Ray Lee

Becoming a turkey

There is an old aphorism that illustrates the difference in meaning between the words ‘involved’ and ‘committed’.  It says that at Thanksgiving, the chef is involved, but the turkey is committed.  It’s a transition I have just undergone myself with respect to the Venice Cup which starts next Monday.

For the last couple of weeks I have been watching Linda’s preparation for the event as the Canadian team captain, and even helped with some of the analysis of the opponents systems and conventions. I was definitely involved, but that was all.  J’avais d’autres chats a fouetter, as the French so colourfully put it.  No more.  With the news yesterday afternoon that Rhoda Habert had come down with pneumonia, we launched into 12 hours of frenzied team discussions which ended with Linda being drafted as a player, and my replacing her as captain (I was going anyway, so already have a plane ticket and visa).  We did try contacting several other possible players, but the likelihood of anyone being able to drop everything and fly to Shanghai at a moment’s notice was never high, especially when you consider the time required to get a visa for travel to China.  So in the end,  it was the only sensible solution.  In Linda, the team is adding someone who’s played in the both of the most recent Olympiad and Venice Cup events, finishing 5th-8th in the latter. I have attended many world championships, and at least know the ropes fairly well from the Ray Leeistrative side.

Our first problem, of course, is pairing and system changes.  After some discussion, it was agreed the best way to proceed was for Sylvia and Isabelle to resume their old partnership, and for Linda to play with Pamela.   That means intense and rapid system discussions for the latter pair, and filing the two new systems with the WBF for approval and circulation to the other 21 teams.  Fortunately, we think they will both end up playing something very similar to what has already been filed, so it isn’t likely to be a problem.

However, if you’ve looked at any of the systems posted on the Ecats web site, you’ll know that filling out the WBF card takes more than a few minutes; detailed notes must be attached in many places also.  So we all have a lot of work ahead of us.

Meanwhile everyone’s preparation has been blown apart by this sudden turn of events, and my first job will probably be to help them get their focus back on playing.  After all this time of looking forward to it, we leave Thursday (several of the team are on their way tomorrow in fact), arriving in Shanghai Friday.  We’ll have a little under 48 hours to try to relax and get over the jet lag before the Opening Ceremonies on Sunday night.

I had been planning to blog from Shanghai anyway, but from the ‘involved’ point of view.  Now I’m ‘committed’ instead, my blogs will probably have a little different flavour.  Meanwhile, Linda will be describing the event from a player’s perspective, not something she had planned on!  Stay tuned.


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