Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 Scotties Canadian Women's Curling Championship: Epilogue

Going to work (extra early) day 1 post 2012 Scotties is not quite the same as hanging out with awesome people watching the country's best curling.

In total, I wrote about 15,000 words during the Scotties. That's like a whole other Master's Degree! Just like my Roar and Continental Cup epilogues, here is my top 5 from the Scotties...

1. Working for/with the Canadian Curling Association
I really, really appreciate the opportunity to hang out and work with the CCA people I met during the Scotties. They made it fun. They made it not lonely. They made me challenge myself. They made me laugh. They made my week awesome. I hope the CCA liked my effort enough to ask me back and I hope I get to meet up with them somewhere down the road!

The office - home for the week!

2. Talking to fantastic people
I did a whole bunch of interviews with a whole bunch of really friendly people, and over the course of the week I talked to even more really friendly people. That's the best part of working and attending these events - and it's the part that everyone I interviewed said was their favourite - curling people are awesome.

Friends also came down to watch some games - I love watching curling with friends! Good times.

3. Tweeting from the Media Bench during the finals
I wrote articles, but I also tweeted scores for the last three final games. For some odd reason, I really like tweeting curling scores (weird, I know, weird) but rarely do it anymore from my own account, so this opportunity was super fun. Besides tweeting, I got to enjoy sitting on the Media Bench, chatting to fantastic people and watching stellar, intense, and super exciting curling. It was surreal. At one point, it hit me that I was watching a national final. And it was awesome.

Team Alberta - the new Team Canada! What an exciting game!

4. Backstage Access
So the CCA gave me an all access pass to the backstage/behind-the-scenes areas. If you follow this blog you know already I love that sort of stuff. It was permission to tweet like a maniac.

The TSN mobile truck - so neat!

5. The curling
Dude, I watched the Canadian Women's Curling Final live!! The ladies were making stellar shots all week! It was good viewing for sure.

Four sheets of awesome curling all week long!

Want to relive my adventures?

My "Scotties Spotlight" articles written for the CCA

My adventures on my blog:
Day 1

What's next?
Well, while I'm heading out to watch a few games at the Brier in Saskatoon next weekend, it'll be awhile until I get to volunteer for the CCA again at an event. I 100% will volunteer for the Brier in Edmonton next year. I'm still waiting to hear about whether I get to be a volunteer director, but regardless I'll be there volunteering in some capacity. I've considered heading out to Moose Jaw to do the 2012 Canada Cup, but after all the highway driving I did at the Scotties, I don't think I can do more winter highway driving to go 4x farther in December. And besides, my mother has forbid me from driving to Moose Jaw in December. And there's no airport there, so yeah. Probably not going to happen. I'm still 99% sure I'm going to Winnipeg for the 2013 Trials (already saving my pennies!). And beyond 2014 they haven't announced any more locations, so that's that.

Will I get to volunteer for the CCA or as part of the local organizing team? Who knows. A lot can change in a year. I would love love love to hang out with the CCA again, but I'd go back to taking out garbages again too. I just want to be involved with the events, because they are a good time full of good people.

2013 is so far away...

Monday, February 27, 2012

2012 Scotties Canadian Women's Curling Championship: Tweets & Backstage Photos

If you were following me on Twitter during the Scotties, you got to see backstage snaps and read about all that went on behind the scenes. This post has all the tweets and links to photos from my Twitter feed, for those of you who aren't on Twitter (but mostly for me to archive). As is the norm on Twitter, all tweets are newest to oldest, so you might want to start at the bottom and scroll up.



February 26, 2012

Last day of my trip to the #stoh make-it-known.blogspot.com/2012/02/2012-s… #curling

Made it home safe & sound, despite weird ice fog south of Leduc. #Curling was awesome but Molly says I can never leave again. #missedmycat

THANK YOU @CCACurling for giving me such an awesome opportunity & for taking such good care of me all week! See you down the road! #curling

Sad to say goodbye to my @CCACurling friends. Have a safe trip home! #STOH #curling

Shot of the week goes to Sasha Carter for shot vs MB in 1-2 game. #STOH #curling

MVP/Sandra Schmirler award goes to Heather Nedohin #STOH #curling

Wow. It just hit me: I just witnessed a #curling final. Unbelievable. What a week!! #STOH

Trophy. O'Canada. Speeches. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/p84UVdjk

To represent Canada at Women's Worlds in your home province - that's pretty special!! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/gJjrunq7

Welcome your new team Canada! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/hyrfGw0d

Crowd goes wild! AB wins!! #stoh #curling pic.twitter.com/6lcs42sk

Crowd needs to stop cheering missed shots. Doesn't matter the team. Remember your #curling manners folks! #stoh

Um. So there's an entire pipe band backstage... #ilovebagpipes #stoh #curling

Scottie trophy being piped in. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/ky4lFDGB

