Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

NHL Playoff Predictions: Round 3

May 13, 2016

After starting off poorly in the first round — going 4 – 4 or exactly what a coin flip would give you — I did much better in the second round, going 3 – 1 and ending on a 7 – 5 record, which means that if I get even one more series right I’ll be guaranteed to be above .500.

Also note that this year I added a category that tracks how many times the team that had home ice advantage wins the series in this year. I was inspired to do this after noting that a number of them did seem to win their series or at least be winning it, and wondered if the much lauded “parity” was still everything it was made out to be. In the first round, teams with home ice advantage went 5 – 3, but only 2 – 2 this round, which means that they have a 7 – 5 record.

Thus, if I hadn’t even bothered to think about any of this at all, and had just chosen each team with home ice advantage, I’d’ve had the same record. Huh.

Anyway, these match-ups are what you want in the semi-finals in you’re a hockey fan, and thus what you don’t want if you’re trying to predict who will win: the series are really too close to call.

Eastern Conference

Pittsburgh vs Tampa Bay: So, here’s the dilemma here. Tampa Bay has been playing without one of if not its best player with the injury to Steven Stamkos, which leaves, in theory, a big hole to fill in their line-up. For Pittsburgh, even though Crosby and Malkin were underwhelming against Washington, they are in the line-up, have been playing, and could take over the series at any moment. Even if Stamkos comes back, he’s not likely to be in top form and so may not have the impact Tampa would like. On the other hand, Pittburgh has been playing Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury is just recently back on the bench and hasn’t played in quite a while, so their goaltending is suspect, while Tampa can rely on Ben Bishop.

What makes things really difficult to predict here is that both of these teams have had these issues throughout the entire playoffs, and have managed to overcome them and, in fact, to do so relatively handily. Tampa is getting great performances from their secondary players, while Matt Murray has outduelled stronger goaltenders to win series. So we have two teams with what look like glaring weaknesses that haven’t been weaknesses for them throughout the entire playoffs.

I’ve been betting against Matt Murray the entire playoffs so far. Have I learned my lesson? Well … no. The issue here is that if Tampa Bay can get into Murray’s head or pick up tendencies and exploit them, Pittsburgh is likely finished, while if Stamkos comes back that will likely only help Tampa Bay. So I’m going to go with the established goalie again this round.

Prediction: Tampa Bay

Western Conference

San Jose vs St. Louis: Here, we have two teams that have become known for underachieving in the playoffs, and that even this year have not looked like exceptionally solid teams, both flirting with upsets at times. One of them is going to have to actually win this series, and both of them are clearly capable of winning it all or handing it to the opposing team.

It’s a tough decision to make, but I think I’m going to go with St. Louis here.

Prediction: St. Louis

Summary

Eastern Conference

Pittsburgh vs Tampa Bay

Western Conference

St. Louis vs

Overall Record: 7 – 5
Home Ice Advantage Team Record: 7 – 5

NHL Playoff Predictions: Round 2

April 27, 2016

So, this year the NHL scheduling powers-that-be have decided to screw me up completely and start the second round in the Eastern Conference before the first round in the Western Conference even ends. So what I’m going to do is predict the three series that I can predict, and then go back in on Thursday and predict the Sharks series. Hopefully, this will be so seamless that you won’t even notice … well, except for the text here saying that, of course [grin].

Eastern Conference

Washington vs Pittsburgh: After Pittsburgh’s relatively easy ride through the first round and Washington’s surprisingly tough one, it might be difficult to take the Caps here. But while their young goaltenders played well in the first round, they’re still a big question mark, especially now that the teams have had lots of time to study the video on them and look for tendencies. The teams ought to be close in terms of talent, but Holtby will almost certainly show up to play, while Lundqvist, surprisingly, sometimes didn’t. Give Washington the edge here.

