Sunday, March 16, 2008

A day at the semi

A day at the Brier without a column to write:

* I leave the hotel at 11:30 and see Pat Simmons waiting in the lobby. He doesn’t appear to have any bandages anywhere.

* First end: Simmons makes his first two shots and the suicide watch is downgraded to yellow.

*Second end: Jill Officer is shown on the Smooch Cam all by herself. Somewhere in Finland, George Karrys is crying.

* Third end: Ontario fifth Steve Bice disappears for a few minutes, returning with five cookies. He and coach Scott Taylor being to chow down.

* Four of the five cookies are gone by the end of the fourth end.

* I miss the CBC track cam. All they have now is a big boom camera, conveniently located at the exit to the media room forcing the ink-stained wretches to duck and dodge while trying to get a coffee as this large metal arm zips overhead. Bob Picken never leaves the bench.

*At the fifth-end break, former CCA president and Dave Parkes fan Zivan Saper comes by the press bench with a bucket to collect money from the press for the Sandra Schmirler Foundation. He sees me and says: “The Globe flew Bob Weeks in for the final weekend to be the enemy.” Huh?

* Taylor eats the last of the five cookies but Bice disappears again and brings out a plate for the team. Howard, Hart and Savill chow down.

* The CBC brings Don Duguid into the booth to call the action for an end as part of its farewell to the Brier which provides the awkward moment of the week when the cameras show Dugie and Mike Harris shaking hands. That, of course, means Harris squeezes the famous baby finger of Dugie, the one that holds more curling knowledge than Harris supposedly knows.

* Seventh end: The in-house announcer gets everyone up to do the twist. Somehow, I imagine this is how exercise hour at the retirement home looks.

*Eighth end: The wave breaks out in the MTS Centre, proving that curling fans really are stuck in the ‘70s.

* As soon as the last rock in the eighth – an open hit – leaves Simmons’ hand, the crowd yells out “Clean, clean.”

* Ninth end: Team Howard calls a time out. Isn’t it amazing how when a team calls a time out, they never know where to signal. They all make the T sign and then do 360s, hoping to attract the attention of the mysterious clock master.

* The crowd located by the boom starts to get angry when the camera continually blocks their view. “Move the Camera” they yell. At the least the CBC is going out like it came in.

* How good are Savill’s two chips in the 11th? They easily allow Ontario to win the game.

* Pat Simmons comes into the scrum and his eyes get watery and his voice cracks. He stays there and answers questions though. There isn’t anyone anywhere who doesn’t feel for this guy.

* Sunday, Martin vs. Howard. Does it get any better?

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