While browsing old files, I came across a Christmas-themed column I wrote 10 years ago for Canada’s Sun Media news chain (now Postmedia). To my surprise, I thought some of the content still applies to today’s curling landscape. 

Okay, I’m really not that surprised. Things like this can happen when a sport is one of the oldest in the world (dating back to 1511) and the burden of history seems to weigh heavily across the spectrum.

The question is, does today’s discerning curling fan agree with me? On that note, here it is/was. Happy holidays, everyone.

Dear Santa,

’Twas the night before Christmas and despite good cheer, this writer was hoping for some things quite dear. So as you are flying your sleigh through the night, please think of this list and our curling plight.

Curling shows come and curling shows go, but Grand Slams appear second tier—why so? The Brier has pomp and pageantry, yes, but the action on ice isn’t always the best. Grand Slams offer more teams in the mix, ranked higher and even more skilled with their tricks. With more curling shows now scattered all ’round, can Santa help attendance grow, leaps and bounds?

For he they call Gunner, it’s Jason he’s named; his last name, Gunnlaugson, is really quite famed. A young Manitoban so fierce with his throws, he went off to Russia—tough choice, he now knows. Betrayal from others he thought were his friends have left him not curling, with heart still to mend. So full of passion for curling this one; can Santa please help him remember the fun?

Jason Gunnlaugson having fun at the 2020 Brier • Michael Burns-Curling Canada 

Jason Gunnlaugson having fun at the 2020 Brier • Michael Burns-Curling Canada 

Women of curling, it’s quite often said, deserve a new seat at the front of the sled. “Prize money, events, they’re rarely on par, and men have their arm in that small cookie jar!” The truth, I must offer, they shan’t wish to hear, these ladies are missing something, I fear. Their strategy lacks, or perhaps it’s their hits; whatever it is, it is causing me fits. And not just from me, it’s from curling fans too—and sponsors show interest in men, not in you. So Santa, please help curling ladies with “flash” … and then they just might start earning more cash.

Now curling fans all, the ones left and right, are killing their sport because they’re uptight. They grump and they groan about numbers on backs, and players who chew their gum with loud smacks. And then they complain when their fees start to climb, despite the low cost that remains, every time. They spend cash on golf, it’s really quite strange; so why can’t they spend on curling, for a change?

Now speaking of sponsors, dear jolly Saint Nick, I have got a bone to pick with them, quick. While there are sponsors who love curling’s charm, others just seem to be lost on the farm. Curling has beer, and insurance we thank, but where is the telco, computers and bank? So Santa, I did suggest this was quick; can you help marketers not be so thick?

Last but not least we have news companies, the radio, TV and newspapers three. (Yes, there is quite the large internet thing, but news majors we trust—and that’s no simple thing.) The Sun family, it’s far better than most, with curling stuff regularly published, I boast. But there are some others, too many to name, whose thoughts on this Canadian sport are a shame. So Santa, if you could open eyes just a tad, this country might love more than hockey. How mad.