Prediction: Washington

Tampa Bay vs Islanders: Now, the Islanders are one of my favourite teams, as I started cheering for them as a young lad when they went on their Cup run. which created the interesting situation in the Islanders/Florida series where if the Islanders won the team I liked better advanced, but if Florida won my prediction would be right. And in this round … the same thing is going to happen. And, for the most part, it’s for the same reasons as the Washington/Pittsburgh series: Greiss, though playing well, is still a question mark, while Bishop isn’t. Given the loss of their superstar, though, picking Tampa is tougher, but I think I’m still going to go with them.

Prediction: Tampa Bay

Western Conference

Dallas vs St. Louis: St. Louis has potentially, at least, overcome their choker reputation and at least some of their playoff demons. Dallas looked vulnerable against Minnesota, and their goaltending situation is a bit in flux. It might be a mistake, but I’m going with St. Louis on this one.

Prediction: St. Louis

San Jose vs Nashville: If any series might feature the underdog upsetting the favourite, this might be the one. However, San Jose has managed to overcome at least some of their playoff demons, and Nashville has to be tired from their long series with Anaheim. While it always makes me shudder with fear to think that the Sharks might actually win a series, I’m going to go with them here.
Prediction: San Jose

Summary

Eastern Conference

Washington vs Pittsburgh Incorrect/strong>
Tampa Bay vs Islanders Correct

Western Conference

Dallas vs St. Louis Correct
San Jose vs Nashville Correct

Overall Record: 7 – 5
Home Ice Advantage Team Record: 7 – 5

NHL Playoff Predictions: Round 1

April 13, 2016

And, yet again, I put on my prognosticator’s cap and try to predict who will win what series. I heard a quote from some coach that this year there are no favourites, which ought to make these predictions … interesting, to say the least. So, without further ado, here are my predictions for the first round.

Eastern Conference

Washington vs Philadelphia: The team that finishes first overall almost never wins the Stanley Cup. Philadelphia had to go on a bit of a run to just make the playoffs, but they did stumble a bit at the end. Washington, however, has disappointed before in the playoffs. That being said, it’s hard to bet against a team that has been that dominant the entire season and has one of the best players in the game.

Prediction: Washington

Pittsburgh vs Rangers: Pittsburgh started slow but has surged over the last few months of the season, overtaking teams to not only make the playoffs, but to finish second in the Metropolitan division, ahead of the two New York teams. But they’ve had some injury troubles of late, most importantly to Fleury, their number one goaltender. The Rangers’ biggest injury woe is Eric Staal, who was brought in as a supplemental player, and so isn’t as big a loss. So there are doubts around Pittsburgh. If Fleury comes back and doesn’t struggle, Pittsburgh has a good chance. But if he doesn’t, Lundqvist will carry the day. Going with the odds, I’m going with the Rangers.

Prediction: Rangers

Tampa Bay vs Detroit: They’re baaaaack. Tampa Bay and Detroit face each other again in the first round. Detroit, though, was lucky to just continue their streak of playoff appearances (it’s now at 25); they aren’t likely to make it through the first round.

Prediction: Tampa Bay

Florida vs Islanders: The Islanders kinda backed into the playoffs, and Florida had a great season, and Jagr has been there before. With that veteran leadership, the Islanders will be in very tough in this series.

Prediction: Florida

Western Conference

Dallas vs Minnesota: I don’t think that Dallas has any big injuries, and they had a great season. Minnesota is a good team and can force the upset, but I don’t think they’re playing any better than Dallas is right now. So I’ll give this one to Dallas.

(Yes, this is, in fact, my prediction for the St. Louis/Minnesota series last year, with Dallas subbed in for St. Louis [grin]).

Prediction: St. Louis Dallas

St. Louis vs Chicago: St Louis has been disappointing people in the playoffs for years now. Is this the year that they finally stop doing that? Chicago kinda backed into the playoffs as well, and St. Louis is on a roll. However, it’s hard to bet against the Stanley Cup Champions. On the other hand, they won it last year, so this is their year off, so they might as well just lose now and get it over with.

Prediction: St. Louis

Anaheim vs Nashville: Anaheim, after a slow start, has really come on over the past few months, finishing much higher than anyone expected. They just beat Washington in the last game of the season, and don’t seem to have any serious injuries. Nashville probably doesn’t have a chance.

