#BetweenTheSheets: The Rules of Fandom
An update to the #PowerRankings mountain
|TwineTime at the 2010 Winter Olympics|
Being a sports fan is hard work.
When you team is winning, the euphoric feeling you get is unparalleled.
When your team is losing, there is no worse feeling in the world.
Fans can win and lose with grace. Fan can win and lose with tact. Fans can win and lose with respect.
And then there are THOSE fans who can do none of the above, win or lose.
Those fans need a lesson in fandom.
Most would say the winning is easy. You cheer on your team. They win. You high-five your buddies. You celebrate with a few cold drinks and cheers your victory. And you walk away with a giddy glow over your face.
Losing is a completely different story. Sports depression is a real thing. You support your team. You cheer them on. And they come up short. You feel deflated.
Trust me on this. I know. I am a life-long Pittsburgh Pirates fan. They last won the World Series in 1979, before I was born. Do you know how many losing seasons I have lived through? More than winning season and playoff seasons combined.
But year after year on Opening Day I bring out one of my fav Pirates shirts and wear it with pride ready to cheer on my team. Win or lose. This is fandom.
There are so many articles online talking about the "Rules of Being a True Sports Fan". Most of them follow the same principle Rules of Fandom:
- Cheer for your home city/province/state/nation
- Never wear rival colours
- When you win, 24 hours of celebration
- When you lose, 24 hours of depression
- No bandwagon jumping
Those all seem like clear cut rules of fandom to live by. But there is one key element missing. The "Sixth Sense" of fandom if you will.
As the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin spelled it out: R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
The sixth rule of fandom is: Respect Thyself.
Under this sixth rule there are two sub-rules, one for winning and one for losing.
(A) When winning, respect thy opposition.
Do you need to go all out and berate the opposing team, players and fans? No.
Can you gloat a bit in your victory? Sure, but remember what goes around comes around.
When my team wins, I am happy to remind those who cheer against my team how glorious our victory was. Not at a diminishing value to their team but more to show my team is #1.
Saying to a buddy "you're team sucks" is just childish playground behaviour. We are adults. Win as an adult should win.
(B) When losing, respect thy team
When your team is losing, how are you supposed to react? You can get down. You can be upset. You can be critical. You can even be frustrated.
But they are still YOUR team. You still cheer them on. You still wear their colours and go to their games and show up on social media with your support.
There is a MAJOR difference between being critical of a losing team and just being a straight up a**hole.
Note the differences in these two comments (real comments pulled from social media):
(A) "We should not have traded a draft pick for (insert player name). I think we need to build for the future not just for a one-season championship."
(B) "(Insert player name) sucks. Why would we want him on our team? He is horrible and is not worth his weight in a draft pick or a salary. What a stupid move. Ugh, this team sucks."
Both comments are offering personal opinions. And, as a fan, you are allowed to have your personal opinions. Differing opinions makes sports fun and, ideologically, makes the world keep spinning.
But comment (A) is being critical of a team decision based on a personal perspective.
Comment (B) is just being an a**hole. Obviously the player in question is not horrible. If the player is playing a professional sport, they are obviously good. Are you playing the sport at the same level? No? Then eliminate the personal attack.
If comment (B) were adapted to saying something like "(Insert player name) is not going to help us with our power play right now. It is just not what he is the best at. I wish we would have traded for a stronger player to help boost our power play".
Some athletes are just better at certain positions and in certain situations compared to others. In the hockey reference above, some players are just better on the power play. It is their wheelhouse and something they have worked on and they pride themselves on.
Is this a knock on the other player? Not necessarily. The edited comment is more talking about building the team for success rather than just downplaying and insulting another player.
So how does this relate to curling you ask? Right now it is the ABC: All 'Bout Canada.
Canada's Team Einarson is struggling. It is no secret. They are not having the tournament many, including themselves, would have saw coming leading into this world championship.
They were not just a contender but they were considered by many the favourite. And, entering Tuesday, they sit near the bottom portion of the standings.
Here is where the lesson in fandom is required.
Can you be critical of a game decision? Sure, of course. We see it all the time with commentators. They offer their opinion on shot selection. Sometimes they are right. Sometimes the call on the ice is right. They do not have to agree.
