by Colin Hodgson
RED DEER, Alta. – You've probably noticed that my blog posts don't really reference what's happening on the ice at the Tournament of Hearts. I intend to keep it that way because: who cares what my opinion is of the curling that's taking place? Am I right?
You may also have noticed various men's curling stars taking in the live STOH action – guys such as Dave Nedohin, Mike McEwen, DJ Kidby, Mark Dacey, Brett Gallant and myself (although I am confident none of The Curling News readers know who I am, and I am most definitely not calling myself a star).
What do all of these former champions have in common, in Red Deer, you might ask? Well, all of these men's kings of various events – be they Briers, worlds, Grand Slams, Canadian juniors et cetera – are here supporting their significant others. The other point that seems a bit overwhelming in my mind is the reason I labelled these giants "former" champions. Not one member of this group was able to keep up with the women we share beds with in the 2012 playdowns, ie. the road to the Brier, although three guys came darned close (McEwen, Dacey and Gallant all lost their provincial finals). A little emasculating, you ask? The answer: oh, yes.
This leads me to another realization, one that was kindly and swiftly brought up by my significant other's father: We just don't wear the pants in the relationship anymore. Now that is a tough pill to swallow when it comes to a player like Mike McEwen, merely the world No. 1 in CTRS points and in total money earned, and his relationship with Manitoba lead Dawn Askin, who has six recent STOH appearances and three wins, and is gunning for 2012 bronze this morning.
Yep, this can be an occasional raw spot in the pride of the male curlers. As Mike himself says: "I'd like to take credit for Dawn's success over the last five seasons we've been together, but the reverse is probably more true... and her success has started to rub off on my team."
When I asked DJ Kidby what it's like to live in the shadow of Manitoba third Kaitlyn Lawes, his blunt answer was: "I might not ever get out of that shadow. She tosses a pretty hard out-turn, that one."
So Brett (Gallant), what's it like losing a provincial men's final and coming directly here to support your girlfriend (Nova Scotia third Danielle Parsons)? "Its always tough not coming through on the provincial final," says Brett. "But I really enjoyed watching this women's team play together, and watching this national event makes me wanna get to a national event myself."
Newfoundland coach and 2006 Olympic champeen Jamie Korab had this to say: "My wife was a good curler from Ontario, but once I started to coach her last year, I made her a great curler. At least there is still one good curler in the house!"
Essentially, this entire week has been a little uncomfortable for us guys in the stands... because we're usually the ones out on the ice. There is a definite consensus that all would prefer to be out there playing, rather than squirming in our seats and holding our breath.
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