“Go curling!” was the most frequent cheer bellowed by the hooligans in section 116 during draw one of the Canadian Olympic trials. “Whammy!” was a close second. While Ron Burgundy’s appearance brought buzz, the vast majority of this crowd was jacked about the action on the ice.
The fight for the right to represent Canada at the Olympics is the greatest competition in curling. No other event can compete with the class of field gathered here. USA basketball may put together Dream Teams, but Canadian curling puts on a Dream Bonspiel, and Manitoban curling fans know it. Also, half of Saskatchewan is here, still showing signs of their Grey Cup hangovers.
After Will Ferrell finished a wisely chosen piece of Canadian promotion for his new motion picture, the first draw of women’s play kicked out of the hack. The feature match for both TSN and the crowd was undoubtedly the all-Manitoba matchup between Chelsea Carey and Jennifer Jones.
Team Jones are the clear favourite in any oddsmaker’s books, and they looked the part in draw one. They crushed Carey with a standard of shotmaking that will be very difficult for anyone else to match this week. It looked like women vs girls out there.
I know JJo and crew have a history of making things difficult for themselves, but they don’t show any of those “nervous at the top” jitters that have been present at past Scotties. They look calm, cool and completely in control in front of the home crowd.
In other draw one action, less-known names Sweeting and Sonnenberg each showed that they don’t think of themselves as also-rans, knocking off Rachel Homan and Heather Nedohin respectively. Sherry Middaugh bested Stefanie Lawton.
But that’s just game one. There are many questions here left to be answered. Like: how will team JJo’s dominance hold up late in the week? How will the vocal cords of the curling hooligans hold up later tomorrow? Are the teams who got the yellow uniforms extremely bitter? The Spectator Tribune will be here all week giving you a level of coverage bordering on the the perverse.
Ross McCannell is the arts editor at the Spectator Tribune, and is a past winner of both the World Junior Curling Championship and the Dauphin Farmers Bonspiel. Seriously. Follow him on twitter @RossMcCannell