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I recently read a NY times article and I am not sure why the writer says “Never mind that...”:

On Tuesday afternoon, townspeople gathered inside the gymnasium here at Uiseong Girls High School to root for the South Korean women’s curling team, whose match against the United States was shown on a big screen as an M.C. leaned into a microphone and banged on a drum. “I skip dinner whenever they’re playing,” said Chung Poong-ja, 75, who danced on the gym floor once the South Koreans sealed their victory against the Americans. “My focus needs to be on the match.” Kim Sung-hee, 67, said, “I lost my voice from cheering so hard.” It was the biggest, loudest party in the province, and for good reason: The team’s top four players grew up in this small city of about 54,000 people and graduated from this high school. Now, thanks to an improbable run at the Olympics being held in Pyeongchang, about 80 miles to the north, the team- dubbed the Garlic Girls by the Korean press, owing to the region’s production of garlic - seems on the cusp of international celebrity. Never mind that the Garlic Girls, with their dominant record in pool play, have vaulted themselves into medal position in a sport that is still foreign to most South Koreans.

Does it mean “do not be upset with the fact”? I tried to search and I found “do not be upset” and “despite the fact that”, and still I am not sure the meaning of that sentence.

And I also would like to know if “run” of “an improbable run” means “the series of successes”.

I searched for them on dictionaries but still I am not sure. Please help me. Thank you in advance!

(+) Actually I asked this question to my English speaking teacher and he answered Never mind that means despite. But I am so confused cuz if Never mind that means despite, there is no main clause: despite the fact that the girls have vaulted....? It does not make sense to me. If never mind that means despite, how can I rephrase the sentence using despite? My teacher said “despite the fact that the Korean spectators are unfamiliar with the game, there is local enthusiasm” but I don’t know why “never mind that the girls have vaulted...” become that sentence. Does my teacher mean “that” of “never mind that” is a pronoun so that it is like “never mind that, the girls have vaulted...”? Then I understand why he said despite.

  • It's kind of like "put that to one side for the moment, wait until you hear about this". – Andre Feb 22 '18 at 12:31
  • @Andre that would usually have a comma or semicolon after "that", i.e. Never mind that; the ... – Will Crawford Feb 23 '18 at 10:01
  • This is general reference, Mango. CED gives: << never mind that [informal] ​ despite the fact that: He's going on holiday for the third time this year, never mind that he has hardly any money left. >> – Edwin Ashworth Feb 23 '18 at 11:49
  • @EdwinAshworth Hi, thanks for answering. Actually I asked this question to my English speaking teacher and he answered the same. But I am not sure about it cuz if Never mind that means despite, there is no main clause: despite the fact that the girls have vaulted....? It does not make sense to me. If never mind that means despite, how can I rephrase the sentence using despite? My teacher said “despite the fact that the Korean spectators are unfamiliar with the game, there is local enthusiasm” but I don’t know why “never mind that the girls have vaulted...” become that meaning. – Mango Gummy Feb 23 '18 at 13:42
  • But the reference says 'Never mind that' means 'Despite the fact that'. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 23 '18 at 13:55
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I think it is poorly written, the author's intent is not clear.

The general pattern is something like

never mind {apparent disadvantage} - {point out achievement}

the ordering can vary

In this case the apparent disadvantage is the obscurity of the sport in that country. The achievement is winning.

To put it another way, the team's fellow countrymen and women are very enthusiastic about this victory and do not mind that they never heard of the sport before.

Alternatively, their enthusiasm is despite the sport's obscurity.

  • Okay. Thanks. But is “that” of “never mind that” a pronoun? It looks like a conjunction and if it is a conjunction, how does it mean despite the sport’s obscurity there is enthusiasm in Korea? If that is a conjunction, is a noun (like the fact that the sport is unfamiliar with the townspeople) omitted? – Mango Gummy Feb 23 '18 at 13:55
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"run" :

Improbable means which is unlikely to happen. You are right with the meaning as well. They are S Koreans who beat the Americans; Americans dominate the Winter Olympics along with Canada and Europe. That is why it is improbable. "never mind that..."

It seems to be written with the American audience in picture. The South Korean girls have mastered the sport and are not unfamiliar with it like most compatriots in the region. The reporter seems to point out that the girls are pros and not just first-timers or novice. So don't get very excited or upset about this fact because they have a dominant record the pool play. As if the reporter's saying, "You can ignore this achievement.."

  • sorry about the indentation. I edited the post but it's not reflecting. – K-devlife10 Feb 22 '18 at 12:40
  • Thank you so much. Could you please explain more about “you can ignore this achievement” part? Does it mean “you can ignore this achievement since they are pros”? Thanks again. – Mango Gummy Feb 22 '18 at 14:56
  • @MangoGummy You are absolutely right! The reporter might have written it sarcastically. – K-devlife10 Feb 23 '18 at 6:26
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Never mind that… here means despite or disregarding.

It’s not suggesting that the audience of the piece should ignore the team’s success, or ability; it’s observing that the locals have overlooked these, in giving the team members the nickname.

  • Thank you. Um then if never mind that means despite, how can I rephrase the sentence? Despite the face that the girls have vaulted themselves into medal position...? Sorry, I don’t get it yet. – Mango Gummy Feb 23 '18 at 6:35
  • “that” in “never mind that” is a pronoun? or is it a that clause? – Mango Gummy Feb 23 '18 at 9:50
  • WELL, I read it initially as something like Even though they've had this massive success, they've been landed with the ridiculous nickname ... but I'm not so sure now I've re-read it a few more times :o) On reflection, @RedGrittyBrick's answer is probably a better explanation (the article is poorly phrased). – Will Crawford Feb 23 '18 at 12:26

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