Favorite Reporter

Favorite Reporter

Friday, January 28, 2011


Well, we are but a few days away from the start of Quebec's first combined Men's and Women's provincial championship.

I have to admit, I am severely bummed about not being there.
I kinda feel like the girl who did not get asked to go to the prom. I think I will sit alone at home and eat ice cream.
To make it worse, Mike and Tom got asked to spare/5th man for other Montreal teams...so I really feel like the only serious curler who will not be in Gatineau this weekend.

I definitely intend to drive up and try to watch some curling...not sure when but Gatineau is pretty close, and there should be some hot curling. But it will be with a heavy heart.

I am guessing people are expecting some sort of prognostication - so here are the odds:

JM Menerd : 3-1
There is no clear favorite this year, but JM is as close as you get to one. They have won a lot this year, and still seem hungry. We need to see these pants at the brier:

Martin Ferland: 4-1
They have been up - they have been down. This team is tough - and they won Laval, the final tune-up before provs.  And they now have numbers on their jackets. Too cool.

Serge Reid: 6-1
Ok. This team has been a Cinderella story since last year's provincials. They went from rags to riches. My prediction: they will struggle this week - Its midnight.

Bob Dejardins / Frankie Gagné: 6-1
This team has been strangely good since dropping Bob to 3rd. They are my "Dark Horse" pick of the week.

Guy Hemmings:  10-1
New team with Simon playing 3rd. Prediction: Simon will get accidentally locked out of the arena while sneaking out for a smoke between ends, and will have to buy a $10 ticket to get back in.

Danny Bedard:  10-1
Streaky Team - have never looked all that spectacular this year.

JS Roy: 8-1
They won the circuit - but that was pretty much all they did this year. I can't see them winning, but they can beat anyone as well.

Everybody else (Martel, Lawton and Briand) 40-1, and I will say 10-1 against any of them making the playoffs. However, these are not bad teams, and can beat anyone. They will likely play the role of spoiler, because you know that one of them will beat a big name.

For the women's, I will not run through all of the teams. Only 6 have a real shot:

Eve Belisle: Defending champ has not been heard from much this year. But has the experience to win it all. 

Marie France: Solid line-up. Tough to not pick them to win. And they look cool in their Star trek Uniforms. Here is their 5th player...

Chantal Osborne: This team is overloaded with experience. Collectively they have more hearts than a Hallmark store on Valentine's day. Joelle Sabourin always seems to find herself on the team that wins.

Kim Mastine: A good team - but have struggled this year. Can they pull it together?

Joelle Belley and MC Cantin have an outside shot, but will more than likely play spoilers.

I will go out on a limb and pick Chantal to win at home.

If you are a curling fan in Quebec (or even Ottawa), you should try to go to provincials. The new combined format is supposed to make the event more accessible to fans - we need to show that we can fill an arena for a curling game.

Juniors: Junior Nationals are this week in Calgary! Good luck to Alanna and team.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Continen.......zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Ok - here is my report on the Continental Cup....
There was some....curl....


I admit. I totally fell asleep every time I turned it on.
It was so boring, I looked forward to the Tim Horton's commercial.
It was so boring, I channel surfed to an infomercial for a vegetable slicer, and I don't even like vegetables.
It was so boring, I started reading the John Morris fitness book to pass the time. (ok it wasn't THAT boring).
It was so predictable, I was cheering for the Europeans.
They could at least have invited the young babe team from Sweden to at least have some eye candy on the ice. Or what about Jackie Lockhart? C'mon CCA, give me something to watch!

Seriously, I have a difficult time being a curling fan when it comes to these contrieved events. Does this event actually make any money? Or does it just funnel more money to the teams who need it the least?

Every time they showed the crowd, there were 10 sleeping seniors in the crowd. I think I saw more people watching my last club ladder game at Glenmore.

