Okay, first of all my apologies for not blogging for almost a month now. Having three kids, a job, a wife and trying to curl competitively is a bit like trying to drive while talking on your cell phone, eating a hamburger, texting and changing your socks at the same time. My usual hours dedicated to blogging have recently been spent passed out.
So what have I missed? Well, there has been some curling.So far, a few teams are somewhat hot in the competitive world, although nobody seems to be on fire.
- JM Ménard and friends are off to a good start, having won a few bucks at a very tough Shorty Jenkins cashspiel and the Mac Ice Classic.- MF Larouche has won already, and has looked somewhat dominant so far in Quebec.
- Pierre Charette’s senior team has won more money already than most men’s teams.
- Lemay and Ferly have each won an Open, but not much else.
- Guy Hemmings (back after a year off) qualified in a tough spiel in Toronto, playing with Francois Gagné.
- The rest of the teams are off to a relatively slow start.
My new team has played well so far, having lost the semis at the Mac Ice to the eventual winner. Still early, but I like what I see so far! However, I am having to learn how to curl and call sweeping in French. It does not sound natural so far. Here is what I have picked up so far, with the English translation for my out of province readers:
“Y’a de la place en masse, stie!” (Room)
“La ligne est sublime” (Line is good – learned this one from Robert Desjardins!)
"T'étais tight en calisse" (You were just a bit inside)“T’as manqué le crisse de balai, Phoque” (Your pet seal named Chris missed the broom)
“On est dans marde, tabernak.” (I do not see an easy shot for us to escape from this difficult situation)
“Arrête de regarder la fille avec les belles fesses sur la glace à côté". (Perhaps you should direct your attention to our game, and not the adjoining sheet)
(note - surprisingly I did not take this picture)
Live and learn.
The next few weeks offer some more interesting curling, like the Gatineau Chateau Cartier Challenge, featuring most of the top teams in Eastern Canada. This is followed by the Circuit Provincial finals. After these two events, you can usually figure out who is going to be fighting for the top of the money tour.
The Last Mixed:
The CCA has announced its new format for the Mixed Nationals; it will eventually be replaced by the Mixed Doubles format, the first event being held this year in Leduc, Alberta in the spring. I am not sure if there will be another Mixed Provincial championship this year, or if I am the last Quebec Mixed champion. I assume CQ will follow the CCA, which means there might be one more, as there is a Mixed National championship planned for November 2013 in Ottawa.
The CCA is doing this to accommodate The World Curling people, who seem to think that mixed doubles is a good idea. (I always though Mixed Doubles was what you ordered at the bar after a tough loss). They are trying to have mixed doubles included as an Olympic Sport in 2018, and ensuring solid Canadian participation has become a priority.
For those of you who have never played a game of mixed doubles (which includes me!), mixed doubles is a little bit like real curling, only sillier. Each team throws five rocks per end, and two rocks are already placed in front or in the rings before each end starts. You sweep your own stones, and are still encouraged to yell. It’s kind of like curling-“light”. Kind of like having NFL players playing flag football, or watching the PGA tour playing at a pitch-and-putt. It seems like a game that I would play for practice.
It all seems like an inglorious end to Mixed curling in Canada. The Mixed has served as a proving ground for some of the game’s biggest names, who obtained National-level experience at the Mixed before going on to Brier or Scotties success. Eve Bélisle, Guy Hemmings, Jean-Michel Ménard, Pierre Charette come to mind in Quebec, all having won the Mixed prior to their National success. I understand the desire to comply with World standards, I just think we should have more power to change the standards. As much as I would like to see another sport where Canada could medal, Mixed Doubles has no more place at the Olympics than Ice Fishing.
I don’t like being a naysayer, or a guy who is against change, but this seems like a bad one to me. However, I have to admit, the Mixed as an event no longer seems to attract the same quality of teams and players as it did a while back.
So amazingly the NHL and Players union have once again conspired to shut down hockey for a while. I never understand how not playing is better than playing while negotiating a settlement. What is achieved by reaching a deal only after a lockout? I think a movement should be started to boycott the first game back. Not the season, not a week, just the first game. Teach these guys a lesson. Make them play in front of an empty arena, at least once, if only for their first game back. Remind them that we are the ones paying for all of this. Otherwise, the next lockout/strike will only be a few years away.
Just a dream – of course they will be welcomed back with full arenas and countless masses paying $200 for their authentic Colby Armstrong jersey. Blech.