Favorite Reporter

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Death Spirals, Drinking Lessons and Senior Peeling

A few things to talk about this week  -forgive me for being late on this one...

1. The Scotties. I am not usually a massive fan of the Scotties. In past years, I have often found the curling during the week relatively boring - but this year seemed different, better.

There were some great stories, and the final was an awesome game. Amber Holland showed a great deal of a little thing called guts. She made the big shots, and looked calm doing it.

Ontario fell short of my prediction, but still showed some impressive play - and tried some shots you usually don't see in women's curling. The shot that ended up killing her against Saskatchewan was a brave attempted double raise pick that would have broken the game open. She was millimeters away from making it, and instead gave up a costly steal of 2, which they never recovered from. But the fact that she even tried that shot was remarkable, and that kind of play will help elevate women's curling in the future.

The Cathy Overton - Jennifer Jones game lived up to the hype. That was a classic case of a skip saying "You will not beat me." Her team was outcurled by a solid 15% (and it felt like more) - she won that game on her own - out of sheer will.
That game makes you realize what it takes to win - and it isn't just a pretty slide. Cathy O is a competitor.
Both Her and JJ were remarkably civil in the press all week when talking about it, but make no mistake there was no love out there, and I am guessing there was some serious celebrating after that game.

2. Rosemere:

Last weekend I played in the Rosemere Cashspiel. This is a truly great tournament. There is great prize money, a solid field of teams, amazing food and warm hospitality. The one element lacking is the ice conditions, which are truly horrific. But all in all a great spiel.
The "favorites" (Ferland, Venne, myself) ) all took a beating, and the final was won by Fred Marchand.
My team performed like a team in a death spiral, losing 2 truly horrific and uninspired games of curling. I am thinking I should just call it a a season and curl drunk for the next few months.

3. Speaking of Curling Drunk...

I realize that curling has made great strides in distancing itself from the perception that it is a drinking sport. It is now an Olympic sport, there is absolutely no drinking allowed in juniors even when they are of age. But it seems to me that this zealous prohibition has taken away one of the main elements that kept me curling in my early 20s once juniors was done: the parties.
I hold very fond memories of tournaments such as the Glenmore Intermediate, the Kenogami spiel and even the Last Chance at Lachine. The competitive season was over, so it was time to relax, have some fun curling and drink a little too much.
The game seemed more social - and strangely think it taught me some valuable life lessons.

So here is a list of lessons learned while curling in drinking-oriented spiels:

1. No matter how drunk you get or how late you stay out - you still have to get up and play your 9AM game. If you can't do the time - don't do the crime!
2. Play hard on the ice - but drink with your opponents after.
3. Avoid drinking games with anyone from the Atlantic provinces (especially Newfoundland).
4. Be generous - buy a round now and then. Try to make sure everyone is having a good time.
5. Know your limits: especially when the evening turns to Tequilla or Vodka shooters. This lesson is usually best learned through extensive vomiting.
6. Avoid Peach Schnapps shooters at all cost. (that was an ugly night)
7. 2AM is not a good time to call an ex-girlfriend - looking to re-connect.
8. Taxi drivers do not find you as funny as you think you are.
9. Best cure for a hangover: Gatorade and McDonald's Hash Browns.

Seriously - while these may seem like trivial lessons to learn, some of the above lessons are often the basics for networking and building good relationships later in life - and even at work.
I don't think we are doing a service to juniors, or to the game when we try to make them take the game too seriously. I see more kids being sick of curling by the time they get out of juniors - less and less continue into adult curling. Not to sound like I am advocating underage drinking - I just don't think there is any value in being the booze police. Work hard - play hard. We need to teach the social side of the game as well as the technical side. Good coaches know that.

Curling in and of itself is just a game - but its the social side of it that makes it a truly great way to pass the winter.

4. Oops, I made the seniors angry:

Last blog - I made a reference to senior men being lousy at take-outs, and was taken to task by Lauren Steventon - the current provincial champ, and challenged to a peel-off.

Imagine my surprise....firstly in finding out that there are seniors who actually know what a blog is and can figure out how to use the comment button...and secondly that Lauren would have the misplaced confidence to think that he could outpeel me!
Three words Lauren:  Bring it on.


Look for another blog entry later this week to discuss the Brier, and that goofy kid in the M&M commercial who gets giddy over a crappy green soccer ball flag on his frozen chicken fajita.


  1. I tend to agree with your comments on Junior curling - not on the drinking part, but on the fact that the social aspect of the game has been removed and replaced with power-coaching, psychological prep and endless practice. This is fine for the most competitive teams, but it's a pretty broad brush when applied to all kids under 18.

    Unfortunately, Curling-Quebec in its desire to strengthen the sport has turned all junior bonspiels into competitive "circuit" events, where innocent wide-eyed new players are not welcome, except that they represent an easy win in the standings.

    Some people have to look back and remember why they started playing the game in the first place. Deep in my memory, I think the word "fun" was used a lot...

  2. Mike: I don't do blogs... except yours. Take it as a big compliment!

    I could not agree more with your comments on junior curling/coaching. As a coach, I need to teach my boys the social part of the game, to get them involved in the Club and most of all to develop their respect and their passion for the game. You being the father of two young ones, here is a scoop for you : if you see a coach with a stupid laptop and taking stats of the kids during a game, run away. They are not in this for the kids and what the game has to offer.

    Gerry : It is not a coincidence that your own daughter is one of the very few still curling after playing juniors. She has accomplished so much. To see her coming out to Glenmore every week because she truly ENJOYS the game, kudos to you.

    Final words... 50$ on Lawren if the profits of any gambling are to benefit Kurl for Kids.

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