A strategic game mistake is open for critique. How many people still talk about the infamous Kevin Martin "throw away" decision? Do we insult Kevin Martin as a person when discussing this decision? No, but we can be critical of the decision with respect to the players.
Can you be critical of the athlete as a person? NO! Say it again, N-O!
Whether talking to your buddy or chatting online, making comments about the athlete directly as a person is a fandom violation.
You should not be making statements like "(insert player name) sucks." No, the player does not suck. They are a Canadian champion.
Can you say "(insert player name) is struggling right now"? Yes, of course you can. Players struggle. Nobody is perfect. Sometimes you just have "those" days or "those" games. You have "those" days too.
There is a huge difference between "sucks" and "struggling". The common difference: RESPECT.
It is not disrespectful to say a player or team is struggling. It is fact. Sports is about facts. A team can be 0-4 or 1-4 and be struggling. And that is ok. It happens.
But saying a player "sucks" or is "horrible" or the team is a "disappointment" is not respectful. You are just being an a**hole "fan".
I appreciate the pouring of support for Team Canada during the opening weekend. It is great to see fans and fellow competitors band together to toss their support behind their Canadian champions.
But, playing devil's advocate, they are not immune to critique either. Fans can be critical. Fans can be frustrated.
Remember fans invest time and, in many cases, money behind supporting their teams. When those teams struggle, fans feel disappointment. And they are allowed to feel so.
Curling is not, and should not, be immune to critique. Curling is a sport and does not get a free pass.
The paradox I found online is seeing comments from people, including fellow curling athletes, saying not to be critical of the team and keep your negative comments to yourself.
Some of those same people are also putting out social media comments bashing opposition hockey teams or venting frustration with how their favourite NBA or MLB team is playing thus far.
It cannot be a "have your cake and eat it too" situation with curling.
I will state it again: Curling does not get sports fandom immunity to fan critique.
What we need is the reminder of the Rules of Fandom. And, most important, adhering to Rule 6.
Be critical if your team is struggling. But do so with respect.
Personal attacks on a player/team are not needed.
Lets view the updated Power Rankings mountain!
Note in parenthesis is the team record and the ranking listed is the pre-event ranking from the preview blog post.
1. Switzerland - Team Tirinzoni (6-0, #3): When you post the FIRST EVER 8-ender in world championship history, men or women, you obviously sit atop the mountain. The Swiss created #HERstory with the 8-ender posted vs. Denmark on Sunday. Of course too bad nobody was in the arena to see and nobody saw it live on air due to the broadcast blackout (note: both of those are VERY GOOD reasons and fully supported by the blog, just saying in context). The champs are rolling along quite nice and look in prime position to #DefendTheIce. The Monday night domination over up and coming China was a strong tune-up, and message, to their opponents Tuesday morning: Sweden. Try to find a better rivalry in curling than Team Tirinzoni vs. Team Hasselborg. Lets Go! Next Up: SWE, BYE, CZE
2. #TeamBellatrix - Team Kovaleva (6-0, #6): Some people are "surprised" with the fast start of Team Kovaleva and how they sit atop the standings undefeated? Why? Are you new? My guess is those people do not follow the #TwineTime blog. The blog has been high on this team for a few years now and, as mentioned in the preview, this seemed like the perfect time for them to put it all together. We cannot get too excited though. The schedule will get harder with the #PACC teams on Tuesday and then upcoming dates with S Club 3: Switzerland, Sweden and Scotland. The victory over Canada was huge though and they are probably 2 wins away from clinching a playoff spot. Next Up: JPN, CHN, BYE
3. Sweden - Team Hasselborg (5-1 #1): Score 3. Steal 2. Pretty much game over. Sweden executed to perfection Monday night in their win over Czech Republic to set up the rivalry game vs. Switzerland Tuesday morning. This is going to be a great battle. Sweden has the advantage at the Euro's. Swiss have the advantage at the world championships. This game could decide 1st and 2nd place. We saw Team Hasselborg struggle at the slams but those were just tune-up events. They found their footing and now look like the top contending team we all expected. Plus they already have victories over Canada and Scotland. And the loss to China certainly is not a "bad loss" given how well China is performing. Could this FINALLY be their year? Next Up: SUI, BYE, BYE
