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The Most Sportsmanly Sport on Earth

Okay, it's not Canadian football or soccer, but looking at those two sports and all the unsportsman-like conduct that goes on, it was quite refreshing to see a sport where participants are kind to each other and mistakes are allowed to happen and be corrected without one side screaming bloody murder and asking them to forfeit the game. In the recent Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics I observed just that when watching curling.

Point 1 - In almost all modern sports these days, the aim is to win. At any cost. What's the saying - "if you aren't cheating, you aren't trying"? Have you ever heard football players talk about what happens in the bottom of a scrum after a short-yardage play? Eyes getting poked. Punches being thrown. Knees and ankles getting a little twist. Guys reaching into opponent's pants and giving the schmekel a tug. There's also the good ol' junk punch - click on the link to see Montreal's Shea Emry as he tried to sneak one in Saskatchewan's Brendon Labatte but was caught by both TV cameras and the referees, who tossed him out of the game. How about this one - players purposefully peeing in their pants so that opposing players won't want to block or tackle them. Maybe not always for that purpose but it is true that football players will frequently piss in their pants - when you gotta go, you gotta go and you can't always run to the washroom. Next time you watch a football game, look for players (especially offensive or defensive linemen) who have wet pants. That's not from water my friends.

Point 2 - How about unsportsmanlike conduct in soccer? There are even terms for it - "shithousery", "the dark arts". You see it all the time and at almost all levels of soccer. Feigning injury to waste time, taking dives and falling to the ground as if shot to draw fouls, sticking an elbow into an opponents face when the ref isn't looking, defenders getting right into the grill of a penalty shooter for as long as they can just before he takes his kick. Or my favorite tactic, that comes straight out of WWE wrestling, one player distracts the ref by arguing against a newly awarded penalty kick, while teammates go to the penalty spot and start scuffing it up in the hopes that the ball will change direction or be slowed down on it's way towards the net.

Point 3 - Curling is the most sportsmanlike sport in the world. During the recent Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, I was bored and decided to watch a women's curling match between Canada's team lead by Jennifer Jones and China's team lead by Rui Wang. Canada was playing the red stones. China was playing the yellow stones. In curling, the lead player usually prepares by taking and setting up the stone in the hack for the thrower to use. In this case, China's lead player accidentally grabbed one of Canada's red stones and set it up for her skip to throw. Just moments after Wang sent the rock down the sheet of ice, she chuckled to herself and informed an official that she threw the wrong stone. It was involved in the play and stayed in the rings. Did Canada and Jennifer Jones get angry and go nuts and asked for Team China to be disqualified? No! In curling, it's not considered a big deal. To fix things back up, Jones made a V-shape as she wrapped her feet around the stone that was thrown incorrectly. That red stone was taken back down the ice. The Chinese players brought one of their yellow stones down and gently provided it to Jones. Jones placed it back to where her feet had marked the other stone and play continued on. At major curling tournaments, there are officials but no referees. Players basically police themselves and collectively make any close calls on the ice. You rarely see arguments between teams in curling. At the beginning and end of curling matches, players will go up to their opponents and say "Good curling" or "Good game". And it is.

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