IT’S CURLING SEASON!!! Put away those flip flops, hide the golf clubs, empty the pool and start stretching!
For Team Fournier, The season starts next week in Brockville…er wait I mean Cornwall at the Shorty Jenkins Classic. For those of my readers who do not who Shorty Jenkins is… Cmon – you don’t know who Shorty Jenkins is? He is the King of Swing, Canada’s premier Iceman who sadly passed away a few years back. Shorty was basically the guy who figured out that curling was more fun with rocks that curl, so he used sandpaper to make rocks grip and curl more. For this innovation – he was heralded as a genius, and even given his own Tim Horton’s commercial.
This year the spiel has been moved to Cornwall CC, due to some technical problems with the compressor in Brockville. BTW – if you are in the Montreal area – this might be the best chance for you to see Canada’s best men’s and women’s teams competing. Here is the schedule:
The Shorty Jenkins has typically been the opening of the competitive curling season – a laid back event where the country’s best competed, and also got to play some free golf at the Brockville CG.
But this is no longer the start of the competitive season. Not even close. For some reason, the curling season now starts on Labour Day weekend in Toronto. Then off to ironically-named Paradise Newfoundland for the 1st slam of the season – this weekend.
I really just don’t get the desire to move the season earlier. I LOVE curling. And I think curling on Labour Day is a bit crazy. Plus we have to convince curling clubs to put ice in when its 30 degrees out. Why? Do we think that starting earlier makes us better? Are we more competitive as a curling nation because we are dumb enough to stand in a meat freezer when everybody else is at the beach?
Maybe I am old fashioned – but I believe winter sports should be played in the winter. Or at least fall. Brockville used to be a nice transition into curling: and you got to take a few last licks with your golf clubs before putting them away. But now starting in Brockville makes me feel like I missed the boat! I will be playing my first game of the season against Scotland’s David Murdoch, who will be on his 3rd spiel as I try to remember the difference between an inturn and an outturn.
Uh - Sorry
Okay – small problem. Was in a grumpy mood last March watching the Brier and wrote a nasty blog about Team Jacobs. It never really occurred to me that Team Jacobs might actually read my blog. But this blog got shared and re-shared and went kinda viral, and ended up getting a big pile of reads. And if you read the comments – it seems to have gotten some people rather irate. So Brad and Team – if you do happen to ever read my blog;
b) I am not a hater. I was writing ironically. Well not really ironically – but you know what I mean.
c) I really didn’t mean to imply that you guys were steroid users. I am sure your muscles are the result of many hours of lifting really heavy things and making squinty faces at the gym.
d) I am sorry about the tattoo joke. If I won an Olympic Gold medal I would probably tattoo it on my forehead and numerous other body parts.
e) I am sorry about mocking your celebratory grunting. Clearly this is a generational thing. I think I am from the generation of curlers that tried to look like they expected to make the shot
f) I still might cheer against you guys this season – but in a friendly, playful kind of way (like the way I will cheer against the Jays and Leafs).
g) Please don’t hurt me.
h) If I do happen to play you – I will make sure to not kneel or drag any body parts on the ice! I know that makes you guys angry. And we know what happens when you guys get angry: https://youtu.be/0lvPn_LOn2o
The Tier 2 Slam?
So there is a slam going on in Paradise Newfoundland…but there is also a Tier 2 Event. This is WCT's effort at involving more teams, and trying to create a feeder tour for the Grand Slam Events. The Tier 2 event is for teams that do not qualify for the slams, but are looking for a way to break into the big events! Some familiar names and teams from the East – Gratton, Dacey plus a few teams that made the trip from far away.
I wish I could have gone. Not sure how to get invited to these…I guess I need to be a little higher in the World rankings. Anyway – seems like a good initiative – and more of these events are needed! I hope the Slams keep putting these on – and hopefully in more easily accessible locations and after a few teams have had a chance to curl a bit! But this a is a start! Hope they do not judge the success of the event by the lack of interest in the 1st one. So far it is the only Tier 2 event on the calendar. If it is the only one – then it is a shame!
Curling Quebec Excellence Camp.
So CQ did something very cool this summer. They invited some of the top curling coaches in Canada, as well as Quebec’s top coaches to give a curling clinic to some of Quebec’s top Men’s women’s and junior teams.
Big thanks to Bill Tschirart and Jim Waite who did a number of presentations both on the cold side and the warm side of the glass. We worry a lot about getting our bodies in shape for curling season – good to be reminded to get our minds in shape as well.
It was awesome to see 3 of Quebec’s top women’s teams (Mann, Larouche and Perron) all stepping up their games by adding coaches, psychologists, nutritionists, stylists, hypnotists, spiritualists…whatever it takes to get them to the next level. It seems like so many teams are working so hard and getting the help they need to compete at the top level. Hopefully we will see some results this season and at the Scotties.
Our sponsor is kicking some ass. Hardline Curling, makers of the Icepad, are on a serious run of converting the top teams in the world to their use their brooms. They have added Laycock and now the mighty Brad Gushue, adding to the credibility of their message.
I can guarantee you, as McEwen and Gushue kick off their Olympic Qualifying run, they would not be playing with these brooms unless they were 100% sure that they are better than the alternatives.
I tried, I really tried. I watched a Blue Jays game. I tried to say YAY when they scored. I talked about how good Price is, about Donaldson’s catch, about Tulo and how good they are. But I can’t do it. I can’t bring myself to cheer for a Toronto Sports team. I have been living in Montreal too long. Best I can do: I won’t cheer against them. Much.