Sunday, December 06, 2015

2015 Canada Cup - The End

[Catch up on The Beginning and The Middle...]

Last Day

The end. Always bittersweet.

Busy day with two finals, and then final tear down. This event is a bit different, with the knowledge that we're all coming back in February for the Scotties, so the good byes weren't as sad as usual. The volunteers and local media have been great, so it'll be nice to see the same people again in a couple months. I think I've also sussed out the cheap & cheerful eats near the arena too, score!

And as always, I cherish the time I spend as a fly on the wall as the veteran curling media guys swap stories and reminisce about curling events and personalities from the past. It really is a privilege to work with them event after event. They're always really good to me, welcoming me and making me feel comfortable in the media room. Besides my curling boss (who is my favourite boss because he says thank you and is always a pleasure to work with), I tend to get along well with the various guys who write for the event newspaper; I usually sit next to them on the media bench and we chatter in the scrum area. This event's writer was great as usual so I hope to meet up with him again down the road.

I'm not a pro at media/videography stuff. I know what I know because I've learned a few things, but I don't know everything (like how to stop the horrible glare and shadows coming off the lights. Need covers next event). I do this for fun on my vacation. So to continue to be asked to work for Curling Canada at these events is a real honour, and an opportunity I hope I can continue relishing for more curling seasons!

So I'll say good bye to the curling world and Grande Prairie, but only briefly as I'll be back in February!

Happened upon the set up for a Santa Claus parade on my walk to the arena. I particularly liked the dozen bobcats decked out as all different Santa's reindeer!

Women's final. Best seat in the house.

Homan wins!

This young piper was the best of the week!

Men's final.

This is what you miss during commercial breaks. Live it live!

Koe wins! I sure do love this gig!

Tear down begins as soon as the camera turns off, even as the teams celebrate their victories.

The end. See you down the road!

Saturday, December 05, 2015

2015 Canada Cup - The Middle

Day 3


For a bit on the media bench, I got to sit next to one of the Winter Youth Olympians - Team Canada is visiting and learning and practicing this week. Very cool. I'm obviously jealous those kids are going to Norway.

I also managed to find a dinosaur sponsor pin! No time to visit the new Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum this trip, maybe in February?

I went for a lovely short walk through the park that goes through Grande Prairie. It was such a beautiful December day!

The non-highlight of the night was when my computer crashed in the middle of editing a scrum and I lost it all and had to start again. Then that froze and I found the old one. And there's timing for these videos - I have to post them and pass on the link to my boss who is posting the article and needs the video embed link and this all needs to be done as quickly as possible after a draw. Fortunately I still squeaked in under the wire!

My favourite uniform #1: Team John Epping - My Favourite Purple. Love it!

My favourite uniform #2: Team Pat Simmons, as modelled by John Morris - Crazy Camo.

My favourite uniform #3: Team Sherry Middaugh - Classic Red.

Walk in the park.

Dino pin!

Enter to win Team Jones bobbleheads from WFG!

Quite the line up.

The TSN booth/media bench.

Winter Youth Olympics Team Canada practicing after the last draw.

Day 4

Besides curling, I walked to the Farmer's Market, which was closed because there was a Christmas craft sale on somewhere else but no one bothered to update that on the internet. Anyway, I stayed for homemade tacos at the concession and they were delicious. I'll be back for tacos in February.

It's the second last day which is kinda sad because I'm liking the people here. The Scotties should be fun!

Last round robin - men's draw and women's tiebreaker.

Team Purple Jacket lives to curl another day.

Clocks packed away for another day.

Men's semi. Best view in the house is mine!

Welcoming the Winter Youth Olympics Team Canada.

Having a laugh at the kiss cam!

This is what you miss during commercial breaks.

Extra end to end the evening!

Thursday, December 03, 2015

2015 Canada Cup - The Beginning

Day 1

It's like riding a bike. Sort of.

First I got stranded at the hotel because there's no shuttles out front. Thankfully an old friend saved me and called dispatch - oh how I've missed my curling friends! Dispatch number is now in my phone. Then there was no accreditation for me, so again my friend saved me and got me access. It's a nice venue, small but just perfect for what I'd want from a curling rink (minus the awesome food truck that parked outside at the Kamloops Brier, or the Safeway a dozen steps away at the Moose Jaw events, that was pretty exceptional). I helped set up the media scrum area, all the while pretending I totally knew what I was doing. Then it was watch a bit, film a bit, edit a bit, post. Repeat. I mostly got it right. Record is the big red button. Press record.

Easy peasy day back on the bike. It's good to be back.

Ah. This view again.

