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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jennifer Jones vs Cathy Overton-Clapham: Let's move on, please.

Okay, it's done.  Thank goodness.

Cathy Overton-Clapham and her Team Manitoba won the big grudge match against her former team, led by skip Jennifer Jones.

Now, let me translate that statement into the unspoken language of the media feeding frenzy that surrounded this game:

Poor Cathy Overton-Clapham and her second-choice Team Manitoba kicked butt in the big grudge match against her mean former teammates, led by that evil b***h, skip Jennifer Jones.

Clearly the crowd was in Cathy's corner. So was the media. So was the Twitter-sphere.

And it's not hard to understand why. Being fired from her team - reports make it clear that the other three players made the decision among themselves - came as a nasty shock to Cathy O. There goes her chance to be part of Team Canada, play in the Continental Cup, receive funding - all of that, gone. And all because Jennifer Jones decided the team needed someone else, someone with better knees, someone who was not Cathy.

So yes, we feel sorry for her.


A curling team is like any other relationship. There's a lot that goes on behind closed doors that we aren't privy to. Disagreements, attitudes, incidents. Who knows what really went on in the Jones team? Only Jennifer, Cathy, Jill and Dawn.

The media grabbed this story and ran with it because the drama was just too good to miss.  The fans embraced it too, perhaps helped along by the media. Who can blame them?

So the game has finally taken place: Team Canada against Team Manitoba. Jennifer against Cathy. And Cathy won, to the delight of the loudly cheering fans.

But this is what bothers me:

When have you ever seen a game at the Scotties where the fans were not just cheering FOR one team, they were doing so in order to cheer AGAINST another?

Jennifer Jones isn't my favourite curler, but she's a fierce competitor who plays to win. I respect her. I've seen her haul games back into her control and win them, when it looked as if all was lost. She's a fighter, and when she's on the world stage with the Maple Leaf on her back, she does us proud.

But the Scotties crowd - helped by the media - were not behind her in tonight's game. They weren't even politely tolerant of her. They were against her, and they made that loudly and abundantly clear.

The whole thing was ugly, and I'm glad it's over. Let's move on, please.


  1. Jennifer Jones has come back to win many times when it looks like all is lost!! Luckily this time she did not!! At least Cathy O showed a lot of guts coming out to play the way she did against 3 other women who all were against her!! The excuses for doing what they did to her are unbelievable & Jennifer Jones comments & interviews that it is just another game & that she is happy for Cathy & that she only wanted to go out & have fun & didn't care if they won THIS year are a bunch of crap!! She is a lawyer so she has her ways to try & make the media & the public believe what she is saying!! But how dumb does she think that we all are!! Her comments & comebacks are "sickening"!! She is out to win "at all costs" which is what a competitive curler is focused to do, but no wonder the whole crowd is against her!! They all have hearts & feel for what happened to Cathy O!! Did she really have fun during that game!? I think if she had won, her facial expressions after would have shown otherwise!! Just watch the body language & facial expressions closely!! It was killing her & especially the sneaky Jill Officer!! As a person who works with the public, I find it hard to believe that that didn't hurt like crazy & everyone was ecstatic inside that Jennifer & team LOST!! They deserved it!! Tit for tat!! I think Cathy O was busting inside with excitement & it was ironic that she did so well to her OLD team!! Congrats to Cathy O & team for playing the game of her life & making most of the rest of the country so happy for her!! It's funny that for a TEAM CANADA that so many fans are cheering against them!! If Jennifer Jones isn't smart enough to catch onto the message that everyone is telling her then she is as dumb as she thinks that everyone else is with her answers!! Come on Jennifer, wake up & smell the (smelly) roses!! How can you ever say that no one has ever said anything negative to you about your decision!! I think that the whole country has told you in a very clear way!! Just like Tiger Woods, you made one huge mistake in the midst of being a very great player!! You did something that lost you the trust of a nation!!

  2. The thing about the curling fans you so disparage (and with SUCH condescension, too - that's really something) is that they tend to have a keen sense of fairness and of right and wrong. To have unceremoniously removed the maple leaf from the back of someone who had actually earned it, and place it on the back of someone who has not (no matter how nice a person she seems) was never going to be viewed well.

