Tuesday, September 30, 2008

That calendar again

I’m not a prude, nor am I a guy who doesn’t like to have a peak at the odd centerfold, but I’ve never really understood the whole women of curling risqué calendar thing.
Let me correct that. I understand the calendar and the fact that it raises money for worthwhile causes. Great idea. What I don’t get is the absolute media frenzy that occurs when it comes out. I do have a theory, however, and it’s not a nice one.
You see, to non-curlers, there’s this image of us brick-throwers as being toothless overweight, stogie-smoking hicks from the back 40 or the trailer park who wear big sweaters and swill beer between shots. Lots of people still laugh when they hear curlers are in the Olympics as athletes. This calendar defies that image to such an extent that the regular press goes overboard in reporting the story.
“What? There are hot chicks in curling? How can this be?”
If it helps to change that image that’s great, but I suspect this will remain more a novelty to the non-curlers out there.
For curlers, it's a fun item and a chance to see a couple of Canuck girls in the buff. Frankly, outside of Christene Keshen and Chrissy Cadorin, most people will have never heard of the others. Might as well put Pam Anderson in there. She'd sell more than the Polish curler -- bet you didn't even know there was curling in Poland.
That said, I think the calendar is a good buy to support the cause and that should probably be the bottom line.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Earle Hushagen: RIP

I received an e-mail over the weekend about the passing of Earle Hushagen, a legend in GTA curling circles. Earle is probably best known as the guy who ran Humber Highland, a 16-sheet facility in Toronto’s west end. He held court there from 1961 to 1990 when he retired and moved to Peterborough.
I played at Humber for a brief period in the early 1980s and competed in the Toronto Major League there for years. Earle was always front and centre either behind the counter or on the ice. He was always competitive and generally had good teams, and won the Ontario men’s once competing in the Brier in 1955, playing out of the Royals.
There was always a joke that when important games were played at Humber, Earle arranged the draws so he played on one of the same two sheets (I can’t remember which they were anymore) which came to be known as E and H.
Earle also won the mixed a number of times and then blossomed as a senior, too. He also ran a great pro shop, one of the biggest and best in the early days. People would come from all over the city to buy stuff there because you were generally assured of getting it.
With Humber being the home of the rental league and rental ice, it’s safe to say that Earle taught thousands of people how to play the game. He was a good teacher although I never really liked his slide; he always seemed to be riding out on the outside edge of his shoe with his weight too far back. But it was obviously effective.
Humber died a slow death not long after Earle left. I remember him telling me that he tried to help the owners get the City of Etobicoke (now part of the amalgamated GTA) to buy the place and it came close a number of times, but it never materialized. The place was sold to a religious group who turned it into a place of worship. Finally, a couple of years ago, it was torn down.
It’s gone and now, so too is Earle. His contributions, however, will live on.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Starting off the new season with a personal plug

With Labour Day behind us and with most (not all, certainly) but most of my golf work behind me for the year, curling comes to the forefront.
I read today that the first event of the season on Curl TV at the Saville Centre starts Sept. 18. Yikes. I remember when it wouldn’t be until Thanksgiving before we’d even think about looking for our curling shoes.
So time to blow the dust off the blog and get it ramped up once again. And what better way to start off than with a self-serving, promotional plug. Just this week, my new curling book arrived in stores across the country. Curling Etcetera: A Whole Bunch of Stuff About the Roaring Game is out and I’m hoping will help pad my RRSP and maybe pay for a new broom or two.
The book is a random compilation of all sorts of trivial and unusual facts about curling and the folks who play the game. It’s an easy read; you can pick it up and flip to any page and start reading as the items are all less than a page or two in length. I love the photo on the cover. I wish I could tell you I had something to do with it but one of the editors at Wiley, the publishing company behind the book, found that.
I hope you’ll pick it up at your local book store or perhaps order it online.