Under the media bench. Wicked good storage at this venue.

Taking photos for a calendar giveaway.

Normally I go by Shamchuk, or Slamchuk if it's roller derby. This is a new one though...

Day 2

Epic search for a toothbrush. Watch curling. Press record. Make some new friends. Done and dusted!

Marcel Rocque and Randy Ferbey, just hanging out.

The calm before the storm.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Curling Work For The Win

As I start writing this post, I'm currently sitting in the airport, on my way to Grande Prairie for the 2015 edition of the Canada Cup of Curling. This is my first curling "volunteering" gig of the season - and this season is the busiest curling season I'll be participating in since my first shift of the 2009 Canadian Curling Trials in Edmonton. Over a dozen events in numerous cities later, here I am ready to spend over half my vacations days in a curling venue.

I sort of thought my Curling Canada days might be over: changing times, nothing locally, and the last event I worked, the Scotties in Moose Jaw, was the most fun event I've done so I was ready to go out with a bang. But, I'm super happy to be joining my Curling Canada people in Grande Prairie for not only the Canada Cup this week, but also the Scotties in February! It will be nice to get back into the routine, catch up with old friends, and watch some curling. The Canada Cup is actually my favourite event of the season - it brings together the top men's and women's teams so the curling is fantastic and it's a bit shorter so I don't miss my cats for as many days!

My mom and I will also be travelling to Las Vegas in January to see the Continental Cup of Curling. While I'm not "working" this event, I'll still be watching some super fun curling action as North America takes on the World. It's been awhile since I just watched, and I've never taken a trip with just my mom so it'll be interesting for sure. Also Las Vegas, though not my favourite destination, will no doubt be exciting. 

In April, I'll again take over the curling club manager's office at my curling club as we co-host the U18 Optimist International event. Last year was good times so I'm looking forward to hanging out with the kids for another event. 

Also in April, and a bit of a last minute surprise, is the Grand Slam of Curling's Champions Cup. I've never been to a Grand Slam event, and I've never worked a Grand Slam event - there's never been one close to where I live! So imagine my surprise when I heard the last event of the Slam tour was coming to Sherwood Park, just a short hop, skip and a jump from Edmonton. I signed up. And that's it for now. I have no idea what I'm doing. No idea if the jacket will fit. No idea about anything or anyone, besides two curling officials I've met on the volunteer circuit who I know are volunteering too. But I bet it'll be fun and I bet I'll meet some lovely people and watch some fantastic curling so I'm looking forward to it as well!

And then there's the one that got away...the Winter Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. As soon as I heard about the event, I knew I wanted to go. Norway would be beautiful in the winter, the experience would be fun, and it would be a precursor to getting in as a volunteer for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. I started checking the website for the opening of the volunteer applications almost weekly. I applied, and I crossed my fingers.

About a month ago, I got in.

But...I declined my spot. It would've been amazing, the opportunity of a lifetime, the coolest uniform, the biggest, most exciting atmosphere. I was going to be in the curling venue. And I turned it down.

Why? Well, the only accommodation I could find that wasn't stupid expensive would've been staying with friends of friends (thanks for putting out the offer ladies!) a couple towns over and renting a car and driving through the Norwegian countryside in the winter and then trying to find parking at the Olympics. And the only accommodation offered to me was sleeping on a cot (pillow/sleeping bag had to be brought over with me) in a gym with 200 other people.

I'll let that sink in for a minute. A cot. A gym. 200 people. Shared showers (?). Where would I put my stuff? Loud. Teenagers. Bedbugs. Norovirus. One uniform no laundry. No sleep. 200 people. For $25 a night. For 2 weeks.

I thought about it. I really did. Weighed the pros/cons. Stressed out with deliberation. And turned it down. On top of it all, I wasn't really sold on the communication from the volunteer leaders - I knew I was at the curling venue and would be doing ice/stats but that's it. No idea really what ice/stats meant. Now add a long expensive flight and many, many timezones. I just couldn't do it. I'm not that young and adventurous anymore. I also realize I might be kissing my Korea Olympics dream goodbye too. Sigh.

It's too bad. It would've been the best of times, but also the worst of times. I was relieved though immediately after I sent my email declining the offer - the Scotties is at the same time so I'm going to go there instead. Sure, routine, old hat, but, well, routine and old hat. I'm getting old.

As I finish this, I'm watching HD cable tv while sitting on my couch in my cushy hotel room at the Canada Cup. My own bed, and a king size one at that. Half kitchen, private bathroom. I know I made the right choice.

It's going to be one heck of a curling season - and it all starts tomorrow...