Prediction: Anaheim

L.A. vs San Jose: This one should be very close, but L.A. just has the experience and talent to lean on here, and San Jose, again, tends to disappoint in the playoffs.

Prediction: L.A.

Summary

Eastern Conference

Washington vs Philadelphia Correct
Pittsburgh vs Rangers Incorrect
Tampa Bay vs Detroit Correct
Florida vs Islanders Incorrect

Western Conference

Dallas vs Minnesota Correct
St. Louis vs Chicago Correct
Anaheim vs Nashville Incorrect
L.A. vs San Jose Incorrect

Overall Record: 4 – 4

Is it over yet?

April 1, 2016

I am not built for playoff drives in sports.

I can take it in curling because an entire bonspiel lasts a week, and so by the time you get into debates over what teams need to do to make the playoffs you only have about a day or so — and likely about three games — left. So you start from musings about how a win or loss might impact the standings, and what they might have to do based on that, jump to the more definite discussions, and finally end up knowing the final results in a very short time. So I can live with it and even kinda enjoy the musings.

But in any sport with a longer season — baseball and hockey being the two that I most follow — I burn out on that sort of tension very quickly. I always end up wishing that the whole thing would just end already … even if a team that I’m cheering for is still trying to make the playoffs, like what happened with the Senators in hockey last year, and even with the Blue Jays last year. When you have a season that’s run for several months, and the playoff hype is starting, it seems that I, basically, just want the playoffs to start, and for the season to end.

Maybe the issue for me is that I consider the regular season to be more routine watching, and the playoffs as the more interesting and important thing to watch. Generally, I watch the regular season when convenient and make an effort to watch the playoffs. The end of the regular season kinda falls in-between those two, since it’s still kinda routine and still kinda important; the specific games matter but not as much as playoff games. Thus, while I can tolerate the tension for short periods of time, over the long haul I burn out because the only reason there’s tension there is because they’re trying to get into the playoffs, and at that point I’m already looking forward to the playoffs starting, which is what I’m more interested in. In curling, the games aren’t routine — because this is the only week you’ll be able to watch that bonspiel, at least, and each of them are different — and so I treat them all like special events, with the playoffs then merely being the culmination of the tournament, instead of being something completely distinct from it.

Ultimately, then, the issue is that the longer regular seasons hide too much the importance of the games — as early losses can be as devastating as late losses, even if they don’t look like it — which allows me to think of the games as routine, which then leads to a bit of fatigue with how long the season has been running, especially when the hype is pushing me to really care about those games that I haven’t been caring that much about for months, and maintain that for weeks at a time. I just don’t have the hype stamina to do that [grin].

Commentary on Women Playing with the Men

March 28, 2016

So. as I noted last week, I watched Rachel Homan playing in the Elite 10. What was surprising about that was not the outcome, but that in her first match … I was cheering against her. Now, I really like her team, and think that she’s a good curler, and usually have no trouble cheering for her, and yet I was cheering against her when she played a men’s team that I had no reason to actually cheer for. Additionally, I managed to see her last match against Brad Gushue and had a much easier time cheering for Homan … at the point where she still had a chance to make the playoffs but was unlikely to. So why was I cheering against her in the first match?

And, after some thought, the conclusion I’ve come to is … I’m sick of it. I am thoroughly and heartily sick of women playing against the men and the attention that garners.

First, I’m just sick of the gimmick. Yes, as Rob Faulds said, Rachel Homan can curl, but her playing in the Elite 10 was still a gimmick, and was still heavily promoted as one. When this all started long ago, for the most part everyone watched because we wanted to see if the women could compete with the men, and we hadn’t have enough matches like that to see if they could or couldn’t, or how well they’d do. And they managed to pull off some upsets, although almost always that was against average or aging men when the women were the elites of their sport. But we’ve been doing this for decades now, and for the most part everything has been settled: in general, in any case where women and men can and do indeed play the same sport, women at the very best hold their own, but aren’t really competitive against the men. Homan made history by beating a men’s team that everyone beat that bonspiel, in conditions that most favoured her. Women not only have nothing to prove against the men anymore, we all pretty much expect them to, at best, not get slaughtered.

