Sunday, February 24, 2008

2008 Scotties and the CBC

As often is the case, the games BEFORE the big game are often the better ones. We've seen that many times in the Grey Cup, the Brier, and in the Scotties. This afternoon's final was a good game, but not one of the best.

Congratulations to Manitoba on their win today! They will do Canada proud at the Worlds in March.

The CBC crew did much better today than yesterday, but there is still a way to go. Joan bailed Mike out a few times, when he said such stupid things as "Jennifer Jones would like to...." while Alberta was still playing its rock. He had no idea what Jennifer Jones would like to do; he had his personal opinion about what HE would do, but that is not what Jennifer Jones might do. Joan was gentle enough to say that there was an alternative to what Harris was saying, and on occasion, he even grudgingly acknowledged it. There's an old saying, "There's more than one way to skin a cat." Harris would do well to consider this, as an analyst, and maybe even as a skip. Thinking outside the box is a creative way to solve problems.

Analysts who listen to the tape after a game often catch such repetitions as "a huge error," or "a critical mistake," or "a big mistake." Viewers can see these mistakes; if I had to guess, I'd say that anyone watching the Scotties final is someone who knows the game, knows a lot of strategy, and probably has played the game. So they don't have to be told, repeatedly, that something is a "huge mistake." Remember when Harris told us that "this is going to be heavy and wide"? Good grief. Everyoone watching could see that. Telling the viewers the obvious is pretty new-analyst behaviour. Better say nothing, than to report the obvious.

Joan was far more objective in her analysis of the final than was Harris. She deserves a lot of credit for the overall quality of the content.

The telestrater didn't work most of the 2 days of games, so fortunately Harris didn't use it much. The sound in the interviews was out of sync with the talking heads; quite distracting to viewers.

Most viewers would tell the CBC, and TSN, not to talk when the athletes are discussing strategy. That's what we are interested in hearing, not the ideas of the analysist (at least not while the athletes are reviewing their options). And, at the end of any game, trying to talk over the cheering and the tears isn't a good idea. Let the game and the camera, tell the story.

The CBC opted not to give us any shots of the Alberta team. The tears are part of the game. This really is censorship, not just being kind. Perhaps in the moments after the loss, that's fair, but not one shot of the team during the lead up to trophy presentation? The question is where to draw the line. For my money, the CBC drew it way too far away; the reaction of the Alberta team is part of the game, part of the telecast.

It was and is a tremendous loss for Alberta, and no doubt Kleibrink will assume all the load. Yes, she missed her shot, but had others made theirs along the way, it might not have come down to that. Much was riding on this game, for both teams.

In the final analysis, it has been a long week for the last few teams standing. Nixon looked tired today. No doubt that ALL of them are exhausted. Anyone who says that curling isn't a sport, should just spend the week watching this competition. Or the Brier. These weeks require the lighest levels of physical fitness and mental preparation. I hear this in coaching courses I facilitate: "curling and bowling aren't sports because you don't have to be in any kind of shape to do them." Well, the reason people on the street don't do gymnastics or synchro is because they aren't well trained and in good enough shape to do them. And they certainly aren't in the sort of shape that theese athletes are in.

Curling is a great sport, probably the best spectator sport going. It's great to have so much on TV, and to have some of the finest teams in the world in Canada.

We're looking forward to the Brier coming up early next month; let's hope the two TV networks spend some time evaluating their work on the Scotties.


SC said...

I have to say, I couldn't disagree with you more on this one. I frankly believe that Mike Harris brings a refreshing view to the curling commentating table - he says what most avid curling fans are thinking, and I love that about him. I would take him anyday over Linda and Ray.

On Saturday's final, perhaps he was favouring Ontario as he is from Ontario, just as Joan favours Saskatchewan, Ray favours Manitoba, and Linda and BC.

I was personally laughing when Mike said 'HUGE MISTAKE' three times in Saturday's telecast. He definitely drives the point home, and its entertaining to me, rather than annoying.

The great thing about Mike Harris, is Joan McCuskor. She balances out the equasion with her more optimistic views on the game -which is why the two of them work well together as a team.

I definitely prefer Mike and Joan over Linda and Ray from TSN - talk about a snore fest. If Vic Rauter could be teamed up with Mike and Joan, we may have a way to fill the void of the late DW.

Anonymous said...

UR said...

I agree with your comments about not showing more of the reaction of the Alberta team. Missed a piece of the story for sure. again, I enjoyed Mike and Joan's work on Sunday. Hope they keep it up for the next few weeks.