4. China - Team Han (4-2, #8): Beat Sweden. Lose to Switzerland. If you told 20-year old skip Han Yu she would split the two games against the two favourites at her debut world championship, I am sure she would be very happy to take that result. This team is looking very good. Yes they took the Monday night loss to Switzerland but everyone has lost to them thus far so no big concern there. Tuesday will be where we see if this team is a true contender. A blessing in disguise could be having the morning draw off after a tough loss. All eyes should be on their two games on Tuesday. The blog didn't name this team as a top #TeamUpset contender for no reason folks! Next Up: BYE, #BELLA, USA
5. Scotland - Team Muirhead (4-2, #4): This is pretty much where we expected Team Muirhead to be heading into Tuesday action. A few nice wins under the slider, including the W over USA, and the close loss to rival Sweden. The loss to Korea might stand out depending how Scotland and Korea finish. After the struggles at the slams though, this team has to like their chances right now for a playoff spot. Big game Tuesday night against still contender but struggling Canada. Next Up: BYE, CZE, CAN
6. USA - Team Peterson (4-3, #5): Speaking of the slams, how about this result? Entering the event as the #Top6, one of those 6 teams who competed in the #gsoc events, USA had little momentum after picking up only 1 win over 2 events. Now they sit 4-3, including wins over Canada and Korea, and they are looking good. The loss to Germany could bite them later in the week. As could the Monday night loss to Denmark, where they had hammer in a tie game coming home and gave up the #StealPants to take the L. They have a loss to Scotland already and still face the final 2 members of S Club 3. If they can sweep the #PACC on Tuesday though, playoff chances will be right around the corner. The big concern for this team and a common theme when the blog looks at competing teams: consistency, consistency, consistency. Which team shows up on Tuesday coming off a tough Monday night loss? Next Up: BYE, JPN, CHN
7. Germany - Team Jentsch (3-4, #10): The talk of the tournament is Team Germany and their resiliency. Amazing! The team starts off the world championship with the positive COVID tests on the team, prolonged isolation, delays in practice and unknown as to whether they will even be allowed to compete. Hours before the event starts they are cleared to play but with only 3 players. And here they sit with wins over Canada, Korea and USA. All 3 teams many considered in the running for a playoff spot. The win over Canada was #HERstory for Daniela Jentsch as it marked her first career win over Canada at a world championship. Look at the losses they have taken: #TeamBellatrix, Scotland, Italy and Estonia. The Italian and Estonia losses may be the ones to haunt them at the end of the week. The Estonia loss especially as a win Monday night would have placed them in 6th place, ahead of the Americans due to beating them over the weekend. But this team is playing with #IceBubble money and every game, every win is a bonus compared to where they sat on Thursday. If this team can keep the momentum going, and not succumb to energy burn out, they could make a run for the 6th playoff spot. What a story that would be!! The one game day on Tuesday will be nice and probably much needed for an emotionally and physically spent team over the opening weekend. Next Up: BYE, DEN, BYE
8. Japan - Team Yoshimura (2-3, #7): At this point of the competition we still do not have a good handle on this Japanese team. They have knocked off the teams they were expected to beat. They lost to Scotland and Switzerland. And they had the tough loss to #PACC rival China. 3 losses to teams all at or near the top of the table isn't bad. But, losses to teams already above you doesn't help you in moving up the ladder either. Tuesday will be Judgement Day for Japan. If they go 0-2, playoff hopes are probably dashed. Go 2-0 though and they are right there fighting for a Top 6 finish. Based on how things are going, they will probably go 1-1 and we will be left with more questions. Next Up: #BELLA, USA, BYE
9. Denmark - Team Dupont (2-4, #14): Here is a perfect example of how experience can work in your favour. The Danes give up the history 8-ender to Switzerland Sunday night. And on vice Mathilde Halse' 22nd birthday nonetheless. How does experienced skip Madeleine Dupont respond? By giving #TeamBellatrix all they can handle in a close Monday afternoon loss and scoring 10th end #StealPants heroics vs. USA in the night cap for the W. Experience helps when you win but also helps when you lose. Dupont LOVES rocks in play. Remember this team also posted a 14-5 W over China to balance the 4-13 loss to Switzerland. Attribute it similar to NCAA basketball teams who live, and die, by the 3-point shot. When you are on, you can score big and win. When you are off, you will take tough lopsided losses. Dupont can handle the tidal wave game plan. You never know what you are going to get playing this team...and that plays right into Dupont's strategy. Always be weary of the Danes. BTW, did you see the nice triple Dupont made earlier in the game vs. USA to score a big deuce? Next Up: BYE, GER, BYE
