Do curlers have to be physically fit?

In my youth, the only curlers I knew were the rags my mother used to put in my hair.   I was vaguely aware that my BFF’s brother was a curler, but I cannot say I was interested enough to find out anything about the sport.  In fact, I’m not sure it was much of a sport back then.

My husband was a great curler in his youth, representing his club in the provincial playdowns several times.  His teenaged years were consumed with curling.  His knowledge of and passion for the game, not to mention the numerous trophies that we have in our home, (those were the days when no one but the winner got a trophy) taught me all about the game.  Not just the logistics of the game, but how difficult it is (here in Canada) to be the best team in your club let alone your zone, province, or country.  That degree of difficulty has not changed.  It might be even tougher as there are so many good teams out there.

My two eldest sons started curling at the age of four.  They both curled locally for years,  coached by their father. The younger of the two was not as passionate about the sport as the elder who also went on to curl competitively including representing our area in the provincials.  Unfortunately, much to the chagrin of his dad, his curling days took a back seat to his goal of becoming a civil engineer.  Both sons learned a lot on the curling ice, including leadership, team play, and communication skills.  Both developed friendships that have lasted over the years.   In fact, my eldest son met his new wife within the first few years of his curling career.  They both still curl at the same RCC although she is currently taking a hiatus to give birth to their first child!

Gone are the days, however, where drinking beer (adults only of course) and munching on junk food after the game were the highlights of the sport, at least at the competitive level.   Today, teams and individuals are known for their fitness level, mental endurance, and strategically amazing shots.  Sorry Ed Werenich, but the days of the belly hanging over the belt as you crouch on the ice to throw your shot are long gone.

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Watching the mixed doubles category in the winter Olympics this week, it is obvious that these curlers definitely have to be physically fit athletes to compete at this level today.  With just two (traditional curling has four) curlers per team, they  are throwing a rock, then quickly jumping up to sweep it down the ice towards the house.  I broke out in a (nervous) sweat watching them, especially the gold medal game between Canada and Switzerland.  The pairing of Canada’s John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes were spectacular to watch as they brought home the gold.

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CBC news: Canada’s John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes win Olympic gold in curling mixed doubles

 

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Ends for an end to cancer

April is coming soon, which means the (7th this year) annual Ends for an End to Cancer event is looking for support.  April  is cancer awareness month, and since most everyone is or has been affected by this devastating disease, the most obvious time to step up and support any fundraising event.

Ends for an End to Cancer is a curling bonspiel and more held at the Richmond Curling Club (RCC) here in the Ottawa area.  This year it will be held on April 7th.  My daughter-in-law and son are involved in this wonderful, and very successful event, in support of victims and their families.

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There are many ways to help.  You can submit a curling team in the bonspiel, come out to participate in the silent auction, donate items for the auction or donate money to the cause.

If you are interested and available to support this great cause, contact me for more details.

2016 Canadian Brier

 

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The 2016 Brier, sponsored by Tim Hortons, is underway at TD Place in Lansdowne Park, here in Ottawa.  For those of you not familiar with the sport, the Brier is the men’s Canadian curling championship, where all provinces and territories are represented.  Last year’s winning team also qualifies to play as Team Canada.  Opening ceremonies were yesterday afternoon, March 5th.  My seat in an upper row allowed for a great shot of all the teams lined up on the ice during the singing of our national anthem…

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Unfortunately, from this seat, I wasn’t able to get any good closeup shots of the curling matchups within the first draw of the event at 230pm.  I did get a decent shot of Ontario’s team skipped by Glen Howard chatting with the crowd after their victory over Kevin Koe’s team from Alberta…

 

Our tickets for the evening draw (draw 2) at 730 last night were closer to the ice, allowing for some better shots of the three concurrent games.

In these pictures, the two teams on sheet A (top of the picture) are Northern Ontario skipped by Brad Jacobs and Saskatchewan skipped by Steve Laycock.  Center ice had BC skipped by Jim Cotter playing PEI skipped by Adam Casey.  The third sheet (bottom of pictures) pitted North West Territories skipped by Jamie Koe against New Brunswick skipped by Mike Kennedy…

 

The former cattle castle, currently known as the Aberdeen Pavillion, houses the “Brier Patch” the entertainment center of the Brier.   Fans, players and volunteers congregate and mingle here between and after draws.  We dropped by Friday evening, just in time to see and hear all of the teams being introduced to their appreciative fans.  After their introductions, the team members wandered through the crowd, stopping for autographs and posing for photos.

Opening day at the 2016 Brier was a great time.  The recently renovated TD Place and Landsdowne Park area in Ottawa is a beautiful venue for an event like this.  Plenty of parking, free bus service to and from the games, and a wide variety of shops and restaurants all within walking distance make it enjoyable for everyone.   We even got to chat with Jim Cotter, skip of the BC team, while out for lunch at Whole Foods Market.   The weather was perfect too for strolling around the area.

The caliber of the curling competition is outstanding this year at the Brier, with no team favoured to win easily.  We plan to go back later in the week as the competition heats up, with playoffs on the weekend leading into the final game on Sunday, March 13.

I’m not losing a son, I’m gaining a daughter!

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This past weekend, my eldest son proposed to his girlfriend.  As the mother of three sons, I am thrilled to welcome my first daughter!

It is difficult for a mother to remain objective when her son is dating, just as (so I have heard) it is difficult for fathers to approve of their daughters’ dating choices.  You have to learn to bite your tongue when you do not approve and only offer advice when it is requested.  You have to hope your children listen when you try to teach them that beauty is only skin deep, but what lies within is much more important.  They have to learn to follow their instincts telling them if a relationship does not feel right, it is not right, and will not last.  You can only hope and pray that your children make the right choice when choosing a mate, and celebrate when they do!

This happy couple have known each other for years, having curled together since they were “little rockers”, close to twenty years ago.  Even though they both dated other people over the years, their friendship, love of curling and the ever-popular social media have kept them connected.  We have no doubt they are ideally matched and are very excited to encourage them in this next step of their lives.

Experts agree that boys that are close to, respectful of, and good to their mothers will make great husbands.  I am fortunate to have three kind, considerate, respectful, compassionate, not to mention handsome, sons that will make great husbands and fathers.  Of course, I am a bit biased…

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Canadian Women do us Proud Today!!

I am very proud of our Canadian women today!  The Canadian women’s hockey team overcame a 2-0 goal deficit in the third period to force overtime against the USA team and then scored again to win the Olympic GOLD medal.  Marie-Philip Poulin scored both the tying goal and the game winning overtime goal for team Canada.

Earlier today, Jennifer Jones’ curling team beat Sweden in the championship final to win gold as well.  This game was a nail biter too, with Sweden having a chance to tie the score or go ahead in the ninth end.  Instead, Jones and the Canadian women’s team stole two points to head into the tenth end with a three point lead that Sweden could not rally from.  As she threw her first rock in the tenth end, a smile lit Jennifer Jones’ face as she (and we) knew she was about to make the easy take out shot to run the Swedes out of rocks and win the gold medal.

Great job ladies!