Recently, the City of Edmonton, national media and curling fans nationwide were abuzz with the Tim Hortons Brier that took place March 2-10 at Rexall Place. I was one of nearly 14 thousand fans who celebrated their love of the game by attending the Final Game, the golden event that would crown Team Jacobs of Northern Ontario as the Canadian champion and secure its place at the World’s Curling Championships, to open in Victoria, BC March 30.
In the midst of a frenzied crowd on Sunday night, right there and then I decided to dedicate this week’s column to that event, giving it a title that would honor one of the Brier’s highlights – in my mind. You see, I figure that if you love curling, you either bought tickets for it (quite a reasonable price I must say) or you watched it on TV nearly every day, or as much as you had time for it, as many of my close friends did. Yes, our little close-knit group got the Brier fever!! So, no need to discuss the play, right?
Actually, as I was on a “news mission” at Buck Lake on Friday morning, with no internet reception, I had to call a friend in Leduc to see who had won that morning’s game! My friend Kathy dropped what she was doing to give us the play-by-play of that particular game. High fives and crazy hollering ensued as my traveling companion and I shared in the Brier fever…
Getting back to Brier highlights, beside the excellent performance of all these provincial champions, the excitement of a packed Rexall and the obvious passion of spectators of all ages –including the elderly, the newborns and the bright-eyed children-, a great majority of curling fans kept an eye on the antics of SOCIABLE, a group of ten dynamic friends who love curling and who appear at every Brier games dressed in matching outfits, showing off some spirited messages on large signs and occasionally roaming the crowd to the delight of fans.
Before the first Brier game, at the Meet the Teams event, the Sociable –nine men and one lovely gal- showed up wearing black tees bearing their name and kilts, adorned with the traditional pouch. As a group they were quite a sight, and the fascinating outfits continued to be shown off during the week: dressed as Waldos, surgeons, baseball refs and Air Force pilots to name a few. Sociable continued to be the talk of the town, the fun of the Brier crowd and were featured several times on national TV… I offered to become their business agent, and I am waiting for a chance to do an official presentation… lol.
In the Patch, the large social hall that thrived all week, there were several booths along the perimeter, heralding major Brier partners: CISN and the Edmonton Journal were there, as well as Capital One. This one was very popular with a “photo booth” offering old-time curling sweaters and brooms, and a display of a LEGO creation of a curling arena complete with spectators and little one-inch curlers: Nova Scotia artist David Macdonald was flown in by Capital One and the admiration and fascination of his followers will have to be enough compensation for this young man!
The Capital One Mascot, tall and vested in colorful curling pants, with a large curling rock as his head, was an energetic performer! He roamed the crowd, at the Patch and during the Brier games, even entertaining the crowd, during the ‘commercial’ breaks. I was happy to meet Brier Bear, who has the dynamic soul of a 70-year-old gentleman who has been doing this gig for… 35 years!! The Brier MC was funny and tireless, and mentioned the one thousand volunteers involved in the planning and execution of the Brier… Impressive! As a curling fan and writer myself, I was enthralled with the TANKARD TIMES, the daily Brier publication full of great photos and interesting, informative articles on all aspects of the Brier. On the last day, flushed with Brier fever, I set out to acquire all editions of the Tankard Times and succeeded with the help of two lovely Brier volunteers. In fact, I now own the entire collection, minus the Friday March 8 edition. I was fascinated to discover that the publisher of the Tankard Times was the editor-in-chief of the Grander-Prairie Daily Herald Tribune, the “Trib” as they call it, Fred Rinne. Obviously trained in the crazy rhythm of a daily publication, Mr. Rinne shined with this Brier mission, and I offer him sincere Kudos! As this was my first Brier, I can tell you it won’t be my last! Great job, Brier People!
Stay in touch, Friends! You’ll find me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be safe and enjoy the approach of Spring!
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