Okay. I will admit it. I got a little emotional watching the Scotties final yesterday. Just a little. I am apparently becoming Mister Softie, which conveniently is the mascot of the Scotties.
Seriously, I have been fighting a serious case of curling depression since Quebec provincials. Competitive curling has been a big part of my life, but there are times where the sport absolutely knocks you on your ass. I wanted to go to the Brier this year. I worked harder than I have ever worked to go, and I am not going. Screw you, curling.
I have been reluctant to even think about curling ever since. I played in some club games (since our competitive season is inevitably over), and have found myself impatient and irritable on the ice. I have not wanted to be there. (apologies to my teammates over the past few weeks). I don’t think I slammed a broom once at Provincials, but last week I threw my fragile, defenseless sliding broom into a wall after missing a shot.
This year seemed to hurt more than others.
I really rued the idea of watching the inevitable barrage of TV curling that follows losing at Provincials. The Scotties. The Brier. After a year where I felt like it was ours to win or lose, it feels like you are forced to watch the girl who dumped you on a date with her new boyfriend.
But the Scotties this year brought me back. It was that good.
It was a reminder of what the sport is all about. It had drama, it had tales of redemption, it had underdog stories aplenty and it had a joyous ending. The quality of curling was very high. the Scotties reminded me that I love curling.
So what happened?
- Kerri Einerson pulled out an extra end win. She gassed a draw to the 4-foot in the 10th end for the win, before pinning it in the extra end. Every skip in Canada has felt her pain in 10. That feeling of having let down your team; that feeling of blowing what should be an easy win. The TV close-up actually showed her soul leaving her body as she watched her rock slide through the 4-foot. For her to come back and make the same shot in the extra end to win was a beautiful and fitting end to the week. They were the best team all week and deserved the win. Watching their emotion at wining was both moving and heartwarming.
- Team Homan is awesome. They are smart, and tough, and have only gotten better. They look so much more seasoned, and play with more feel than before. There has been a sense that they might not be as sharp - that maybe life is getting in the way of their curling. WRONG!
- Krista McCarville and her story is the reason I still curl. She is an amateur, playing with the pros and beating them. She has shown that you can win, and have a life. She does not play in the Slams, she has no giant sponsor. She is just good at curling, and loves it. If you are not cheering for this team at the Scotties, you must be the kind of sports fan that cheers for the Yankees, or Manchester United. But if you love a good underdog story, this was it.
- Loved watching Lori Eddy win a few games for Nunavut. She is an awesome ambassador for the sport. If you are not listening to her 2 girls and a game podcast, you are missing out.
- My Quebec friends had a rough week and finished at 0-7. But they played some big games. They took Carey to an extra end, and were close in 3 or 4 other games. I am sure they are pissed about not getting a W, but surely grew by leaps and bounds as curlers.
- Loved the Aly Jenkins tribute at the opening. Aly Jenkins was a competitive curler from Saskatchewan who died in childbirth late last year. Also – the Devin Heroux piece on CBC.ca is a beautiful piece of writing. Worth a read (there must be something in my eye): https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/winter/curling/aly-jenkins-tragedy-family-1.5470246
- Lots of discussion early this week about TSN's choice of feature games. They showed the same teams over and over again (especially Jones), while shunning up and coming teams such as BC and New Brunswick, who were also in the playoff mix. I get that they want to show the most popular teams to draw the most viewers, but it would have been fun early in the week to see some of these teams. Back in the day, there seemed to be an effort to make sure everybody got one game on TV. I don't think this can work with the new format, so I understand TSN choosing the big names...but the fact is there is so much value for new young teams to get some TV time that I think more effort should be put into balancing this.