I had occasion to send an e-mail to Keith Wendorf today and I got to thinking that there’s probably no one in the world who has curled in more places and traveled more miles in the name of curling. Not bad for a kid from Don Mills, Ont.
I have only met Keith a handful of times, but I’ve always enjoyed it. He’s a decent, down-to-earth guy with a quiet passion for the game. And what a resume. The guy has been a world-class player, coach, official and now development officer. Has anyone done more? Hey, he was even the guy who tackled that streaker with the rubber chicken on his pecker at the Olympics.
When you think about it, he might be the most important person in recent curling history, having opened up the game in so many markets.
Where have all the curlers gone in Manitoba? They’re certainly not in the grand old Manitoba Bonspiel. As the Winnipeg Free Press reported, the historical event that was instrumental in starting the Brier has just 304 entries, way down from the 438 that started just a year ago. That’s a sad reflection on curling, not just in Manitoba, but across the country. Most events are down and it’s not so much the lack of curlers, I don’t think, as it is the lack of curlers who want to play in these types of events. The big City of Toronto bonspiel, that is still best known to most people as the Canada Life although it’s sponsored by Johnston Controls, struggles with its entries too. Yet curling clubs across the city are jammed. What gives? Perhaps the fact that folks just can’t commit to playing for a week or two straight. We’re all just too damn busy.