Monday, 20 February 2006

Thin Ice

I have been and remain transfixed by the Olympic Curling competition. Emotions have run high over the past few days as the men's team have edged into the semis and now the ladies have edged out.
Unlike many sports, my admiration for this one predominantly reflects a knowledge that I would be hopeless at doing it. The margins between success and failure are breath-taking in their minutiae.
Like many sports, however, the influence of leadership, decisiveness and confidence on the outcome is huge. And that, in a nutshell, has been the difference between our two teams.

The men are confidently lead, heads never drop, and commitment is wholehearted. They look like winners and I suspect they will be.
Sadly, only the converse can be said of the Ladies team. The body language among the team has told you all you need to know about how they were feeling and interacting. It just didn't happen.

That the teams have been selected purely on individual merit for the first time is an important and bold step. It marks a significant step forward in our ambitions. That is good.
What is bad is that the management have failed to accept the responsibility that goes with such a policy.

I have no right to make this observation and it is a little harsh but, with four games to go, and with a serious chance of the semis remaining, Rhona Martin's psychological state was clearly the weak link in the team. She may have been the skipper and the reigning Olympic champion but it was causing divisiveness and a complete breakdown of confidence. The team needed to breathe and she should have been rested.

Go, boys. 'Take out' those Fins.

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