This means that, for women, there’s absolutely nothing at stake for them here. They have nothing to prove and aren’t going to prove anything. If they get blown out, it’s a disappointment, but not a big one, and something that most people will think wasn’t unexpected. If they keep it close, then that’s great. If they manage a close win, that’s outstanding. Thus, there’s little pressure on them because if they lose, it’s expected … and they don’t usually have a chance at really winning. Thus, it’s nothing more than a gimmick, but we all pretty much know what will happen: the women generally don’t embarrass themselves, but don’t do anything really monumental either. So there’s no drama in this anymore, and no real “Battle of the Sexes” like we used to have, because for the most part the war is over and the women lost.

So women doing this aren’t being brave or taking a stand or trying to prove how the quality of women’s sport, no matter how much the media or event organizers play that up. They’re just playing against the men, mostly for personal experience or for themselves. They aren’t doing it for women everywhere anymore. And so it being portrayed has such has gotten annoying.

Which leads to the second thing: if this isn’t to support women in general, why do they do it? Well, the underlying attitude seems to be — and I’m not saying that this is what any of the actual athletes really think, even the Homan rink — is that if you have elite female athletes and they’re dominating their field, what they need to do to get a real challenge is … play against the men. But what this does is suggest that the women’s sport is just an inferior men’s sport, an attitude that I think really hurts women’s sport. Because if women’s sports are just inferior men’s sports, then there are only three reasons that I can think of to prefer to watch the women’s sport, or to watch it when men’s sports are available:

1) Patronizing: “Aw, look at those women, trying to play that men’s sport. We should support them doing that!”. I don’t think that’s what anyone wants.

2) Sex Appeal: “Yeah, they aren’t as good, but at least the women are hot!” (See beach volleyball). You can try to point out that one of the appeals for me of women’s curling is the attractiveness of the curlers, but this is belied by the fact that I like the women’s game better. I’ve made the analogy before of the two restaurants that serve equally good steaks but if one of them gives me a free dessert, I’ll choose that one, but in this case it’s more like I like the steaks at one restaurant better and they give me a free dessert, so I’m not really watching based on that alone. That being said, this is another thing that women’s sports can appeal to … and one that they. rightly, have resisted appealing to.

3) Sexism: “You have to support women’s sports because men have dominated sports for so long and so women have to finally get some support, regardless of the fact that the games aren’t as good”. This is usually accompanied by unconvincing arguments that the women’s sport is just as good as the men’s sport. But at the heart of it, this is an argument that people should support the women’s sport despite it being inferior because of patriarchy or sexism or because it’s only sexism that would make you see the games as inferior or things like that. Again, that’s not something that women should want.

Ultimately, at the end of day, I think women in sports, at least, should stop trying to be like the men, and start focusing on building a sport that leverages the physical differences between women and men in their favour. I still remember the Nagano Olympics where I saw women’s hockey for the first time, and loving it because it was different than the men’s game, since there was no body contact and no one had really hard shots, so it required different strategies. And then they started getting women who could shoot the puck and loosened up on the body contact and it because an inferior men’s product. Tennis’ hard servers are doing the same thing to women’s tennis, as are the women with the up-weight in curling. Even if it requires radically changing the rules, making the women’s game importantly different from the men’s game is the key to making women’s sports a success … and, unfortunately, most people trying to make women’s sports successful jump to the three points outlined above instead of to this one.

Video Games and Challenge vs Experience

March 23, 2016

So, last week I talked about games of all kinds and the distinction between a game as experience and a game as challenge. As I said there, video games have special issues with the challenge vs experience dichotomy, and it all comes down to the fact that, in a video game, we have the ability to save and replay sections of the game if we fail at a challenge, which you typically can’t do in other sorts of games.

