2011 Canadian Wheelchair #Curling Championship: Day 7

Final day today!

Whereas yesterday was relaxing and I got to watch a lot of curling, today was the opposite. Again, there seemed to be a ton of "final day" stuff going on. There were a lot of people running into and out of 'my' office, so while I spent a lot of time not in there working, the rest of the time I was mostly stressing about how I should be in there working, but couldn't be other people were using the space. Of course everyone going into and out of the office was busily working to coordinate take down, or closing ceremonies, or the victory banquet, or transportation to the airport for the journey home.

'My' desk

And of course this was missing and that was lost. Oh and by the way there's a semi final or a final going on and how was I supposed to live update the scores online when I can't get to the computer? Today reminded me of the first day - busy busy busy!!

It was nice to have all the curlers back in though. The morning game was quiet, as attention was divided between the semi final on the ice and the World Women's Curling final on the tv (Canada came in second, good try team Holland!). Everyone came in for the final and the closing ceremonies afterwords, which reminded me of the atmosphere of the round robin. We even had a visit by a couple Mounties, as they traditionally carry out the trophy at CCA events.

One of the most fun couple hours I saw at the club this week happened in between the semi and the final. While the take down crew was busy removing clocks so they could be shipped out on time (they started at the Brier, travelled to us, and will make their way to Regina for the Men's Worlds next weekend), an exhibition game was being played: coaches vs. alternates vs pool players (spares). The coaches borrowed a chair and threw with sticks, and the curlers had a ton of fun! D&C Mobility put $100 out for the winner, and the pool players took it all, handily beating the coaches. So. Much. Fun. This game really summarized what the event was about - teamwork, curling, and fun!

Both the World Women'n Final on tv and the Canadian Wheelchair Curling final on the ice came down to the last rock - and the teams not necessarily picked to win by the crowd won both games. The largely pro-Alberta crowd was heartbroken after Manitoba won the wheelies final over team Alberta, but because we're all nice curling folk, everyone was also happy and congratulatory towards the winners, who worked hard to win the semi and the final that day. The anthem was sung, the trophy handed out and everyone headed to the victory banquet!

Except the take down crew, the photographer and I. We enjoyed an hour of blissful quiet to finish our jobs before heading out to the fancy dinner. This was probably my one and only chance to ever go to a curling event victory banquet, and it was a good time. The food was good, the company was good and it was a perfect way to cap off the event. The top three teams got their medals, the All Star team and Sportsmanship Awards were announced, and everyone got one last chance to say good bye to their new friends. I made a point to thank the officials for all their hard work (and for putting up with my questions all week, I'm not sure everyone gets my humour all the time), and said so long to some new friends.

It was a bittersweet ending. I couldn't help but think from time to time during the event that I was a part of something special. No other event provides such close access to curlers, officials, volunteers and fans. This national championship is unlike most of the others in that we all worked, played and had fun together. Everyone was amazing to hang out with, everyone was pleasant and got along, and everyone was appreciative of all the hard work that went into the event. The Wheelies certainly is something special. I doubt I will get such a chance to work such an event anytime soon, and I am so glad I had the chance to be on the committee and live the event for seven days.

I really enjoyed my job answering phones, sorting out questions, making signage, updating the online curling stats program, organizing photographs, tweeting and facebooking and writing for the CCA. I'm not 100% satisfied with my daily articles, but it was my first go at sports journalism so I think I did a good job for a beginner. Though I have tons of writing experience (a bachelors degree and a masters degree worth of assignments and research papers, two novels for National Novel Writing Month, this blog, and a general passion for words), I am no Larry Wood (CCA) or Mario Annicchiarico (Edmonton Journal, he curled in my league, super nice guy, cool job covering all the curling plus football in the summer). I've received some nice compliments for the CCA and doubt many other people read them so it's all good. If I was to do it again, I'd try harder to get quotes from curlers. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn't want to bother the athletes after a tough loss, sometimes they were too busy after the game, sometimes I was doing a million other things and didn't get around to writing until everyone had left for the night!

Final post: Manitoba Wins the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championship

Today I woke up, and instantly missed putting on my uniform, heading down to the club, and seeing all the wonderful people I met and worked with all week. It truly was a special atmosphere, a once in a lifetime event, an amazing seven days. I've searched for a place to belong for most of my life, and I always find it during the curling events I volunteer for. Curling folks are fantastic, and I always enjoy hanging around them for the duration of such events. This is why I keep taking my holidays in such exotic locales like the Jasper Place Curling Club.

We did a great job. People enjoyed themselves. And that makes me happy.