Friday, February 15, 2013

Colleen's story

There are a couple of nice takeouts on Colleen Jones, who is making a return to the Scotties this weekend for the 1,432nd time. The ever-smiling, sometime gum-chomping broadcaster is on the Nova Scotia team which has Mary-Anne Arsenault as skip.

First up is Don Landry's story over at, which analyzes Jones' sweeping abilities after all these years as a skip. She was asked the last time she did some heaving brushing at a national championship:

“Well, it was in the last century, many, many years ago," she said when asked to tell the tale of the last time she played front end at a national championship. The year was 1979 and Jones was part of a team skipped by Penny Larocque. 
"I was, I think, the youngest competitor at the Canadian championships at the time. 19 years and 3 months or something. Really kind of early, early days of women’s curling. It was primitive in comparison. Primitive in terms of what the arena looked like. Really different times back then. We played in Montreal and there were no fans in the stands except, maybe, 200 people."
To prepare for the gruelling week ahead, the team worked with trainer Neil Hayes, who was a tyrant, according to Jones.

“He’s got us doing every excercise that begins with an Eastern Bloc country name," cracked Jones, ever the quote-machine. "Like the Bulgarian lift, the Romanian lift. He has us doing nasty, nasty stuff. He’s helped us a lot. I think I could take on a couple of people in a race, in an arm wrestle, in a bench press, in a squat. Definitely in a bicycle race through the Alps I could definitely take people.”

The multi-talented Sean Fitz-Gerald has also penned a riveting look at Colleen Jones and her brush with death a few years ago from bacterial meningitis. It's in today's National Post. 

"You're never lucky to get bacterial meningitis, but when I think of all the travelling I've done over the years, I was lucky it happened in Canada." 
She spent about a week in hospital and underwent surgery to correct an opening that had been allowing cerebrospinal fluid (Jones usually shortens it to "brain fluid" in conversation) to leak out her nose, and sometimes into her lungs. It was not long before she returned to the ice.
The story makes it worthwhile to pick up the Post (or if anyone has a link, please send it on).

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