There have been some excellent good news stories at the tail end of the pandemic curling season. Heck, the fact we’ve enjoyed a three-month event bubble is pure awesomeness.
The charity curling calendar published a 2021 edition. Fans loved Wayne Middaugh’s return to the game, and the emergence of the men from RCF. They’re cheering on the Garlic Girls as they exorcise their demons on the ice.
The World Curling Federation has contributed, too. Life ain’t easy for them. We’ve been publishing since 1957, nine years before they were founded, which means we have taken them to task many times over the years. Our Extra Extra End podcasters are the latest to tear a strip off of them.
But the good news stories are continuing in Calgary, and we’ve got them to thank. Their ruling has allowed a three-player team to represent Germany at the world women’s curling championship. Well done, WCF.
Two of their players returned positive COVID-19 test results, of course, as the worlds was preparing to gear up. And according to the wording of their initial news release, it was great to see the WCF was mindful of the provision in Rule C2(k) of the Rules of Curling and Rules of Competition right off the bat.
That’s the “extenuating circumstance” rule. Usually a team has to compete with four players delivering stones, with non-compliant teams forfeiting each game from the start of the competition—until they can field four players.
However, Rule C2K suggests that “in extenuating circumstances, and with approval from a panel of three persons (WCF Director of Competitions or Representative, event Technical Delegate, event Chief Umpire) a team may be allowed to start a competition with three players.”
So skip Daniela Jentsch is on the ice, with sister Analena throwing three stones at lead/second. Third Mia Höhne also throws three times each end. The makeshift squad lost 8-4 to RCF in their first match, prompting national coach Uli Kapp to put it all into perspective.
“For us it’s pretty much a bonus, every rock we can throw, every game we can play out there,” said Kapp. “But of course it’s tough.
“We can say, okay, Russia (RCF) played really good, we just need to try and make it easy for us … to find a way to adapt to the circumstances and just enjoy being out there.”
The Jentsch sisters and Höhne must undergo rapid testing every single morning, two hours prior to the first session of the day, followed immediately by a PCR test.
“On Friday morning the guy with the rapid test got a flat tire,” said Kapp. “So he was 20 minutes late. We had got the call on Thursday night around 8:30 to switch hotels and prepare for the morning game, and we didn’t get settled until about 1:30 in the morning.
“When it goes wrong it all goes wrong. But those are the challenges we’re supposed to face this week.”
Kapp says the competing team members are trying to lift the spirits of Klara Hermine-Fomm and Emira Abbes, the athletes who tested positive. The pair are quarantined in a separate hotel for an undetermined period of time. They are being cared for by the event medical staff but … think about what they’re going through.
Hermine-Fomm is 21 years old. Höhne is 20. They are over 4,000 miles from home, stranded in a hotel room. They can’t go outside. They can’t compete for a berth in the Olympics.
And they have COVID-19.
“They’re strong but they’re pretty down, about not being able to compete here,” said Kapp.
My heart breaks for these athletes. It’s a nightmare. And we need another good news story.
It would be nice—wonderful, in fact—if curling fans tried to lift the spirits of Klara and Emira by sending care packages to their Calgary hotel.
Which is the Best Western Village Park Inn. Located at 1804 Crowchild Trail NW. With a postal code of T2M 3Y7. By the way.
Brendan Bottcher got socks. By all means, send these girls some socks. And other stuff. Lots of other stuff.
Let’s show them some curling love ... and write a new good news story.