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London Brier: Monster Jam

Kimberly Tuck is a competitive curler from Strathroy, Ontario who competed with Team Jo-Ann Rizzo at the 2005 Olympic Trials in Halifax, and also won silver at a recent Canadian Mixed. Kim is also one of the principals behind the family curling business, Canada Curling Stone... and now she is behind-the-scenes at the Brier in London for the greatest curling publication of all time, The Curling News. Are you ready for the London Brier, blogfans?

WHOA! Right off!

WHOA! Right off!

by Kimberly Tuck

It seems like just yesterday that the Canadian Curling Association announced that Peter Inch and his London and area committee had been awarded the 2011 Brier.

Countless hours of planning and preparation have been undertaken within every category of the massive undertaking since that announcement, and the local curling community has been buzzing with excitement as we prepare to host the premiere of curling events: The Brier, aka the Canadian Men's Curling Championship.

Just two weeks ago I took my four-year -old son Teegan to see "Monster Jam" at the John Labatt Centre (JLC). As I walked through the gateways and out into the stands the spectacle revealed itself: junk cars, the Monster Trucks themselves, and dirt. Lots of dirt. Some 40-odd dump-truck loads, or so I am told.

I found it hard to picture the four sheets of curling ice that were soon to replace that mess. The roaring engine of "Captain's Curse" and the thrilling stunts of the rookie "Backdraft" would soon be replaced by boisterous calls to sweep by the likes of veteran and hometown hero Glenn Howard and awesome shotmaking by players such as Olympic champion Marc Kennedy from Team Alberta.

Much better!

Much better!

Of course, when I entered the arena bowl of the JLC for a sneak peak on Wednesday night there was no sign of that muddy track. What was laid out before me was the familiar smooth (yet pebbled) sheets of curling ice. As I stood there, taking it all in, I pictured the seats filled with fans, the Brier Bear mascot, and of course the stars of the show – the players themselves.

A sense of anticipation came over me as I wondered who will be the last team standing, the ones that will hoist that Brier Tankard into the air? Which provinces will mount a charge against Alberta in the attempt to give the Brier Tankard a new home, and which teams will unfortunately fall short of achieving The Dream™? There can only be one Brier champion, naturally, and only one foursome gets to take that sought-after victory march down the ice, arms in the air to the drone of the bagpipes.

Fasten your seat belts and stay tuned, as I take you on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of this Brier. I will be juggling volunteer duties with The Curling News Brier beat here at the JLC and there will be observations and comments, ideas and arguments, maybe a couple of up-close player interviews... and certainly my favourite Brier moments during the next nine days to come.

The Brier. It's finally here!