Olympic Gong Show

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by Teri Lake

10Brier_KMart autographs 2_sm

HALIFAX – Greetings from the Brier!

It’s Haliblogstress extraordinaire who normally writes for the paper version of this here Curling News thing but, when an event like the Brier makes its way to your hometown, the best ticket in town is right here, blogging to you guys. So here we go.

In case you’re wondering why the heck I’m just surfacing now, considering it’s already Day Two, it’s because I’ve been touring this city the last few days, and getting mobbed everywhere I go. The insanity, unfortunately, isn’t for me... but I’ve been happy to be along for the ride .

When the Brier host committee asked me to assist Team Kevin Martin – aka Team Canada, aka Olympic gold medallists – during their promo visit to Halifax, it’s not like I even had to think about it. At all.

Kevin, Johnny Mo, Marc and Benny landed Thursday night and Oh. My. God. It’s been a gong show, to say the least, and I’ve seen everything from well-wishing handshakes to trembling, tearful teenaged girls.

On the docket was a mammoth autograph session (CCA photo by Michael Burns, click to increase size), news conference, Brier Opening Ceremony and interview after interview, but one of the highlights was a visit to the IWK Children’s Hospital.

The guys first met Jennifer Butts at the Port Hawkesbury-hosted Grand Slam event some five years ago. At the time, Jennifer was a healthy young teen with an appetite for curling and she was also a temporary neighbor to the visiting Martin team’s rental house.

Unfortunately Jennifer got sick a few years ago, but has kept in touch with the team. Orchestrated by her mom, they guys were able to surprise Jennifer with a visit, right here in Halifax, and just prior to her 19th birthday.

Throughout it all, the guys have been fantastic. Their profile is so huge right now and previously mundane tasks, like grabbing a double-double from Tim’s, is a massive undertaking with the fan frenzy that occurs. What’s most impressive is how genuinely gracious they are, and how important it is to them to make sure every hand is shook, autograph signed, photo taken and medal passed around, as much as possible.

They want to share their gold medals with Canada in exchange for the overwhelming support they felt from an entire nation, And from what I've seen during this whirlwind visit, Halifax is very happy to share it back.

Stay tuned tomorrow for actual Brier updates!