Friday, March 13, 2009

Brier: Patching it up

by Dalene Heck

CALGARY – In 2004, the following words and definitions were added to the Canadian Oxford Dictionary:

“Double-Double” - a coffee with double cream and double sugar added
“Hurry” - the curling term meaning “sweep”

I have a new challenge. If the intent of the Canadian dictionary is to accurately include staples of Canadian culture, then there currently is a glaring omission that needs to be corrected.

The dictionary includes a few definitions of the verb “patch” or “patching”, most of them having to do with repairing or mending. Applied to curling, these existing definitions would suffice to describe what most people need the morning after a good night out at the Keith’s Brier Patch at the Tim Hortons Brier.

Headaches being repaired with a bottle of Tylenol. Relationships being mended with a quick conversation: “You know I was really loaded when I said that about you last night, right? I’m sorry...”

However, the current definition obviously needs to be expanded to include the actual art of enjoying the Keith’s Brier Patch itself. The art of heading to the biggest party in Canada with 3,000 or so of your closest friends and enjoying a few cold Keith’s with your favourite curlers while being entertained by some of Canada’s best musical acts.

Some examples of the use of the word “patch” in this form are:

“Are you going patching tonight?”

“Sorry, I patched it up too good last night. Going to have to take a night off so that I can continue to patch the rest of the weekend.”

Assuming I will have to submit an official definition for consideration, I have started to make some drafts:

v. patch, patch-ing, patched

1. To partake in the extra-curricular activities offered at the Canadian Men’s Curling Championship, as sponsored by Mr. Alexander Keith at the Brier Patch.

2. To consume ridiculous amounts of alcohol and stalk favourite curlers for autographs, pictures, or to offer strategies for future games.

3. To rush the stage for Streetheart.

Perhaps #3 isn’t quite appropriate, but it is what I personally plan on doing while I “patch” it up tonight. Those boys? I’m Under Their Thumb (2:20 into the video, and it’s awesome).

For a lot of curling fans, the Brier Patch is as important to the tournament as the actual competition. Thus, I will endeavour to find out how to correct this gross oversight in the authority of our Canadian language. And until I make the official submission for review, I will continue to do as much research as possible to ensure I get the definition right. This will be a tough sacrifice, but somebody has to do it.

See you tonight...?

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