    The other thing about curling fans is that they tend to cheer for the person who is just like them. On the REAL Team Canada, Cathy O was that person. Many respected Jennifer Jones, but there has never been much to like. Dumping Cathy O the way she did lost Jennifer the respect she used to enjoy.

  3. Thanks for your comments, Anonymous and Jennifer. I agree with you both that the team decision to cut Cathy from the team was harsh. Very harsh, and obviously hurtful. The timing was terrible - so late in the year that Cathy was in a tough position to find a new team. Losing the funding, the Team Canada spot at the Scotties all of that - unfair.

    And Jennifer, I'm sorry if your reaction to my comments was that I was condescending. Not my intention at all! I'm frustrated with the way the media manipulated this sorry situation to create a celebrity cat fight.

    As for who the fans think is right or wrong, and whether Cathy O is "just like them" and Jennifer Jones is someone who "there has never been much to like": that's clearly how the fans in Charlottetown feel. I like to keep an open mind, and I believe strongly that there are two sides to this story. The media decided to hype the underdog, and it obviously worked. It was a magical evening for Cathy-O.

    I appreciate your taking the time to comment. Thanks!

  4. See, I don't think this was manipulated. I think if you put this story to the average curling fan, without media spin, the response would be the same. Jennifer Jones has done nothing to endear herself, especially by saying things like 'No one cares about this but the media.' Wanna bet, Jennifer? I think that's what we saw last night.

    In every sport, athletes are judged for their conduct on AND off whatever surface they happen to play. The Jennifer Jones case is no different.

    I appreciate the way you handle coments that don't necessarily fall in line with hourglass, Jean- very fair.

  5. No idea where 'hourglass' came from - it was supposed to be "your view." lol Flippin' autocorrect!

  6. So just because "the other three players made the decision among themselves" that automatically makes Cathy the good guy and them the bad guys and that the reason was "bad knees"?

    Oh please, one bad apple spoils the bunch... everyone knows that, much more likely that 1 mean player got let go by three decent players than 3 mean players fired one decent player.

    What happened to Cathy was only "unfair" if it wasn't her own behavior that caused her departure.

  7. Thanks for your comment, Anonymous. I think you've hit on one of the issues that troubles me the most about this situation: what's the other side of the story? Even though the media and many fans have made their allegiance clear, perhaps BOTH Jennifer J and Cathy O are victims here. Just a thought....

  8. Way to go Cathy words cannot express my joy for you in winning that game against Jennifer Jones. The whole nation was behind you. Karma came back to bite you Jen and you deserve all the negitive comments that are coming your way. Your arrognance and cruelty in what you did to Cathy was unjust and uncalled for. What a thing to teach the next generation of curlers coming up....Cathy you are amazing and I wish you all the best in the years to come

  9. That might be more believable if Jennifer Jones didn't have a bit of a habit of dumping people at the last minute ... which is really neither here nor there, since the reason many don't like what happened is the fact that TEAMS - full teams, not individuals on the team, not even the majority - that win the Scott earn the right to return as Team Canada. Had Jennifer Jones decided to do this any other year, there would be no uproar whatsoever. That she chose to deprive Cathy O of something she had earned is the issue.
    It is something I believe the CCA should consider in terms of rule change, as this is the best example i've seen of how the Team Canada model can be abused. But then, I doubt they will, given the viewer numbers for that game.

  10. Just to clarify: the Jennifer Jones team won the Scotties in 2008, 2009 and 2010. When Cathy O was let go ("fired"?) she had already had the benefit of being Team Canada twice. Not that it makes it any easier, of course. But it's not as if she never had the opportunity to return to the Scotties as Team Canada. Yes, she was deprived of something she earned, but if a skip feels the need to shake up a team in order to be successful - and it happens all the time in men's and women's play - there's really no good time to do it.

    I believe the CCA is considering the issue of how many members of the original team have to be present in order for funding/points etc to remain intact. I agree, after this incident, they're going to have to take a good hard look at it. Maybe compensation for the ousted player is an option. I don't know, and I wouldn't want to be the one to sort it out.

