Thoughts on the Canadian Open

I didn’t get to watch much of this because the earliest draw started at about 2pm my time which meant that any other draw started way too late for me, so I really only caught the women’s quarters and the final.  I could have watched the men’s final but it featured two teams that I didn’t care much for so I skipped it and watched the Bills-Dolphins game instead.

Anyway, on the women’s side, Japan’s Satsuki Fujisawa beat Kerri Einarson to become the first Asian team to win a Grand Slam, while Einarson’s team has made the finals in six straight Grand Slam events.  She had faced Rachel Homan’s team in the final in the last two events, but they met in the quarters this time — after Einarson struggled and had to come through the C-side in this event — which left the path to the finals and possibly to the championship clear until Fujisawa, who had played an aggressive game that kept all of her other draws close, played things a bit more conservatively and held on for the win.

One interesting thing is that Anna Hasselborg’s team had to play with three players, and I had noted in the past that teams that have to play with three players often tend to do much better than expected, and hypothesized that going with three players meant that at least the first two players — who throw three rocks apiece instead of two — get a better feel for the ice that way.  However, Hasselborg’s team didn’t do all that well.  They squeaked into the playoffs and then were eliminated in the quarters.  So going with three players isn’t a recipe for an automatic great run, as the talent on that team is good enough that they would have been expected to get that far even if having only three players was a disadvantage.

Another interesting thing is that Fujisawa’s team is constantly referred to as “the happiest team in the world”, because they are very expressive and really seem to be having fun out there.  Now, there are controversies in other sports over being too expressive during games and to be honest I am kinda on the side of the traditionalists in that regard, and yet here I agree with almost everyone else that from them it seems to be refreshing.  Why is that?  Well, I think it can be summed up by what happened at the end of the match.  This was their first win on the Grand Slam tour, and they were clearly very, very happy to have won.  And yet, when it came time for the end of game handshakes they were remarkably restrained and respectful and serious.  They didn’t celebrate in any huge way until after that was done, at which point they went, well, absolutely bonkers.  So their attitude is different from the ones that come across as problematic.  They really seem to be acting that way because they are having fun and enjoying the event and are happy for themselves, and are not doing it in any way to try to show up the other team or to draw attention to themselves.  This is in sharp contrast to the other sports — especially baseball — where it seems to be more to show up the other team or draw attention to themselves.  This is the same reason why I liked Alexander Ovechkin at least in his early seasons because while he celebrated his own goals he celebrated the goals of his teammates at least as much (and sometimes more), so it really looked like he was just enjoying himself and not trying to show anyone up.  So when we hear complaints about celebrations it might we worth taking a look to see in what the spirit of the celebration is.

The next curling should be the Scotties in February.


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