Favorite Reporter

Favorite Reporter

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I want a Schticky! (and other random observations from the Scotties)

Some random observations from the Scotties from a guy on paternity leave who was watching TV while simultaneously changing diapers (shitballs!), having a tea party and playing attic baseball:
- Heather Nedohin is certainly entertaining to watch. It’s nice to see a little passion on the ice for a change. After watching Robo-Stoughton in men’s, and the ever-demure Kelly Scott, it surely adds a bit of spice for the TV viewer to see someone as expressive as Nedohin as our National champion.
- For my money, Jenny Jones is still the best women’s curling team on the planet, despite their 3rd place finish. They just need to find a way to get Kaitlyn Lawes shooting as well on the Scotties final weekend as she does every other day of the year. You can’t win a National title if your 3rd is not making shots in big games.
- A great effort from the Quebec side. Marie-France seems to have put together a strong team that she can build on for the next few years. While Marie-France and Brenda have been to the Scotties a bunch of times, this is a new team, and 4th place is an exceptional result. They finished ahead of a lot of big names, including defending champ Amber Holland. Let’s hope they stick together.
- Speaking of sticking... I want a Schticky. I want the Big Schticky. I want the little Schticky too. I need to deal with that shedding pussy. Seriously – this Vince guy is a genius. He has figured out that if you make a commercial entertaining – he can get 10 views on-line for every paid commercial he puts on during the Scotties. Genius. In case you don’t know what I am talking about, here is the link to the Schticky ad on Youtube - genius.  The Schticky (youtube)
- The often maligned bronze-medal game will once again result is calls for its removal. Jennifer Jones looked thoroughly unimpressed at having to play for 3rd place Sunday morning. After winning – I think I actually saw her shrug her shoulders and sigh. There was no jumping up and down or rejoicing. Only Marie-France and team looked like they wanted to be there. It was a shame they could not finish that one off.
- 2 commercials I always see during curling that need to be retired - now:
1.       AMJ Campbell van lines – where 2 guys move a TV from the 1980s that magically keeps showing a much younger Russ Howard curling at a skins game while the movers carry it around. Sad fact - if you still own an old TV that requires two guys to carry it around – you probably can’t afford to hire professional movers. I think this commercial is at least 10 years old - and it was not good then. 
2.       Jennifer Jones forgetting her damn Scotties tissues and sliding across the store to get a box. I find myself hoping for the mannish looking lady in the aisle to just once ram Jones with her shopping cart as she slides by and then say “Clean-up in aisle 2”.
- Russ Howard is the best curling commentator of all time.
- Nobody really talked about this, but WTF?:  After Nedohin thought she had missed the draw to win the semi-final against Jones – she immediately went and took off her shoes before the measure! What!?! Who does that?   Who takes their shoes off before shaking hands with the other team? I would say it was classless, but I think it was more a question of clueless. I assume TSN did not have a live feed to her microphone during the measure – or the Scotties would have to be rated NC-17.
- Speaking of Nedohin and profanity, what exactly did Nedohin mean when she was caught uttering “Shitballs” after missing a draw earlier in the week? Was she referring to spherically-shaped excrement, or did she in fact utter two swear words: shit and balls. Neither one really makes sense to me - it seemed like a rather random piece of scatological profanity.  Maybe she is plugging for a future sponsorship from Cottonelle Toilet Paper. “Trouble with Shitballs? Use Cottonelle!”  
- Not related to curling: If Jesus Christ were to sing the US National anthem as a duet with the prophet Mohammed, with Fidel Castro, Maurice Richard and the Queen of England on back-up vocals at the next Habs game, it would get less media coverage than the NHL trade deadline does on TSN. They have 789 analysts talking about trades that are not going to happen.  I am a hockey fan- but I do not give a shit that Nashville is looking for a 3rd line center. Anybody who complains about TSN having too much curling coverage should be tied to a chair Clockwork-Orange style and forced to watch the panel talk about the top 50 most likely to be traded players. Just sayin....

