Hello curling fans! Welcome back from your summer away from the game!
What’s that you say? It’s still summer? WRONG
It’s curling season.
This week TSN will feature the Everest Curling Challenge; A mixed format event where they handpicked some men’s and women’s teams and will awkwardly force them to play with each other for a weekend for some actual cash.
I honestly wonder how some people sat in a room and thought: “what does curling need? How about a random event in AUGUST before Labour Day where we throw a pile of money at elite curlers to have them play in an event that they surely will not give a rat’s ass about - except for the $$$?”
I am sorry – I am really trying hard to not be cynical here. But here is a thought:
Let’s say you have a pile of corporate cash to give away and you want to run an event in Fredericton. Why wouldn’t you run something like the old McCain Superspiel? A sorely-missed event that actually brought a lot of teams, money and interest to curling in New Brunswick? There is a huge lack of money and competition in East-Coast curling in general. Elite curlers in the Maritimes are an increasingly rare commodity, and are forced into ridiculous travel schedules to try to stay competitive. Why not have a spiel with enough money to draw the best teams in the country East, while giving East Coast teams the opportunity to play an elite event without having to get on an airplane? It seems criminal to me to hold an event in the East Coast without involving a single team from New Brunswick or Nova Scotia. (and maybe don't hold it in August) Did we really need another Continental Cup?
But alas this is the new way of curling. The notion of having a large base of competitive curlers across the country is a bygone notion, destined for the dusty shelves along with corn brooms and wool sweaters. Curling is about the elite: those who are chasing the Olympic Rings and often are not bound by such trivialities as day jobs. Days of 64-team events are as dead as the idea of sitting down with your opponents after a game.
Sigh. I sound like an old communist.
(btw - if you are on Twitter - worth following @cullentheculer if you do not already - a stand-up comedian/curler and with a refreshingly honest and similar view)
On a brighter note, my season kicks off on Labour Day weekend in Toronto! We step on the ice – careful to remember to put the grippy foot down first, and start playing immediately against the Olympic silver medalists from Scotland. Not surprisingly, practice ice in Montreal is hard to come by this time of year, so this will be our first time on the ice.
Few clubs seem to have the infrastructure needed to have ice when it is still hot outside, and I am not sure the demand would be there anyway. Still need to keep buying 6/49 tickets so as to be able to build my own basement curling club.
So what to expect from the upcoming season in Quebec?
Ferly and Ménard are back with the same squads, (as tempting as it is to float rumours about them changing teams!) and a few minor changes to some of the other top teams. I will update once I start seeing teams on the ice again!
So I was looking back at my blogs from last year…and I did not blog much! Will have to change that this year. Will try posting shorter and more frequent blogs – and maybe even from spiels!