Let’s look, then, at what happens in other types of games when you hit a challenge that you simply aren’t prepared for. In sports, you hit a team that’s too strong for you, or they spring a strategy on you that you weren’t prepared for and run up a big lead. In a board game, you get a string of bad luck or you don’t understand how to play the game and so end up behind, and perhaps even in an unwinnable situation. In all of these cases, you have two choices. Either you keep playing the game, or you simply quit completely and start over. Thus, either you stay in the experience — even if it isn’t one that you particularly enjoy — or else you end the experience entirely, and often go to do something else. Either way, the situation doesn’t drag you out of the experience only to reinsert you into it a few minutes later. hoping that you can pick up the experience as you go along.

Video games are different. If you hit a challenge, or something that leaves you in a tough situation, you can and are generally encouraged to restart from an existing save file and pick up from where you left off, preferably in a way that will let you get past whatever obstacle you encountered. Thus, a video game can present ending the game entirely as a speed bump on your way to the end of the game, as if the game ends you can just reload pretty much where you left off. Thus, a video game can present harsh challenges — and harsh consequences to failing the challenges — without forcing the player to pack up the game and move on to something else, or restarting the game entirely.

The problem is that from an experience standpoint, every time you actually die it drags you out of the experience, as you go through the cutscene that kills off your character(s), and then through the loading screen, and then back into the game where you left off, without having all of the preamble that got you caught up in the experience to start with. And even if you have to replay large portions of the game, some of the tricks that it used to drag you into the experience will be lost. There’s a reason why Shamus Young recommends that survival horror games might want to threaten death but never actually kill the player, in that being threatened with death is great and immersive and generates fear, but actually dying drags you out of the experience and ruins the fear the game is trying to generate.

So, with saves, video games can ramp up the challenge, even using — and over-using — DIAS-style gameplay. But if they do that, they break up the continuity of the experience, and thus make for a disjoint experience, where potentially just as you’re getting into the experience, you die and get yanked back into reality and get reminded that, yes, this is really just a game. Video games have a remarkable ability to get players to suspend disbelief, but overusing the challenge notion of games can ruin that, all unintentionally. Other games either keep going or end when the challenge becomes overwhelming. Video games are the only case where you can keep retrying and retrying, and thus have a disjoint experience based on how challenging the gameplay happens to be for you in those cases.

I think Bioware’s “Narrative” difficulty might be first step towards resolving this, where at that difficulty level the challenges are minimized in favour of maintaining the experience, while at the other end the focus is on challenge rather than on maintaining a continuous experience. If this catches on and games start doing more things to focus on one or the other, games might move from having this dichotomy as a unique problem to having this dichotomy be a unique benefit, as the same game can provide both without impeding the other.

Rachel Homan at the Elite 10 …

March 21, 2016

So, as I talked about a few weeks ago, Rachel Homan played in the Elite 10 curling tournament, playing against men’s teams and … she didn’t get destroyed. Except for the first game. She did manage to win one game to go 1 – 3 in the round robin — which left her short of the playoffs — but the team she beat was … the team that everyone beat in her … division? … and she only beat that team by 1. She managed to keep the other two games kinda close, and because of that and her one win it’s being portrayed as a great success and an indication that she really can play with the men and deserves to be on the same ice as them. Which, to me, is an odd statement, as it says that what may be the best women’s team in the world — who isn’t going to the worlds this year — can play at the level of, at best, an average men’s team.

The Elite 10 is also odd because of its format — it’s match play — and thus, as I watched it, ended up looking a lot like the women’s game and so less like the men’s game (and I caught parts of the Briar so I do remember what that game is like [grin]). Because blank ends or taking one didn’t give you the end and so only caused you to lose the hammer, the typical heavy-weight style of men’s curling — which is to “blast” everything if you’re getting in trouble — didn’t happen as often, so the men’s teams let rocks stick around more in the hopes of either stealing or getting two. Even forcing an opponent to one point wasn’t all that great, as holding hammer meant that you had to score two and so that you had to play with more rocks in play. Add to that all of the extra — and in my opinion, stupid — rules that the Elite 10 added, and this was, to my mind, the ideal game for a women’s rink to compete in, as the rules led to there being more come-arounds, raises, and taps instead of doubles and triples (although Homan pulled off a quadruple in the game she won). And the best Homan could do is not get slaughtered — except for the first game — and get one win against the team that wasn’t beating anyone in the round robin. That’s … not that great.