Brier starts this weekend - will be back to discuss later this week.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shitballs and a phone call from Jeff Stoughton.

Mid week at the Scotties-  Marie-France is at 6-3 and looking like a lock to make the playoffs, maybe even the 1-2 game. Go Quebec!
I am a big fan of this team. We actually spent some time with them this year – we seemed to have the same draw at a couple of out of town spiels. So if you were wondering, they are as nice in person as they seem on TV.
While Marie-France has not been shooting the lights out – she seems to be making the shots that count. And has any skip will tell you, it’s not about how many shots you make – if you can make the right ones.
More importantly, they look confident they are going to win. There is nothing like a streak of close wins to make you feel like you will always win your next game.


Favourite moment so far: Heather Nedohin – skip of Alberta caught on TSN saying “Shitballs” after missing a shot. Awesome use of profanity Heather!
I will not judge. I have to admit, when I curl I swear like a drunken sailor who just stubbed his toe on the bedpost after finding his girlfriend in bed with his ship captain. I have used words that would make Hugh Hefner blush. So I am not sure what would come out of my mouth if I missed a big shot on TV.

But honestly, it was nice to see a little intensity from someone at the Scotties. Everybody is a little bit too sunshine and lollipops at this year's event. Where is the eye of the tiger? Where is the steely-eyed stare of a champion. Only Jennifer Jones seems like she means business. 
I was watching Kelly Scott from BC, and she actually says things like “aw shucks” when she misses. Btw - Kelly Scott sounds exactly like the receptionist from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. You be the judge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHa1zTLrXO8

So Mike – what are you doing next season? I seem to be getting this question a lot lately – so here is a phone conversation I had last week:
Ring – Ring...
- Hello?
- Hello Mike? Jeff Stoughton here.
- Hey Jeff, nice to hear from you. Tough loss at provincials this year buddy.
- Yeah. It sucks to be the World Champion – and to not be invited back to the Brier.
- Indeed.
- Well Mike – let me get to the point. I have decided a need a new bald, toe-tucking third. Mead just is not cutting it any more. And we think you are the guy.
- Really Jeff? You do realise that I did not even make it to Quebec provincials this year?
- Yes, but your talent and ability has shown through. I blame your team. Also, we saw how well it worked for Jennifer Jones to pick up a Frenchy from Quebec - with that “Joelle” chick.
- Yeah, but I am not actually French Jeff, I just have a French name.
- Trust me buddy, nobody out here will notice the difference.
- OK – I am in – sign me up!
- Great! Welcome to the team! By the way – you will have to move you and your family to Winnipeg. Or maybe Flin Flon. Or Gimli.
- Hmmm – let me get back to you
Okay – this conversation did not really happen. So to answer those who have been asking, I have no idea what is going on next year. And being up to my ass in diapers, school lunches and sleep deprivation, I will tell you that it is not the first thing on my mind these days!


Big Congrats to Pierre Charette and team who won the senior men's and are on their way to Abbotsford, BC!!! As I have said before, Pierre is the smartest curler in the world - it would be nice to see these guys come back with a national championship. It has been a while since Quebec actually won something at a national level. (I believe William Dion's junior team was our last national champion, and that was a bunch of years ago). Yes, Marie France still has an outside shot at the Scotties - but I would bet on Pierre being our best shot at a National Title this year.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bob is back at the Brier - and my minivan has 275 HP!

Sorry I have not blogged in a couple of weeks...have been rather busy on the home front with a new arrival.  Hospitals, sleep deprivation and diaper changing are just not conducive to creative writing, or for that matter giving a rat’s ass about all things curling.

