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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.


  1. Mike,

    First of all congratulations on being the futur owner of a wonderful minivan - you are about to lose all the virility of a toe-tucker-crazy-mario-bros-stach-kind-of-bald man.

    Secondly, I am STUNNED, AMAZED, FLABBERGASTED that your post includes no comment about the on-ice product the players were offered in Kenogami. Furthermore, I'm equally surprised that it was never mentionned anywhere - Media Reports, CQ Reports, etc. I truly believe your blog makes a difference and is important in the continuous amelioration of curling in Quebec, particularly because you say things out loud that most people do not dare to say.

    Now, I hate to say it because people get emotionnely involves and feel they are targeted, which is not the point here. I'm not targetting or accusing anyone here, I'm saying a simple fact (in my mind, you solve 50% of a problem by acknowledging there is one) that was more than obvious at provincials : Ice quality was mediocre at best.

    Did it change the outcome of the provincials? I believe so, eventhough I'm the first to admit that Robert's team played great. One of the reason they played that great is Robert's great quality to be able to quickly spot ''problem'' rocks: cutters, straight rocks,''dogs'', faster rocks, slower rocks. It is now tough to find a set of rocks in CQ's arsenal that is honest to the players. You need to spot them, especially the cutters if you need a big come around at some point on ice that have straight spots, which is EXACTLY what Robert does. Kuddos to him.

    But is it normal to have 23 picks in a single game? Please, hang-up the phone, you don't need to call your optometrist for a new glass prescription, the # is correct : 23 picks. How can you feel the best team won that particular game when there is that many picks?

    All this saying, we need to acknowledged the fact that a lot of work needs to be done to come back to the state-of-the-art ice product J-F Morand gave us in Trois-Rivières back in 2008. Furthermore, we need to understand why this happened and put some extra effort in place to make sure it doesn't happen again.

    On this, I once again wish Robert, My friends JS and Steven (first Brier) and Steeve best of luck in Saskatoon, and too enjoy their week.

    With respect,

    Philippe Ménard

    1. Hey Phil;

      Not sure why you are so shocked that I did not mention the ice conditions - I WASN'T THERE! Remember - I sucked at regionals - so while you were playing on bad ice in Chicoutimi - I was eating Nachos on my couch in my underwear.

      To be honest - I had heard rumblings from a few people that the ice was shitty - and 23 picks is brutal.

      Bad ice is the ultimate equalizer. I don't understand why this happened - curling clubs should be able to produce ice that is at least as good if not better than an arena. If they can't, then they have no business hosting a turkeyspiel, let alone a men's provincials.
      btw - I can tell you a few stories about having played on some HORRIBLE ice at provincials in arenas as well - so I am not sure that they are the best solution either.


  2. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dreaming-Big/408125451557

  3. haha - I should have known that Dreaming Big had its own Facebook page. Amazingly - no mention of curling.

  4. Mike,
    Arena, club .. We can see live or archived streams of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (that i know of) provincial playdowns and i have watched more than a few games. I am not that busy. But we are totally in the dark when in comes to Quebec Tankard and Scotties.
    Instead of «Show me the money», just show me the games.