And. given that, it’s fairly clear that if she played in a regular tournament against the men, she probably wouldn’t fare as well. At the end, when Brad Gushue merely needed to force a push to win the game outright, his up-weight allowed him to leave her absolutely nothing, even with the rule that you can’t move rocks off the centre line until after 5 rocks had been played. As soon as they were able to run the guards, they ran absolutely everything leaving Homan no place to hide and so no chance at stealing. I didn’t see her game against Thomas, but it’s quite likely that in a more normal curling game he would have at least beaten her.

Some thoughts on some things said while I was watching (from memory):

Kaitlyn Lawes — the third on Jennifer Jones’ team — was commenting for a while, and she commented that this format worked in Homan’s favour, because you only needed to get the requisite points — a steal or two points if you had the hammer — and so if you stole more or scored more that wasn’t counted. Yeah, and if Homan would have given up big ends but still managed to squeak out a win, that would be bad, because it would indicate that she really couldn’t compete at all with the men but that the format is keeping it artificially close. You would think that Lawes wouldn’t want to draw attention to that.

Rob Faulds commented on people saying that this was a gimmick that it wasn’t a gimmick because Homan can curl. Yeah, the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

As I commented above, the format here minimized the weight advantage — again, insert your own joke here — but both Lisa Weagle and Rachel Homan commented on something that I missed (and should have thought of) which is the advantage the men have in sweeping the rocks due to their greater strength. Homan’s team are among if not the best sweepers in the women’s game, and Homan pointed out that in the first game they tried to take the same ice as the men took and kept racking because of the greater ability of the men to keep rocks straight and drag them further, and even to curl them more.

All in all, I only watched any of the Elite 10 to watch Homan’s rink, and I’ll probably never watch one again. So, the gimmick worked on me … except I would have watched a women’s tournament anyway. So, yay?

Games: Challenge vs Experience

March 14, 2016

Games, all sorts of games, are inherently an interactive experience, which is what differentiates them from pretty much all other forms of media, entertainment, or art. Yes, you can have semi-interactive experiences with other works of art or media, but what makes game games, inherently, is this drive to interactivity. For the most part, whether it be a sport like soccer or hockey, a board game like Arkham Horror or Monopoly, or a video game like Persona 3 or Mass Effect, ultimately, at the end of the day, what makes the game itself is, in fact, what the participants bring to it. It’s not only either superficial appearance or deep meaning that the participant brings to the game, but ultimately the style and character of the game itself is determined by the participants … and by their goals, purposes and desires.

What this allows for is, to my mind, a dichotomy that doesn’t exist outside of games: the distinction between challenge and between strict experience. TV shows, movies, books, visual art, music … all of these are pretty much about the experience you have while participating in or viewing/observing them. Even the interactivity and meanings in these fields are all there to supplement and provide an experience. And games themselves can be just about the experience, about playing the game without any real sense of challenge or a real test of skill. Think of an RPG video game that you play to experience the narrative, or a board game like Arkham Horror where the experience of the game is more vital than the fact that you play it, or an RPG game like Call of Cthulhu where the players pretty much expect, like the universe it is based on, that you will lose at the end, and that it’s how you get there that’s the fun of the game, or a pick up game of hockey where the end score doesn’t matter as much as getting to play a bit and have fun with your friends.

However, games have been more famously known for, in fact, being all about challenges and tests of skill. They’ve been all about one person, one group, one team proving their skill and their superior skill by challenging something and, ultimately, beating it. This doesn’t exist for the other things, the things that are primarily if not solely experience-based. There’s no sense in talking about “beating” a movie, or a TV show, or a painting, or an orchestral symphony. There’s no real way to compare one’s “skill” at experiencing these things, and what you get out of it is, really, what you get out of it. But with games, there traditionally has been the idea that their purpose is to go out and “win”, either by beating someone else or by beating the game itself. The idea of games as experience has been mostly ignored or, at least, designated to a secondary goal.

