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Monday, November 21, 2011

You stay classy, Charlevoix

Yes, I am curling in Charlevoix this weekend. For those of you who are regular readers of my blog, after a humbling 1-3 performance in last year’s event, I wrote “Screw you Charlevoix” and vowed never to return to the place that has brought me so little success in recent years.
Well, like a strung-out junkie returning to his dealer for another hit, I am back for more. Hit me one more time Charlevoix.
The unavoidable truth is that Charlevoix is simply the best spiel in Quebec. We start Thursday morning against Dan Petryk, an affable dentist from Calgary. Should be fun.
And of course- we will hear from my favourite band in the world, the 2-person band that plays the party every year at the Curling club. They do not speak a word of English – but bravely perform a mostly English set of songs, often mangling the words.
Classics from the past:
From ACDC: “She was a fax machine, she kept her motor clean...
From the Black-Eyed Peas: “Tonight gonna be a good night”
This year I am expecting:
 “Hive got fashion in my pants hand I hate afraid to schewitt - Hi m’sexy and Hi know it” by the Black Eyed Peas
And of course “Honda Floor” by JLo
When did I become an old curler.
This week I will be playing in Charlevoix, and on Thursday I turn 40.
For years – I always felt like a young kid in the curling world. I always felt like I was just out of juniors – throwing big takeouts and challenging the old guys. But somewhere along the line I became an old guy.   I still feel like I curl the same, if not better than when I was 30, or 20. My wavy Stoughton-esque hair used to billow behind me as I effortlessly threw peels, whereas today I find myself wearing hats to keep my head warm.  I fully expect to have to start rubbing Tiger Balm or some other vile-smelling cream on my joints to continue toe-tucking in the next few years.
I am definitely smarter than I was then, although it does not seem to help me win that many more games. Maybe being young and foolish has its advantages on a curling sheet as well. Oh well, here’s hoping my forties bring me as much pleasure and fun as I’ve had curling up ‘til now.   
I curled in Brantford this weekend in the Sun Life Classic. It was a great spiel, and a fun experience. I just wish I would have curled a bit better. We lost 3 out of 4, and were out by Saturday night.
Strange set of winners on the men’s side – despite all the big names present the finals featured two underdog European sides. The spiel was eventually won by Niklas Edin from Sweden, a great guy who does not let his lack of English language skills limit his ability to hit on women. I remember not too long ago you would look forward to playing the European teams, as they were an easy win. But no more.
While our curling was not top notch – Brantford did provide a great reminder of what makes competitive curling great. Saturday night I shared drinks, laughs and fun with people from Saskatchewan, Sweden, Minnesota, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Newfoundland and all places in between. While there are a few assholes in every group, for the most part competitive curlers are fun, nice people.
 Our drive up to Brantford sucked. We got caught behind an accident on the 401 in Trenton, and spent almost 4 hours not moving on the highway. It was only made liveable by the fact that we watched Anchorman – the Legend of Ron Burgundy on my laptop while waiting . You stay classy San Diego.

Btw - my Movember moustache currently looks very Ron Burgundy-like.
The other Quebec teams also fared pretty poorly in Brantford, JM Menard was out on Saturday, as was Marie-France Larouche. But fortunately, this provided an opportunity for Eric Sylvain (Jean-Michel’s 2nd) to put on an indescribable display of dancing prowess in the hospitality room at the hotel. Jean-Michel is in serious danger of losing Eric to the next edition of So You Think You Can Dance Canada.  Let’s hope the tryouts don’t conflict with Provincials.

The Dominion kicks off this week in Richmond Hill, BC. Good luck to all participants.
The Dominion is quickly becoming the most talked about event in Canada. It is a national competition for club level curlers - a sort of Amateur Championship. It is a great reminder of what curling should be about. It’s social, it’s fun and it is a sport for everyone.

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