I am not often moved to blog about things I read in the tabloid press, but I was incensed by this ignorant, poorly researched piece of trash “journalism” perpetrated by a pompous columnist called Richard Godwin in a rag called the London Evening Standard.
It was a wholly unjustified and vitriolic attack on the sport of curling – a game invented by Scots in the middle-ages (and not by some Swiss psychiatrist as inaccurately claimed by Godwin in his spiteful column). In his fury that curling should receive funding while British basketball is having its cut, he resorts to the childish and offensive, calling curlers “numpties” and describing the game as “somewhere between the Eurovision Song Contest and Tiddlywinks”, and “a symptom of everything wrong with Britain”.
Those who are cutting funding to basketball, he says, are ignoring the widespread popularity of that game at grass roots level.
If he had the least idea what curling was about, he would know that it is played week-in, week-out through the winter by thousands of curlers in dozens of leagues all over Scotland, and elsewhere in the UK. I should know, I was one of them for many years. It is a testing and skilful game, that requires intelligent strategy, technique, fitness and strength. It is a wonderfully social game that involves people of all ages, from children through to the very elderly (who can adapt their game to suit personal physical abilities). It develops competitive spirit, but also social and family skills – it is a game often played by whole families. And if Godwin had ever spent two hours on a curling rink he would know just how physically demanding it is – encouraging fitness and health in all. But, then, he probably never steps beyond the door of his local London wine bar.
However, here’s a piece of information that Godwin might have uncovered had he not been so journalistically challenged and blinded by his own ignorant prejudice:
In the last 100 years, Britain has won two gold medals in Olympic Curling. British basketball has won none. I am not suggesting that as a reason for de-funding British basketball, but it places Godwin’s ludicrous logic in its proper perspective.
His column was not only ill-informed and hopelessly prejudiced, but it was deeply offensive to the many thousands of people who play the game at all levels, and nothing short of insulting to the Scots who comprise the men’s and women’s British Olympic curling teams and who sacrifice their time and their social lives, just like any other athletes, to perform the best they can for Britain.
They deserve better than weasel words from Richard Godwin and the London Evening Standard.