Bronze medal games at The Scotties and Brier are wrongly maligned. It’s good curling

It seems fashionable to bash the idea of bronze medal games at both The Scotties and The Brier. There's no shortage of vitriol from fans and players alike and that was evident once again Sunday as British Columbia's Kelly Scott was winning a beauty over Heather Nedohin and Team Canada.

A cursory check of twitter - the go-to portal for complaints about anything - showed a certain amount of dismay over the fact that the Canadian Curling Association has the audacity to ask teams to play for a bronze medal.

Some players have complained. Lots of fans, too.

But I come to praise the game, not to ask to have it buried.

Once again, Sunday's bronze medal game at The Scotties showed there is plenty of reason to want to see it played. Scott bested Nedohin 10-8 to nab a bronze to go along with last year's silver. Oh, and the two championships she's won as well.

As has been the case each and every time this game has been played at both The Scotties and The Brier, Scott and Nedohin engaged in an entertaining affair, filled with interesting scenarios fueled by a bit of a devil-may-care attitude towards strategy.

It's not that the players don't care about the outcome. If they didn't, why would both Scott and Nedohin call timeouts during a nervous tenth end? The players do care, because that's what they do. They care when they step on the ice. It's just that when the stakes are not a gold medal and a trip to the world championships, you can allow your inner gambler to take centre stage.

That inner gambler usually leads to more rocks in play and decisions that might not otherwise see the light of day in a higher stakes game.

That leads to fun curling to watch.

Last year's Scotties bronze medal game was the same way. Quebec and Manitoba dueled in a spirited, interesting affair, with Jennifer Jones coming out on top in an 8-6 decision.

The first year that the third place game was implemented (2011) at The Brier, a bronze medal beauty between Brad Gushue and Kevin Martin resulted in a 10-5 victory for Gushue, who revealed that it was a more pleasant experience than he thought it might be, after dealing with the heartbreak of a playoff loss.

Last year, in Saskatoon, Territories skip Jamie Koe admitted that he took the game so lightly that he headed for the Brier patch the night before and indulged in behaviour that had him less than in tip-top shape for his match with Manitoba's Rob Fowler the next day.

The two disappointed skips threw caution to the win in another beauty, won by Fowler, 8-7 in an extra end.

Today's game between Scott and Nedohin adds another chapter to the short but illustrious history of the bronze medal game at The Scotties and Brier.

Forget about dumping on this game. It's a crowd pleaser. It has a knack for providing terrific curling entertainment.

That's what this game - and any other - is all about.