I think the CCA should try to work on events that make curling better, and this is definitely not one of them. Heard a rumour about an East vs. West team event in the works. That could be more interesting...and I would not have to watch the painfully boring American teams.

But honestly, I am a curling fan...and I think there is a real danger of saturating the TV potential of the sport. What is next? A curling reality show? Maybe a little scarcity would be a good thing.


Martin Ferly won the Laval Open this weekend. He beat Fred Marchand (who knocked off JM Menard in the semis) in the final.
Strangely, I played in this tournament despite my end of season malaise...and predictably lost to guys I had never heard of.
I think there was a seniors event on as well, but I was too sleep-deprived to notice.
I am not sure if it is because my curling pants look like I am wearing pyjamas, but this year I always seem to be getting draws that have me playing after midnight. (My Friday game ended at 1:30AM, Saturday 2:20AM). I am really crappy late at night. After midnight is meant for sleeping, drinking, partying, and ....,  not curling.

Oh - and I take back what I said about Luc Chevalier being a nice guy; he stole my fork on multiple occasions during the fondue dinner. Bastard.


Somehow forgot to mention last week that my illustrious 2nd at Glenmore won the Juniors last week and will represent Quebec at Nationals in Calgary. Bold prediction: Alana and team will make it to the weekend at Nationals.
Here they are...(they are not this blurry in person)

There is a spaghetti dinner at Glenmore this Friday to send them off with a few badly needed bucks in their pockets. Drop by if you are around, all are welcome.


Good news: I hear that RDS has picked up some curling. Apparently they will show 6 games during the championship season, with no less than Guy Hemmings doing the commentary.
I like Guy's commentary - but I think they needed to find the guy who used to do the mini-putt commentary on RDS instead. Here he is calling a birdie:


If this guy could make a sport featuring a guy in a cheap shirt putting with a $20 Sears putter at a crappy mini-putt that does not even have a windmill or a clown sound exciting...imagine what he could do for curling!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Good Grief - and fondue

Well another competitive curling season comes to an end.
Here is my season illustrated:

Like Lucy, curling tempts me with the prospect of success, hope, and potential.
And once again, curling yanked the football away, leaving me flat on my ass.
Losing really sucks.

For those who do not know, my team lost in the West regionals this weekend. We went a stellar 1-2, and were very much outplayed in both of the games we lost. So, another competitive season comes to a close, this year much earlier than in the past. I must say, this is a bit of a tough one to take. I have practiced, practiced and practiced some more to the point where I can say that I am throwing the rock better than I ever have in my life, and yet we lost.

The worst part of being out is that we don't get to play. I really love curling competitively. I love the strategy, I love the games, I love having provincials to look forward to. I love making shots. Being out means I do not get to play anymore meaningful games until next year. Damn.

On the plus side, I find myself with an unused week of vacation, and some actual money left in the team account - some consolation.

Some stories from the West Regionals:

- the big surprise this weekend was Fred Lawton, who played some stellar curling this weekend to qualify. Fred's season so far sounded more like a bad country song than the season of someone who would win the regionals:
"My 3rd is still a -working,
We lost with only three,
My dog also left me,
Poor, poor, poor, me."

But Fred turned it around this weekend, mounting a huge comeback to beat Ted Butler, losing a tight game to Bedard in the A-final, then beating Martin Roy in a hard-fought B-final.

- The number 1 and 2 seeds won a total of one game all weekend. Pierre Charrette and myself never looked like the 1 and 2 seeds, and will thus be watching in Gatineau instead of playing. People will ask what happened. We can definitely talk about the ice at Longue Pointe being brutally straight (which always favours weaker teams), but the truth is we did not play well enough to win. I am guessing Pierre would say the same. They did not look like happy campers.

- Michel Briand predictably secured a spot. Home ice advantage definitely helped, and they played solidly all weekend.

- There were no surprises in the East, with Hemmings, Desjardins and Martel qualifying.