    Thanks again for commenting, Jennifer.

  11. There are definitely two sides to this story and we will never know for sure what caused the split. I think the optics look so bad for Jennifer and team Canada that it is pretty easy to dislike her/them. The age discrepancy between Cathy O and Kaitlyn Lawes, the lack of compensation when Cathy was let go, Cathy being the only team member trying to curl competitively while raising a family.....these are real touchstones for most women. But it is the inherent unfairness of how and when Cathy was replaced is what causes such strong anti Jennifer/Team Canada sentiment.

  12. Oh, sure, the "three" decided "together" that Cathy O had to go? Like the front end would DARE disagree with Jones? That's like saying they had any say at all. They didn't.

    And Jones is to curling like Merchant is to law.

  13. I makes me sad to see such dislike for Jennifer Jones (and her team). In the beginning they were good representatives for Canada. However, like Tiger Woods, they must realize that it takes more than skill that makes you a good representative for your country. Decency & respect is first and foremost and they all fell short of that. With their success in the past they became arrogant and smug. Cutting Cathy when they had just won another team Canada title is disgusting. Had they lost the final perhaps that would have been the time to shake up their team. Then I don't believe they would have received the negative response that they did. After her loss to Sask & her team Canada title, maybe now is the time to fire some of her team. Jill for one did not curl her best game. People don't forget I believe Jennifer Jones is all washed up and definitely finished as a class curler.

  14. Jennifer jones decided to talk one of the best up and comming curlers in manitoba (Kaitlyn Lawes)to join (team canada) by doing so she got rid of the compitition against her in manitoba (smart).She also got rid of the original third member of the team Kathy O who jennifer reffered to as a long time great friend (if she was a great friend why did you get rid of her) Jennifer must think we are all idiots. I have lost total respect for her and her team. I am so clad Sask. is going to represent Canada at the worlds.I hope Kaitlyn is smart enough to leave this team and get herself on a respectable one (her own)Shame on you Jennifer Jones!

  15. Jennifer Jones shook up her team alright by dropping Kathy under the guise that it would somehow guarantee her a shot at the worlds.
    Jennifer, maybe the person who should have been fired was you and Kathy could have skipped Team Canada at the Scotties in Charlottetown PEI. You deprived the rest of your team a chance at the worlds and don't blame the media you started the fire. Kathy O your sportsmanship was awesome

  16. Way to go Saskatchewan. Cheered for you all the way. Sad to see the sheer joy of the game overshadowed by the Jennifer Jones rink. Way to show courage and sportsmanship Kathy O. Remember a team is a team and that means all together share the success and the failure - it does not mean the captain search around until she feels she has someone worthy of being on "her" team. That is not how Canada wants the team representing us to appear to the rest of the world.

  17. What,s up with Jennifer Jones every time her first and second players throw their rocks, if they are a little off she sarcastically yells (no no Jill no and oh no Dawn no)and she will do this through out game its terrible.Curlers especialy good curlers know themself when there off a little. Being a curler i can tell just by the way Jennifer yells after the rock is thrown if she is being sarcastic. She never gave a negative response to her new third though.Jill officer(her second) and Dawn (her first) were first overall in there class but JJ still critisizes there their every throw.Even though she said she was having a lot of fun this cost her big time up to $200,000 in grants and i hope i don't have to watch any of her scotties comercials.JJ is all about winning no matter the cost that is how i see it. How much fun is it now JJ.

  18. I say.. Team Canada got what was coming to them.. karma is a bitch and usually bites ignornant people back.. the miss I am to good for everyone else got hers . on that game

  19. Jennifer.. is all show but no class when it comes to people.... and maybe if she gave respect she could have some back from the fans, curlers .. and team memebers.. its only time before the 1st and 2second.. go on their merry way .. and play for a real leader with a personality

  20. I am not a curler, though enjoy watching curling. The same commercials shown over and over, is annoying to say the least. As for Jennifer J and Cathy O - this is their zone of privacy and for them to address, not society. Congrats to Team Saskatchewan from someone who enjoys watching the game, though never have curled a game. Way to go fellow Saskathewanites!!

