Friday, December 02, 2005

Don’t miss the show

Thanks to TSN and CBC, Canadians can see much of the Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials on television. Thanks to CurlTV, computer viewers from anywhere in the world can catch a morning game each day.

But none of these options truly equals being there in person. Eyes on every sheet, senses primed, taking it all in live, on site.

For those still wondering just what is the big deal about this event... here’s a piece written by TCN publisher George Karrys. It’s scheduled to appear this weekend in the Morning Roar, the daily newspaper of the Trials, and a shorter version appears in the December issue of The Curling News.

Don’t miss the show, folks.


It’s that time of the quadrennial again, dear reader, and I wonder if you are aware of just how lucky you are.

You are lucky to be here, on site, for these Tim Hortons Canadian Curling Trials. For this is widely viewed as the greatest showpiece in the history of the sport of curling.

Others will worry about whether they have enough blank videotapes, burnable DVDs or recording time banked in their TV’s digital box for this one.

All you have to worry about is getting to the Metro Centre on time... and clever timing of your bathroom breaks.

I remember much of our team’s win at Brandon’s first medal-status Trials shootout, in 1997. The images are burned deep into the brain’s circuits.

• My media friends rushing past us to interview opponent Kerry Burtnyk after we beat him the first draw. They didn’t get around to visiting Mike until we were 3-0. “Oho, so now you want to talk to me?” the skipper grinned.

• Dead silence in the arena after we made a great shot to take a huge lead on Jeff Stoughton. This was Manitoba, after all, and who the hell were we trying to impress, anyway?

K-Mart, still hanging around eight years later, congratulating us in the dressing room after we barely escaped K-Park in the last draw to claim the bye to the final. “That was huge,” Martin exclaimed. “Absolutely huge game!”

• Stoughton lead Steve Gould, in the bowels of the stadium tunnels, approaching as we waited for the bagpipes announcing the march to the victory podium. He had won the world championship just a year earlier, but his eyes were haunted. “This is all I wanted,” he said. “I would have given the worlds back.” He’s back again, too.

The utter exhaustion after every game, the distinct lack of partying, the overwhelming mental tapdance needed to just make it through a day of battling the Howards... and then Middaugh... followed by The Wrench... and so on. It never ended until the crowd exploded on the final Sunday and we had somehow beaten Martin for Olympic glory.

No, this is not the Brier, it’s bigger. This is, oddly, even beyond curling. And that means those lucky enough to be there live, in person, will see something to be remembered forever.

This show is so good, the players can’t keep their eyes on their own sheet. I remember a wild, see-saw morning game against Middaugh, and raging that this game should be saved somewhere, somehow, on a videotape. And the the match on the next sheet over, and the next one after that.

Finally, the following summer, I found time to check out Trials tapes my roommates had collected, and I saw Ray Turnbull’s very first intro on TSN’s opening draw of coverage. His eyes were bulging as he raved, with compatriot Linda Moore struggling to keep from laughing.

“This is the best,” Ray almost shouted. “It doesn’t get any better. If you’re not here, get here. Do it now. Fly in, drive in, I don’t care. You simply have to be here!”

It goes without saying that Ray and Linda, with trusty ol’ Vic, are back as well.

I’m back, too, having missed the Regina Roar four years ago, but I’m not arriving until Wednesday. And now, I’m off to the store for videotapes. Because this show simply cannot be missed.

Lucky you, dear reader.

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