So who has qualified for men's?
Provincials will be:
1. Serge Reid
2. JM-Menard
3. Martin Ferland
4. JS Roy
5. Guy Hemmings
6. Bob Dejardins
7. Yannick Martel
8. Dan Bedard
9. Michel Briand
10. Fred Lawton

It is a strong field -and will provide some excellent curling.
I will provide some insight on this at a later date.


I am playing in the Laval Open this weekend with a motley crew of curlers, including Luc Chevalier, one of the nicest guys in curling. Laval is a well-run spiel - and this year has attracted a strong field of teams looking to tune up for Provincials, including Menard, Ferland and Larouche.
Truthfully, I am just there for the fondue dinner on Saturday evening.

For those of you outside of Quebec who do not know what fondue dinner is -
let me explain the concept:

1. You heat up a beef bouillon in a pot that sits in the middle of the table, using fondue fuel (possibly the most flammable substance on the planet). Usually part or all of the tablecloth is accidentally set on fire during this step.

2. Use fire extinguisher to extinguish fire from step 1.

3. You use a ridiculously sharp fork to impale a thinly sliced piece of meat (usually beef), and then cook said meat in said bouillon for approx 1 min. You can use this time to discuss with your dining companions, or to bandage the wounds on your fingers incurred while impaling the meat on the fork.

4. Fish for meat which has fallen off sharp fork into bouillon.

5. Abandon search for lost meat, steal the fork belonging to one of your table companions. Eat meat.

6. Repeat until full (usually takes 1-2 hours).

This will be my Saturday night!!! Oh yeah.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Stupid Questions About Curling from non-Curlers

I seem to be getting a lot of people asking me about curling lately - but remarkably few people seem to know much about the sport at all.
I thought I would share with you curlers a compendium of the stupid questions that non-curlers ask about the sport - and for you my readers I will provide some excellent stock answers when confronted with baffling ignorance of our fine sport. Please feel free to add to my list in the comments section below.

Top stupid question about curling from non-curlers:

1. Are you the thrower or the sweeper?

I am the sweeping guy. Someday I would like to try to throw the rock, but you have have to be advanced to do that. I find the sport is way more fun when you don't get to throw.

2. Why do you guys yell so much?

Well, we don't really like each other very much. Yelling is our way of abusing people without leaving physical evidence.

3. Is it like bowling?

Yes, it is exactly like bowling. We rent shoes. We wear polyester clothes. When we make three shots in a row, a giant dancing chicken appears on a screen above the ice. The movie Kingpin is exactly what the pro curling tour is like, except with no Amish people.

4. What does the brooming do?

Well to be honest, not much. Its really what the other players do to keep warm while someone else is throwing the rock. And it looks kinda cool.

5. How do you keep score? How much is it worth when you put one in the middle.

It is the same scoring as in darts. The middle is worth 50 points, but only if the rock is all the way into the middle circle, otherwise its 25.

6. I thought curling was for old people - are there young people that play?

Well no. The Canadian Olympic Team's average age was 74 in Vancouver. On the plus side,being in a curling club is a good way to ask around and figure out which old age home I want to be committed to later on. Always think ahead! Plus I like GMILFs, and the smell of Ben Gay turns me on!

7. Isn't curling just an excuse to drink beer?

ok- maybe that one is not such a stupid question.


So far - I am not doing that badly on my New Year's resolutions:

- Have not banged my broom yet
- Have not made sexist remarks about women's curling
- Have thrown a quarry's worth of practice rocks
- Have not made fun of Tom's sweeping (at least not out loud)
- Am still contemplating how to make curling bigger in Montreal

However, I did leave the curling club at 1:30ish after my club game. That one will be hard to keep.
5 out of 6 ain't bad.


Not much curling to update since my last blog - playdowns start this weekend (we actually have seen the draw!) http://www.arcm.ca/.

Junior provincials are underway and both my picks (Rutledge in the women's and Stewart in the men's) are in the a-final! I rock.  www.curling-quebec.com/junior/