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Monday, January 22, 2018

Sippy Cups and Light-Up Curling Shoes

So we are a few weeks away from the Men’s provincial championship, hopefully the highlight of our curling season.

What has my team been doing? We are in hiding. My team has been busy with practicing in secret. We have been hiding away in Tibet working on our curling and meditative chanting with a group of Bhuddist monks, in a desperate attempt to clear our head of negative thoughts. Not sure it will help our curling – but Will’s says that thanks to the Tantric chanting we practiced he can now hold out for hours when having sex and Felix is now able to levitate! (But given that he weighs 80 pounds, it might just be the wind picking him up off the ground). So with nothing else to talk about, let’s talk about women’s curling!

So every year I usually write a blog about the sorry state of women’s curling in Quebec, and what we can do to fix it. The past few years have featured on average 5 or 6 teams at Provincials, and with a few exceptions no Quebec Team has been particularly competitive on the National stage. Yes, Marie-France, Lauren and Eve have played well at times and seem to invest the practice time and spiel schedule to be competitive, but they are the exception and Marie-France has cut down her schedule considerably of late, and is definitely not getting better. So typically the last few years have featured Marie-France and Eve fighting to represent the province.

But this year was different.

This year, in order to fill out the field, Curling Quebec invited JUNIOR teams to play at the Scotties. And play they did. Despite the fact that the best junior team in the province – Laurie St-Georges was busy at Junior Nationals (where they lost the final no less), 3 other junior teams played. And guess what – Emilia Gagné from the Saguenay actually won!!!

Make no mistake, I have absolutely no idea who Emilia Gagné is. But by all accounts she played great, made some clutch shots and came away the winner, beating Perron, then Larouche, then Eve in the finals. The average age on this team is – wait for it – 18!!!

I am not saying they are a young team, but
  • After they won, they poured juice boxes on each other instead of Champagne
  • At their team dinner at a restaurant after the game, the waitress brought them crayons and coloring sheets
  • The heels light up on their curling shoes
  • They think Bruno Mars is Classic Rock
  • This will likely be the first team that will have to bring Fake IDs to get into the Patch.

But seriously, I am sure this will be a great experience for them, and will hopefully ignite some much needed passion in the women’s game.

More importantly, I think this might be the beginning of something. I have been hanging around junior curling a bit now that my daughter is involved, and there seems to be something happening in Quebec. There are a lot of kids. Increasingly, a lot of the Moms and Dads you see at the rinks are retired competitive curlers, now bringing their kids into the game. And Quebec already has a rich history of outstanding junior coaching.

Curling Quebec has started the Tip Tap Toc skills program for 12 and under curlers – and supposedly 23 clubs ran a Little Rock event to try to send kids to the finals. I was honestly shocked to find out that 23 clubs have Little Rock programs. And did I mention there were LOTS OF KIDS.

And all of this is happening before the Olympics, which are sure to provide an additional bump for the sport, as curling will likely be about half of the Olympic coverage that you see on TV. And with the curlers being more recognizable than the hockey players this time around, curling is poised to be the most talked about event at the Games.

So you can look at a junior team winning the Scotties as a sign of how far the women’s game as fallen off in Quebec, but I prefer to look at is a sign of some much needed renaissance in women’s curling, and is likely a sign of things to come. The future of the game is definitely junior curling, I guess I just did not expect it to get here so fast!


So let’s all raise our sippy-cups of apple juice in a toast to wish them well!!! 

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