So Bob is back at the Brier...
Robert Desjardins completed a solid week of curling by winning the Quebec Men’s provincial championships, and will be off to the Brier in Saskatoon in March.
Is this an upset? Absolutely. Bob and his team were thoroughly average all season – showing very few signs of potential. They looked mediocre when we played them (although I think we were 1-1 against him this season).  But thisis not that big an upset. Bob and team have paid their dues. I have said in the past that Bob was the Phil Mickelson of curling – and now, like Phil, seems to be able to close the deal. He drew the button on his last rock in an extra end to beat Phil Lemay.
As spectators, we are quick to label players as “chokers”, and Bob always seemed to carry that label. We see player miss a big shot in a big game – and we say CHOKE!
Yes, Bob has “choked” in the past. But really, Bob has been in the payoffs at Provincials probably 10-12 times in the last 15 years. He went to the Brier last year – and yet still does not seem to get the respect he deserves. Well, I think the choker label is now gone for good.    
How will they do? Sadly, I predict no better then 6-5. But I will be cheering. Hard. Go Quebec!
I sincerely hope that TSN and RDS will feature at least a few Quebec games at the Brier - especially with Bob. Having played Bob a number of times - I can guarantee that it will make for good TV.

The format – and the Venue
This year, the provincials were held in a curling club (instead of an arena), and used a triple knockout format instead of the usual round robin. I have not heard from any of the players to hear if they liked it or not.
But Guy Hemmings has given his opinion: Guy used his blog on the CCA site to treat Curling Quebec the same way my new daughter Sophie treats her Pampers.
Here is the link: Guy's Blog
Guy suggested that Curling Quebec has erred in pulling the event from arenas – and that CQ needs to take control of event organization – and to use an event promoter to generate the sponsorship required to turn the men’s provincials into a huge event.
I personally like the way Guy is thinking. The growth of the sport in Quebec requires a showman – a promoter – a Don King to “Show me the Money” and make the Quebec provincials into a giant arena-filling-super-event that showcases everything that is great about curling.
I LOVE IT! Let’s pack the Bell Center! I can see it now:
The Ford-Videotron-Hydro-Quebec Men’s Curling Provincial Championship! There would be scalpers selling tickets to this sold-out event! There would be music – and spotlights - and cheerleaders – we need cheerleaders! Let’s dream big!  I am getting an erection just picturing it.  
But seriously...
I am a big fan of dreaming big dreams. (If “Dreaming Big” had a Facebook page – I would click “like”). But in the meantime, Curling Quebec has to manage this event in the real world. CQ needs to find committees to organise. CQ needs to find arenas willing to give up 8+ days of ice time in hockey-mad Quebec in February. CQ needs to find companies willing to sponsor events that – as of today - do not generate significant enough exposure to be a worthwhile investment. And they need to try to do the same for women’s as well, all while operating on a decreasing budget (as fewer and fewer teams are participating and paying entry fees).  
So I am not as quick as Guy to condemn the choices Curling Quebec has made. I believe Curling Quebec is doing the best it can with the cards it has been dealt. Guy's proposal is like his hair: popular but unmanageable.

Ok – not related to curling – but just need to vent:
Somebody has to explain to me why I can fit three grown adults across the back seat of my SUV, but there is no room for three friggin’ car seats. I feel like the automotive industry is trying to force me into buying the vehicular equivalent of a vasectomy: the minivan.
I do not want a minivan. I sat behind the wheel of a Honda Odyssey at the dealer’s the other day. This thing feels huge. I felt like I should be wearing brown shorts and dropping off UPS parcels instead of shuttling my kids to school. Admittedly, it would be handy for long curling trips (especially with the DVD player), but it still just seems like overkill to me.
To make it worse, the dealer tries to sell me on the sexy 275 horsepower that it generates. Dude, I am driving a minivan, not drag racing. Do you think I care how fast it goes from zero to one hundred? Do you think I am going to add spoilers and mag wheels and drive it down to the Orange Julep on Sunday Afternoons? ITS A MINIVAN!
Just make sure it has tinted windows so I can be anonymous.