10. Canada - Team Einarson (2-5, #2): The "other" talk of the tournament, for a much different reason. This is not the Team Canada we expected to see at the half way point of their debut world championship appearance. They are struggling. Whether time in the bubble or pressure of the moment or emotional wear or just simply other teams playing better at the right time or the right end....there can be many reasons for the 2-5 record. Maybe the record is supporting what many were asking a few weeks ago, this blog included, as to why we needed 2 #GSOC events before a world championship inside a bubble environment. Regardless, excuses and rationals aside, here they are. The win Monday afternoon over Korea was huge. They need to start grinding out the wins, gaining back their confidence and keep telling themselves they are still in this. Plus their Draw Shot Challenge (DSC) number is very good right now, which helps for a future possible TB scenario with multiple teams. 5 losses *should* get you the final playoff spot. 6 losses is probably one too many. They need to run the table. To say the Tuesday night game is "do or die" vs. Scotland is an understatement. Next Up: ITA, BYE, SCO
11. Czech Republic - Team Kubeskova (2-4, #12): The Czech's seem to be living up to their seed. Beat the teams seeded lower than you (Estonia, Italy) and lose to the teams seeded above you (Canada, China, Japan, Sweden). The issue the Czech's are having is scoring. They have only put 24 points on the board in 5 games. On the opposite side of the scoreboard, they have allowed 44. You cannot win many games with a Points For / Points Against difference like that. Tuesday could be their deal breaker day, drawing Scotland and Switzerland. To stay alive in this competition, they need to upset a few of those teams ranked above them. Tuesday is their chance to do so. Next Up: BYE, SCO, SUI
12. South Korea - Team Kim (2-5, #9): It has not been the start we expected from the "Garlic Girls" sitting 2-5 and near the bottom of the table. Of course remember this team has not had a ton of competitive game action over the past few years, let alone during a pandemic. The fact they are here and working their way back towards the curling "elite" is a testament to their resiliency, professionalism and dedication to the sport. They seemed to be gaining some traction before falling to Canada Monday afternoon. Similar to the Canadians, their backs are against the wall if they want to make the playoffs and earn the direct ticket into the Olympics field. They have tough losses to those teams at or near the top of the standings. But they also have a more favourable, on paper anyway, schedule down the stretch. I wouldn't underestimate this team. Next Up: EST, BYE, BYE
13. Estonia - Team Turmann (1-5, #13): #HERstory for Estonia! When Germany's hit in the extra rolled out of play, Team Turmann celebrated the first-ever W for the nation at the world championship. And, the way they are playing, there could be a few more Ws on the way. We knew going into this event Estonia competing for a playoff spot might be a reach given the strong field. But, we also should know to never underestimate a "rookie" team. They have everything to play for and nothing to lose and that is dangerous. Turmann can make the big shots too and has the game to knock off any team in this competition. Tuesday will present a few more opportunities to pad the win column taking on an up and down Korean squad in the morning and a young Italian team in the evening. Imagine Estonia going 2-0 on Tuesday and sitting 3-5 overall heading into Moving Day. Another great story possibly brewing. Next Up: KOR, BYE, ITA
14. Italy - Team Constantini (1-6, #11): Despite the record, Italy has been playing quite good for a new-look team without a ton of experience. And of course being the youngest collective team in the field. They are not getting tossed off the ice by their opposition and have been close in a majority of their games. One telling stat for this team is Ends Won / End Loss. They actually hold a "+" rating here with 29/28 ratio. What is hurting them is the force is not as strong. They are often giving up at least 2, if not 3 or more, points when their opposition has hammer. Tough to win games when you continually give up multiple ends. On the plus, they did score a huge 5 on Germany when they picked up their lone win thus far. Can they play spoiler Tuesday against Canada? Next Up: CAN, BYE, EST
Originally the hope was broadcast would resume for Tuesday afternoon. As of Monday afternoon this was pushed back to sometime on Wednesday. This could continue to change as the situation adapts.