My golf clubs have gone from my car trunk to my closet, therefore it must be curling season.
Many of Quebec's finest have already been out curling in Brockville and Trois Rivieres, but most teams will be starting up in the next few weeks as clubs put their ice in.
I have never understood the idea of curling in September, especially before my curling club opens. I like to practice. But apparently September is the new October, and most competitive teams feel the need to get out early and often.
So who are the favorites on the men's side? Who is worth talking about? Who will win? Who will be broken up by November?
1. Jimmy Menard
The first team to talk about is of course Jean Michel. While they did not win last year, they are undoubtedly always the favorites heading into the season. Their VERY impressive win at the Shorty in Brockville last week (they beat Stoughton, Howard and Jacobs on the same day!!) confirms their status as the top dog in Quebec curling. And for the first time, they are dressing as loudly as they yell, with some serious seizure-inducing pants.
JM seems to have taken their defeat last year at provincials personally. They seem mad. They will be insanely tough to beat. This team has longevity, chemistry and talent
JM is a new Dad, as is Martin. Speaking from experience, it gets a lot harder to find time to throw the practice rocks you need to stay sharp. Not a big obstacle, but worth considering.
2: Marty Ferly:
Ferland is back with the same team, surely with the bitter taste of defeat in their mouths, after an extra end loss to go to the Brier. Will they be better or worse? Frank and Max provide some serious experience. And the thinner of the Fowler brothers adds some intense sweeping ability. Tough to bounce back after having come so close last year.
This is technically as good a team as there is. Look to them to have a strong cash season as well.
Been there, done that. Experienced team, big shot makers.
They always look angry on the ice. But I guess it works for them.
3: Serge "I can't believe I finally won" Reid.
Serge comes off a season where he provided hope to all the "B" teams in the province. For many years, only the 1 or 2 top seed went to the Brier. Serge proved the pundits wrong, and pulled off arguably the biggest upset at Quebec Provincials since...Ghislain Doyon?
This team was always good, but never great. So how will they do this year? Well, they are surely not lacking in confidence. It is difficult to see them repeating as champions, but nobody would have predicted them winning last year. Who knows - they will likely struggle in the cash circuit...expectations will be tough to manage.
Is this a dynasty - or a "one hit wonder"?
4. Bob the Legend Desjardins.
For those who do not know - Bob is playing with Francois Gagne, Christian Bouchard and Phil Menard. This team is like women who claim to be impregnated by space aliens: you don't know how it happened, and you are not sure what is going to come out in the end.
Bob and Frank are among the best shotmakers in the land, but can they play together?
This is the mystery team of the year. They could be great - or they could be killing each other by November.
5. Simon "he's just gone for a quick smoke outside" Dupuis
Simon returns with his cast of veterans. Dan and Louis will win games just by being Dan and Louis. Simon has all of the shots in his bag. This is a dangerous team - but they can also slip off the rails pretty quickly. They can beat anyone, but can also lose to anyone in spectacular fashion.
Always an entertaining team to play against.
6. Johnny King (Jean Sebastien Roy)
A new team - JS after taking a year off has come back to competitive curling with Steven Munroe, Phil Brassard and Dany Beaulieu. An interseting new team, remains to be seen how JS will do skipping, and how these guys will fit together. Good poetential - let's see if they can reach it. each of the guys has good experience and past successes.
7. Me (Mike Fournier)
Had to include myself somewhere. I have picked up Tom "don't worry" Wharry to play 3rd, otherwise the same squad as last year. We should be solidly decent - always a danger depending on which team shows up.
We seem to be having injury problems (Derek's leg looked like one of those angled performance brush handles this summer after he ran himself over with an ATV). And Tom is still learning which end of the brush to use. Might take us a while to get going...
8. Pierre (the Genius) Charette:
Isnt this a senior team? Pierre being Pierre - he will find a way to win far more games than he should in men's spiels. Not sure who is team is from tournamnet to tournament, but whoever shows up - they will win games. (is Louis playing with Pierre or Simon or both or neither)
9. Danny Bedard - Dale Ness:
Not sure how many spiels these guys will be playing this year - but when they do show up they will be tough to beat.
Anybody I missed? Feel free to add a comment about anyone else.