. Every team in Winnipeg knew that all out preparation was just their ticket to the show. It guaranteed them nothing except entry and that is the potentially devastating part of sport. It’s the fallacy that you actually have control. Any mental prep coach can tell you (right Nicole?) that you CANNOT control outcomes. You might think you can control your shot, until it picks, or until your sweepers over brush it, or until the ice gets soft in your slide path or….get it? You can’t. You can’t control outcomes of shots or games or competitions. You can only control how you approach them and how you deal with the outcomes. A good coach can help you keep various outcomes in perspective by keeping your expectations appropriate and by helping you deal with hard situations.
In my opinion (I say that a lot don’t I?) everyone who competes deserves to win. You put yourself out there and should get some reward for it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Great coaches maintain perspective and don’t judge themselves or their athletes on outcomes.
As a side note, I’m honoured to know people on both our Men’s representatives and Women’s and get all tingly just thinking about those fantastic people getting to go to an Olympic games for Canada. Sochi is going to be a great ride and I’m really looking forward to getting a picture with my friends and their gold medals after it’s all said and done. Go CANADA!!