For sports, this seems to still be the case — despite the many people who play them “recreationally”, as a way to have some fun with friends without worrying too much about overcoming challenges — but for board games and video games the idea of them being more as a means to an experience is becoming more and more popular. The interactive nature of games, in general, allows for a different type of experience than can be provided by the other things that are primarily aimed at producing experiences. So, more and more, board games and especially video games have been aimed at providing experiences rather than merely providing challenges, or even providing challenges as a way to provide experiences. However, they haven’t lost the idea that challenges ought to be in there somewhere.

The issue with this is that providing challenges and providing experiences are, in fact, often in opposition. To really provide a challenge, it has to be possible for the player to lose, and so to learn that they need to increase their skills and abilities, try harder, practice more. But this takes you out of the experience, and encourages you to think of the game not as something you do for the experience, but as something you do to win, or improve. Even in sports, in a simple pick-up game you might be willing to try higher risk plays because if it fails and you either miss an opportunity or give one to your opponents, it doesn’t matter. If the game is on the line, you had better make the safe play that will more obviously help you win the game. But the higher risk plays add more to the experience than the lower risk ones. With board and video games, you act less like the character you are playing would act and more follow set strategies that give you the best chance of winning. But the experience of these games is best furthered by playing in character, not following a set of objectively highest probability plays. So due to their interactivity, games can provide both challenge and experience … but often simply can’t provide both at the same time, even if the same game — played with different mindsets — can provide one or the other.

In another post, I’ll talk about how video games specifically have issues with this dichotomy.

Curling with the boys …

March 4, 2016

So Rachel Homan is going to compete in the men’s Elite 10 curling event.

Unlike, say, Michelle Wie, Homan has actually been dominant in women’s curling … well, this year, at least. Although she just was beaten by Jenn Hanna — who, long ago, was the one who got me interested in women’s curling — in the final of the Scotties qualifiers for Ontario (which might be related to this move). That being said, I don’t see any reason why she’d be able to even hold her own against the men’s rinks (although she does play in the Mixed Doubles curling, so has at least played against men sorta kinda). If you watch the video in the link, when asked how she’ll do even Mike Harris is at best dubious about her ability to keep up. He talks about how good she is at hits … but, again, the men have the up-weight, as he comments.

It would be bad for her and for women’s curling — which is surging a bit — if she gets blasted. But the Elite 10 is a Match Play tournament, which means that the total score doesn’t matter; it only matters if you take the end, either by scoring 2 points or by stealing. So I think it would be worse if the total score would be her getting hammered (no pun intended) but she stays competitive or even wins games because she happens to squeak out some close ends, because it would show that she can’t compete with the men, except in this odd format that happens to artificially allow her to stay in matches that, if this had been a regular curling tournament, would have ended in handshakes long before.

The Elite 10 was a tournament that I would likely have skipped, being an exclusive men’s tournament. With this, I might tune in for parts of it, just to see what happens.

Today in Sports …

January 24, 2016

So, today, right about now, for me, there is:

1) The Scotties playdowns for Ontario, with Rachel Homan taking on Jenn Hanna for a spot in the Scott Tournament of Hearts, which is at this moment tied at 3, with Hanna having taken 3 in the second and Homan having taken 1 in the first and 2 in the third, so a close, tight match.

2) The Peyton Manning – Tom Brady showdown in the NFL playoffs. I’m not a big NFL fan, but I love a good story and this, well, is a really good one.

And I don’t have picture-in-picture, as it turns out, so I have a choice to make. I’ll remember this when there’s absolutely nothing on some Saturday/Sunday afternoon …

EDIT: I kinda flipped between the two — I tried to catch the third and skip stones of the curling — but Jenn Hanna upset Rachel Homan … although Homan mostly did that to herself, missing shots that she normally makes easily. Now I can watch the rest of the football.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers