I’m just going to come out and say it; I love curling.
And while I may not be very good at sweeping, throwing, or sliding down the ice on one foot, I sure do love to watch the frozen sport whenever I get the chance.
I don’t care if it’s on television, or at an arena, although I do prefer the atmosphere that accompanies a live curling event.
If you’ve ever attended a Grey Cup hospitality suite, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. That’s kind of atmosphere I’ve found at every single curling event I’ve ever attended.
To me and many others I’m sure, curling is just one of those sports that, regardless of who you’re cheering for, brings everyone together.
I mean, really, how often do you hear news stories about fisticuffs breaking out after a hard fought, extra ends loss or players trash talking each other in the media in advance of a big draw?
You just won’t see that at a bonspiel.
More often than not, players from each rink are friends or acquaintances with each other, having played against or with each other numerous times before.
The reason I bring all this up is because I could hardly contain my excitement last week when it was announced that Red Deer would play host to the 2012 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
For the second time in six years, our city will host the national women’s curling championship.
And why not?
We almost toppled the all time tournament record for attendance when we last hosted the event in 2004, with over 112,000 people going through the turnstiles at the Enmax Centrium.
Canadian Curling Association president Greg Stremlow was in Red Deer this past Friday to make the announcement, and said it was a no-brainer to bring this event back to Central Alberta.
“It’s a win-win situation,” Stremlow told reporters on Friday.
“Not only for the community of Red Deer, but also for the Canadian Curling Association, the athletes and of course, our broadcast partner TSN, who is looking forward to coming here. It’s easy to get to, between two major centres, and the Enmax Centrium is a wonderful facility.”
Mayor Morris Flewwelling, who was hand on Friday, could barely contain his smile once the announcement was made.
He pointed to the number of sports facilities in Red Deer and how the City makes it a priority to keep those facilities current.
I won’t lie, when word of the event first started circulating through the newsroom at BIG105 & 106.7 The Drive, we could barely contain our excitement.
Why all the excitement, you ask?
Well, in my humble opinion, this is one of the most prestigious sporting events in Canada.
Putting aside, for a moment, that the winner of the tournament gets an automatic entry in the World Curling Championships as Canada’s representative, this is an event that ranks right up there with the aforementioned Grey Cup as well as the Brier, which of course, is the Canadian men’s curling championship.
I would even put it up there with the Stanley Cup, which, I know, is almost like living in a community called Salem and confessing to being a practicing witch.
But I stand by it.
I remember when I was younger, and sitting with my family, huddled around the television in our basement watching stone after stone go flying down the pebbled ice.
We didn’t quite get to party status, like we did during Grey Cup, but it was always a good time none the less.
And that’s why we should be excited for Feb. 12th, 2012.
Because nothing brings people together like a good game of curling.
Now all we need to do is show the rest of Canada how to host an event of this magnitude, and make sure we break that attendance record.
I know I’ll be there.