by Erin McLaughlin in Oshawa, Ont.
(Who is sending content on time and waiting patiently while The Editor takes his time to post it)
It’s been an exciting day so far in the stands and ‘backstage’ at the BDO Canadian Open and if you weren’t at the 10:00am draw… why not? It was loud. Kids in the house kind of loud.
They came, they saw, they cheered for Randy Ferbey… and then they cheered some more.
For the second day in a row, a supportive group of school kids filled almost an entire section on their own and waved handmade posters for Ferbey and the boys, screaming wildly for, well, pretty much every shot. The young man sitting behind me wasted no time and started to root for Team Rob Fowler, shuffling along behind the seats sweeping his own imaginary stones and giving those enthused youngins’ a run for their money.
Despite Ferbey’s own personal cheering section and scoring two in the third end, his former world champion teammate (from the 1980s!) Don Walchuk stole three in the first and one in the second, sweeping off into the afternoon with one in the fourth and three in the seventh for an 8-4 finish. Making off like a bandit himself, Jeff Stoughton scored big numbers in the third, fifth, and seventh ends respectively to win 10-5 over John Epping. Fowler and Peter Corner fuelled a close game 6-4, and the last two games on the ice ended up being the closest of all with Teams Wayne Middaugh and Mark Kean fighting into the eighth end, when Middaugh won it 8-6. Dale Matchett stole two in the sixth, blanked in the seventh, and stole two more in the eighth after an early battle with Jake Higgs early on, and won 6-3.
Off the ice, photog extraordinaire Anil Mungal was singing and serenading with a version of “Single Ladies” as I reminded Glenn Howard about his broom-wielding frustration mentioned in my last post. It was a thrill to meet him and get a photo taken with him, right there on the field of play!
I also spent some time yesterday and today with fellow curling Twitterites (Twitterees?) Cheryl and Tony. The latter drove four hours from Rochester, New York to watch live pro-level curling for the first time! Tony has become pretty famous in the Pants region – he started that group on Facebook which celebrated the Norwegian call to snazzy, eye-catching slacks during the Vancouver Olympics. The moment he finished creating the grouy, which took just a couple of minutes, he had 20 fans. Overnight, he gained 10,000. At it's peak, the page had some 670,000 members... and still has over 600,000 almost a year later.
Can you say Pantaloon Phenomenon?
It’s pretty quiet in the hallways right now as the second draw of the day is underway. The school kids have gone and Wayne Middaugh isn’t playing this round so only the occasional “HARD!” is cutting through the cement in the event production office.
I’ve been tagging along with the folks at The Curling News, trekking through the hallways and up and down stairs to observe all the inner workings of the GM Centre. I have met so many interesting people who work to make these events what they are and pull off a smooth production that trying to recap everything here might take all night. It has been absolutely fascinating getting to wander around and ask people what they do, and how they got into curling. One of the best parts of the curling atmosphere, I think and probably most would agree, is the socializing.
This afternoon I was able to sit in on a live video webchat with Jeff Stoughton and Co. (and provide security in the crowded bar/restaurant – how’d I do, boys?), check out the exhaustive autograph line for Team Howard (hey hand cramp), and catch a glimpse of their documentary filmmaker Dave Goodbrand in action – you can check out a preview of the documentary here. Some of the Stoughton interview questions included, “Is Reid Carruthers single? He’s my personal Johnny Mo!”, “What is your favorite part of curling at your level?”, “Who does your team hang out with off the ice?”, and another regarding an infamous McDonald's drive-through in Brooks, Alberta... funny stuff!
I almost forgot something – usually the Grand Slam crew can be seen snacking and munching throughout the day, as they move about ensuring the event runs smoothly. But there has been very little of that today, and no wonder, because lots of talk about a Man vs Food manwich competition – involving Grand Slam event workers Rob Cranston, Duff Charette and Mathieu Crevier along with General Motors Centre facilities guy Jeremy Giles – had actually taken place... and no one is hungry. At all!
You can hardly call their challenging quadruple-stacked mountains of meat and cheese a ‘sandwich’ – judge for yourself at left – and there remains some debate about who actually was the ‘winner’.
If you haven’t heard, the GM Centre has its own curling beer garden formally titled the "Silver Bullet Bar" for all sorts of good food, live entertainment and shenanigans. It opens daily at noon and features a separate entrance for non-ticket holders, too.. If you're making your way to the BDO Canadian Open at all this weekend, join us for all the fun and festivities!
Tonight’s 8:30pm draw might get crazy, as there is the threat of tiebreakers early Saturday morning. I'll update the results either later tonight or Saturday morning.
There are, and will continue to be, photos of my BDO Canadian Open travels posted on my Twitter page, so feel free to check those out as I continue my experience... and keep up with all the live scoring on the official Grand Slam of Curling website!
Side note: Special thanks go out in this post to all of the BDO shuttle drivers for their time and patience, and congratulations to expert driver and devoted curler, Ian, who recently proposed to his fiancée from, where else, the curling ice!
Ian made his move rather creatively at his club, where he and his fiancée both curl, getting a bunch of friends and family in on the proposal by pretending to take a nasty spill at the end of his sheet and telling them to send her running when it happened. Unfortunately, she didn’t want to go because she felt like she was not qualified to tend to his ‘injuries’! Thankfully, after some heavy persuasion, she slid out to save her man… and was delivered a different kind of curling rock ;)
Anil Mungal photos copyright Capital One