  21. It's amazing how everyone thinks they know Jennifer and her team... and Cathy and what happened. Canadians love to hate a winner, especially when you a) win too much, b) are too tall/blonde/attractive, c) have too much money (lawyer) and d) get too much attention (interviews, commercials, etc). It's intimidating and difficult to like someone that has too much... I didn't like her at first either, I was jealous I hate to admit.

    The truth is Team JJ has been through their hardest year yet. Replacing Cathy O was a decision they all agonized over but her negative and controlling behavior was too much to stand; curling wasn't fun any more. They knew the media would have a field day with it but also knew they had no choice; I applaud their courage to make a very unpopular decision in order to deal with a situation making them all extremely unhappy.

    The result, after a season of the press/fans/Cathy lashing out at them and having to learn how to play with someone new, they still got a silver at the Scotties and found a great person/player in Kaitlyn who completes the team, helping create an environment where everyone's once again happy to be curling. They no longer have to walk on eggshells around someone who is very unhappy and willing to share that unhappiness with those around them. Hopefully she's able to get help before more people close to her are forced to leave her for their own good... no one should ever accept abuse from others, verbal or otherwise.

  22. Thanks for all your comments, everyone (mostly Anonymouses, but also Jennifer and Jon Doh). As observers, we can't really know what goes on inside the relationship between (and among) these curlers. It's fascinating to watch, and lots of fun to speculate. In this case, the media helped us along - and that's where my complaint lies.

    There are two sides to every story, as Jon Doh points out, and I'd rather not be pressed by the media to choose one 'side' over the other, eg. "mean" Jennifer and "poor" Cathy. That was the motivation for my original post. I would like to hear the story from the inside, but that's probably not going to happen. Jennifer has made her public position clear, and she isn't being drawn into any further discussion. Fair enough. And Cathy was put in the media spotlight over and over with questions focusing on how hard it's been for her and how badly she was treated. Hard for her to avoid appearing as anything other than a victim.

    Your comments have been great, though, and I appreciate hearing from all sides. Thanks for reading my blog!

  23. Hello. Iam a Curler(from Europe) myself.

    I agree that every story has two sides.

    What I want to say:

    It the view from the outside is really against JJ. You dont dump someone this late in the Season.
    What I think is the worst is the Fact that they didnt talk to Cathy about it. If they would have told her that they want to dump, maybe they would have come to an Conclusion ( of what ever their problem was.)

    What John Doh said about Cathy may be the Tuth but I say why did they not dump her before. Why play with her for 3+ years and then dump her. If she has a bad behaivour than say NOOOO after the First Season.

    Last I want to say. For every Fight you need 2sides. ( means there are always 2 partys Involved and neither one is Innocent)

  24. Re: Cathy Overton-Clapham being cut ... for the record, the timing was terrible. If J. Jones were my friend and did this to me, I'd be VERY upset. When one has earned the spot, that one should be on the team & COC earned the right.

    Right now it is December 3rd 2011 and Team Jennifer Jones just won the semi-final. Team Jennifer Jones Team Vs Team Chelsea Carey tomorrow in Sunday's championship game. Nice to see "my fellow Quebecer" Joelle Sabourin on the team. She is a good fit filling in for Jill Officier.

    What I would like to know right now is: Has Jill's baby been born? Due date right around now, December 3rd. An update on Jill would be nice.

    - Sue Dykhuis

  25. Hmmmmm Looks like Jennifer Jones hasnt won that much since changing her third. Looks like she loves dumping so called people that she claims she loves.Nough said just an observation

    1. Hmmmmm Looks like Jennifer Jones hasnt won that much since changing her third. Hey Alberta Bill you might want to check out the Sochi results. Some folks might consider that in the "won much", column.

  26. It was the right move to make. Ruthlessness is a virtue, and often necessary. Winning is ALL that matters in sports, not feelings, not niceties. And grandma Cathy was slowing down the train. Jennifer might be a beeotch, but any "B" I've ever known has also been at the top of her field.

  27. Way to go Jennifer Jones and Team Canada winning gold at Sochi 2014! Nuff Said!