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Thursday, November 27, 2014

This might hurt a little....

The rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated!
For those of you have not been following the US-Style emergency room drama that has been my life for the last little while, I thought I would use my blog to catch you all up!
A week ago Sunday, after losing in the finals of the TMR open with my ridiculously good club team from Glenmore to an even better Ghislain Doyon/Max Elmalah team, I decided to play an indoor soccer game Sunday evening. Despite being a bit tired, I thought it would be good for the cardio, and help me get out a bit of the frustration of having gotten our arses kicked in the final.
Early in the first half, I caught a stray elbow from a teammate in the Adam’s Apple, and have been pretty much laid up ever since. The blow pretty much shattered the cartilage in my throat, and left me with a big lump in my throat. What followed the blow was a week of Emergency Rooms, specialists, reconstructive throat surgery, recovery, tubes going in and out of all kinds of places, fancy titanium plates and screws, swelling, bleeding and now home resting. Fun.
Here are some memorable quotes that sum up the experience:
-          “This empty space here is where the cartilage is supposed to be.” (Doctor pointing at CT Scan of my neck.
-          “Uh – are you sure you are breathing right now?” (Doctor while looking at image from a camera stuck up my nose and down my throat)
-          “This might hurt a little – I am going to pull the catheter out” - (nurse after the surgery). OUCH.
Seriously, all in all , it has been quite an experience. I definitely witnessed both the best and the worst that our Health Care System can provide.

Best: the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. An awesome hospital staffed with insanely competent people who genuinely seem to care. It felt a lot like a cool US TV show. They have a brand new emergency room. They had gadgets and flatscreens and 3D models of my throat and funky cameras and magical titanium plates that now hold together the cartilage in my neck. All available to me at no cost. Truly an impressive example of the best of our healthcare system.

Worst: Lakeshore General Hospital – where I foolishly stumbled into Monday early AM. The triage nurse looked at me and told me point blank: “You don’t look that bad – it will probably be 8-9 hours before anyone will see you. If you access to a doctor at a private clinic you should go there instead. Make sure you tell me if you are going to leave”. So I left. With a cracked and displaced trachea, that was swelling with internal bleeding, I was sent out to fend for myself. I do not think this place should still be allowed to call itself a hospital. It is a glorified CLSC. Never again. Do not send your dog there.

So what does this do for my curling season?

Well – I am off the ice for now as I heal and adjust to having a titanium plate in my neck. Not sure when I will be back, but likely before provincials.
I must say that our curling season has felt a bit snake-bitten this year. We have had injury, death, sickness, and that was before my soccer mishap! All if we need is some locusts and would be a Bible story. But with the team that I have somehow I strangely feel like we are still getting stronger. Every stick in our spokes, every challenge we deal with, every agonizing loss (and we have had a few of those!) is making us tougher, and meaner. It almost makes me feel bad for the unfortunate teams who will have to play us when all 4 guys are back and in good health.
I am just hoping that that will happen at some point before the end of the season!


Screw You Charlevoix again!!!
The Challenge du Casino de Charlevoix will be on this weekend. Of course I will not be there, again. The curse of Charlevoixc continues. So I fully expect every team in Quebec to benefit from my absence to magically all make money and pass us in the race to qualify for Quebec provincials on points. My pessimism is due to the fact that Charlevoix hates me. I am cursed there. Read the full story here:  Screw You Charlevoix
My Men's Team is playing in the Open section, which is an awesome 64 team event without equal in Quebec. I wish them well. Hopefully Charlevoix will take mercy on them since I am not there with them!
There is a strong field in the Invitational section as well.  


So what is going on in The World of Competitive Curling?
You really only need to be talking about one team so far this year: (And sadly it is not Team Fournier).
Team McEwen has been absolutely on an epic run this year. They have been BY FAR the best team in the world. They have won a Grand Slam, and lost the final of the other. They have won a pile of tour events. They are already approaching 100K in winnings this season. Plus Mike made what is undoubtedly the shot of the season so far. (see it here!) McEwen Shot  
I think the big challenge for this team will be how to maintain the pace for the long run. Competitive teams seem to exist on Olympic Cycles now, meaning that this team needs to stay on top until December 2017, when Canada will pick its team for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
So how do you stay on top for so long? The answer I think is:  you can’t. It is just too much. Too much travel, too much practice, too much training, too much intensity. I am interested in seeing if this team will even try to play at peak until 2017 – or will they intentionally slow down at some point and then ramp it up again in the Olympic Year? Jacobs (our defending Olympic rep) was really only at the summit for less than 1 year before the Trials, before that they were a lot more human, and were far from the best team around. If McEwen's goal is getting to the Olympics, then I would argue that they should push hard until they secure a birth at the Trials, then slow their pace for a year, then ramp up again for the Trials, or risk burning out!
Another nice storyline to follow on the tour this season is Adam Casey and his crew from PEI. They have climbed into the World Top 10 by playing solidly just about everywhere. I got to play them in Gatineau in the C Qualifier. Seriously nice guys. It will be especially fun to see them playing in the relegation event at the Brier, where they could end up having to face a tough Nova Scotia team in a relegation battle. This would be an epic pie-in-the-face of relegation, where a solid Maritime team is sent home before the Brier, and yet the reconstructed and no-fun-to-watch Team Canada skipped by Johnny Mo gets a free birth. Blech!


Hardline Dragon’s Den Success
I hope you all were watching! The boys from Hardline did curling proud in the Den, securing a bit of funding for their company to get into the business of sponsoring teams and rolling out their product line. 
So the secret is out! They made a deal. They have secured their ability to make some noise in market – and they are making some noise!!! They have benefited by sponsoring Team McEwen, and have had their brooms and flashy red curling pants on display for the world to see. And they are getting lots of love from the Best Team in the World in the form of endorsement and publicly praising the Ice Pad.
The word is that business is booming since the episode – with on-line orders a plenty and club pro-shops jumping on board.
Of course, I have a self-interest in promoting these guys in that they also sponsor ME, but this is an easy story to get behind and cheer for the underdog! The little company from Quebec that is ready to take off and lead the next revolution of curling brooms! I can’t wait to see what these guys will do next! Here is a link to their appearance Hardline on DD


  1. Like everything you have said except for hating on Johnny Mo team for no reason. Also a group of seriously nice guys who just took the opportunity that they deserved by winning the Brier. Also sorry for your injury Sir.

    1. Yeah, maybe you are right - I am a bit of a hater. I blame the pain meds. My real hatred is aimed at relegation!

  2. Prompt rétablissement Mike. A few rhum and coke during the holidays should help recovery. See you in Victo.