Friday, March 06, 2009

Guide to the Brier

Here she is – Dalene Heck, Calgary curler (formerly competitive), writer/blogger and now special Brier correspondent for The Curling News. Installment numero uno.

Between her and Margo Weber... geez. The Tim Hortons Brier may never be the same.

Your Guide to the Tim Hortons Brier

by Dalene Heck

CALGARY – We are one sleep away from the first draw at the Brier! And kids, be sure that tonight’s sleep is full of good, solid, capital Zs. Nine days of intense cheering, heckling, and “patch”ing are upon us. The greatest curlers in the country have descended on Calgary for what will undoubtedly go down as the best Brier ever!

But first, let’s be honest with ourselves. We aren’t all finely tuned athletes like most of the Brier competitors. Whether partaking in the festivities firsthand, or hanging out with Ray, Linda and Vic for the week on the boob tube, the key to surviving the next 10 days is to pace yourself. You don’t want to burn out after the first few days due to an incessant hangover or couch burn.

Therefore, I bring you the “Guide To The Brier” – a round robin viewing schedule that will ensure you will have the endurance to last the entire week, with enough steam left over for the final weekend. Cut it out, laminate it, tape it to your fridge. Here is your guide to the draws you can snooze through, those that you need to see, and those that you must truly experience.

Have a snooze

Or, at the very least, go get some work done so that you don’t get fired for being a slacker the rest of the week. Whatever you choose to do with your time, here are a few hours that you can peel yourselves away from the action without missing a beat.

Sunday, March 8 AM draw – I don’t think you need my advice for this one... it’s the morning after one of the biggest nights in the Patch, so it’s likely you aren’t getting up anyways. There are only two games during this draw and it is early in the week, so they can afford to be missed.

Wednesday, March 11 AM draw – While this draw still contains some of the favourites, my prediction is that most of these games will be pretty one-sided and lacking any nail-biting action. Hit the snooze button.

Must. Watch.

Saturday, March 7 – Can’t beat the Brier opening day when we get a chance to see everyone flex their muscles and test the competition. Expect some strong statements to be made – floating through this event will not be an option in such a star-studded field!

Tuesday, March 10 afternoon draw – Here’s a good chance to see some potential contenders start jockeying for position, with Nova Scotia’s Mark Dacey taking on Quebec’s Jean-Michel Menard and Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton taking on New Brunswick’s Russ Howard.

Get a babysitter, quit your job, jump on a plane, do whatever you have to do and get your a$$ to the Saddledome!

Tuesday, March 10 AM draw – The winningest skip in Brier history, Russ Howard, vs. his kid brother, Ontario’s Glenn Howard (who is likely going on to break some records of his own). This is a match-up you won’t want to miss as a mini-family reunion takes place on the ice... complete with a few excessively drunk uncles and third cousins making out in the closet... (oh wait, is that just at my family reunions?) Regardless, there are also going to be some other solid competitors facing off that will make this one that you want to be there for – including 2006 Olympic gold medallist Brad Gushue against 2006 Brier champion Jean-Michel Menard.

Thursday, March 12 – There is no excuse for missing any of Thursday’s games. With the calibre of curling at this event as high as it is, you can bet that there will be several make-or-break moments as teams make the final drive for the playoffs. The day is capped off with hometown fave and defending champion Kevin Martin taking on his arch Brier nemesis, Glenn Howard. This is a repeat of the 2008 Brier final, and perhaps a prelude to this year’s final? We shall see.

Buckle in, people. It’s gonna be a helluva ride!

(TCN March cover montage images by CCA/Michael Burns)


Canuckedup mama said...

I'm totally looking forward to Howard v. Howard. That's entertainment in my books. But I wonder who Russ & Glen's mum cheers for? Or does she just tell them to play nice with one another?

Team Middaugh said...

I am sure Barb would cheer for good shots.