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Monday, September 10, 2012

Planes, Trains and Curling Clubs

It’s the most wonderful time of the year...
Seriously, I have no people how people who do not curl keep from falling into a deep state of depression at the end of the summer. If I did not curl, I would be in the process of putting away my golf clubs, winterizing my house,  working,  and raking f%?king leaves for 2 months. How depressing! How do you non-curlers survive September, October and November in Canada?

I spend this time of year making schedules and team budgets, daydreaming about my next big game and calling the curling club to see if Karl the Iceman is finished making ice yet. (He is not until the 21st of September – grrrr).

So anything big happen over the summer?

The Slams are back on TV! 

The WCT and Sportsnet/CBC inked a deal that will result in the Slams being covered up the wazoo for the foreseeable future. Big kudos to Pierre “the Genius” Charrette, who made this deal happen. Pierre has done more for competitive curling in this country than anyone I can think of.

New Marco in charge of Curling Quebec

Marco Ferraro has become the new head of Curling Quebec, replacing Marco Berthelot who left earlier this summer. The New Marco is a great addition. He is a salesman at heart, and will need to be to sell curling to the media, to sponsors and to the masses. His biggest challenge will be to not get bogged down and discouraged by the constant complaining and bitching that Quebec curlers have been doing lately (albeit sometimes legitimately).

Changes to Quebec Provincials

Well the triple knockout experiment lasted 1 year, and now CQ has gone back to round robins for all of its big championships. I think this is a positive – let’s hope they run a quality event this season. The Men’s and Women’s will be held in Victoriaville, presumably in an arena. I was one of the guys who was in favour of the triple, but I will admit it seems to have been a mistake.

As for the Mixed, I believe I am the last Quebec Mixed Team champion, as the event will be replaced by a Mixed Doubles provincial, to align with the National and World championships.

Changes to the Brier and Scotties:

Canada’s National men’s and women’s championships, as expected, have introduced the concept of relegation and added spots for all three Territories. As of next year, the 4 crappiest provinces/territories from the year before will have to play down in a pre-Brier in order to make it to the show. Because that is just what the Brier needed: more teams from the Territories! (with all due respect to Jamie Koe). They will also introduce a Team Canada at the Brier, which will allow us to see some another Team from Ontario, Alberta or Winnipeg at the Brier.

Call me a purist, but I don’t get why they would mess with an event that is so rich in tradition. Plus this is going to really suck for a team that wins its province, and then does not get to go to the Brier because some douchebag partied too hard and finished last the year before.

Local Competitive Scene

Not a lot of big changes this year on the men’s side. Jean Michel’s team, team Ferly, Team Super Bob (Desjardins), Team Big Phil (Lemay), are all back for another kick at the Brier and glory. JM is also trying to make an Olympic Qualifier spot I guess, as are the other guys.

My new team of guys from the Saguenay will make our first appearance as a team in a couple of weeks at the Memorial in Laviolette. Should be fun...except the guys have informed me that due to team budget restraints, we will be sharing one hotel room as a team until we win some cash.

 Talk about pressure: win some money, or else I will have to spoon with Yannick Martel!  Here is a scene of what I expect it to be like:

On the women’s side (where teams regularly share 1 room, at least in my imagination), Marie-France is back with year good young team that kicked ass at last year’s Scotties. Other than that, have not heard much, will know more once I get back into curling clubs.
This is not a political blog - so you will not get a comment out of me on the recent Quebec election.
But I will say Quebec could use a little more curling in its politics:
In curling, we can fight fiercely on the ice, then we shake hands, and head to the bar and drink with our opponents, realizing through our love of the game that we have a lot in common that transcends language, politics and culture. 
Too many of our politicians (on both sides), try to get elected by reminding us of what divides us - of what makes us different, making us lose sight of the big picture.
To them, I say:  "Viens avec moi au bar, on va prendre 2 grosses bières!"
If this approach can make me feel better after giving up a three in the last end to lose a tight game, then it surely can help fix our embittered province.