Best sign I've seen in crowd today: "Spares for Hire" - a week like this, we might've needed them! #stomachbug #stoh #curling

Stopwatch falls onto the ice. Nothing burned. Ice has been a magnet for stuff falling on it this week! #stoh #curling

Mounties are waiting backstage. Must be trophy time soon. #stoh #curling

Lady holding end of the paper towel roll won a 4 night stay/golf ($1600) prize pack in Osoyoos! People beside won 2 nights! #stoh #curling

Oh yeah, there's a big #curling game going on... #sillycrowdgames #STOH pic.twitter.com/JbTSPpw4

Game's over, but no one knows what to do with the paper towel. Keep ducking under it to go down the aisle. #bestgameever #stoh #curling

Paper Towel made it 90% of the way around the arena before the roll ran out. Crowd participation at it's finest! #stoh #curling

They're going to run out of paper towel before they make it round the arena. Just over 1/2 way and they're almost out! #stoh #curling

These people are just sitting there with paper towel in their lap. So funny. About 1/3 the way around now. #stoh #curling

They are trying to unroll a roll of Kruger paper towel all around the top row of the arena. So far made it across 5 sections. #stoh #curling

Commercial break antics c/o Stu the MC. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/dZDfAHG5

Quite the game so far, eh? Hope you're all watching - it's a gooder! #stoh #curling

Best version of 'O'Canada' all week - accompanied by Red Deer Royals Marching Band. #stoh #curling

Big crowd for the final. Oh. And a marching band. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/JMqOMydx

Finals time! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/HFIjNnpT

Also piper has been spotted. Bagpipes and marching band? #STOH #curling

Go time!! #STOH #curling

So this is backstage. Did they fire the piper? #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/2Ra7gff9

Last one! I had a ton of fun writing this week! “@CCACurling: Scotties Spotlight: The Homestretch bit.ly/z1uurg” #STOH #curling

JJones in the media scrum. Ain't nothing wrong with bronze! Better than what I've got. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/TaTCzDTF

Second to last day of my #stoh #curling adventure: make-it-known.blogspot.com/2012/02/2012-s…

Coldest day in arena all week. Sitting with my arms crossed to keep warm. Also prevents clapping. #notallowedonthemediabench #stoh #curling

Weakerthans 'Tournament of Hearts' playing in the arena now! youtube it. #awesomesong #stoh #curling

Those cameras are bigger than my head! No wonder they take better photos than I do. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/FRZHMye4

Amy Nixon isn't here, so Janet Arnott and an umpire have taken over 5th end jigging duty! #ilovebagpipes

Highland dancers in the 5th end break! Sweet! #ilovebagpipes #stoh #curling

Throwing out boxes of Scotties facial tissue during commercial. No longer #curling now we're playing football. Just another morning at #stoh

A Nedo-Win!!! Cheesier than my "Beat and Pulse of the HeartStop lounge" article title??? #stoh #curling pic.twitter.com/uTRaVtnj

It's early. Thank goodness MB is playing yellow rocks. #matchestheirjackets #easiertofollow #tiredeyes #stoh #curling

Good morning from the #STOH #curling !! pic.twitter.com/zxzzL8RZ


February 25, 2012

One more day of #STOH #curling awesomeness then it's back to real life! #bittersweet

It's the Mudmen in the HeartStop - they have bagpipes! #STOH #curling #ilovebagpipes pic.twitter.com/ut9uAjC1

Nedohin is pretty excited! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/1tcLVjDO

Crowd. Insane. Twice! AB for the win! #stoh #curling

Dead silent in this arena. #stoh #curling

Can someone put together a video montage of Heather Nedohin's awesome reactions this week?! #stoh #curling

Nedohin makes the double. Crowd goes crazy! #stoh #curling

Learning a lot about what statisticians do sitting here on the media bench. Definitely helps to know the game for that job. #stoh #curling

Now they're throwing Scotties paper towels into the crowd! Love those sponsors. #stoh #curling

MC making quartet of ladies in gold sequin dresses do a little dance to "Stop in the name of love". #stoh #curling

Singer w/guitar singing to crowd in the 5th. Was hoping we'd get to see Amy Nixon jig, but it ain't happening. #stoh #curling

Game during commercial break: "Where do you live?" "Alberta." What do you do?" "Nothing" #loveretiredfolks #stoh #curling

Curlers sweeping the stand to collect for @SandraSchmirler. #stoh #curling

Toilet paper games in the crowd during commercial break. #notkidding #STOH #curling

Finding it hard to be impartial and not clap on the media bench. Guess I'll just have to mutter to myself as per usual. #stoh #curling

3 places to watch curling in view. Visual overload. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/1kygkQ8Q

My view. It'll do. #STOH #curling #pretendingtobemedia pic.twitter.com/eXKUTMVZ

This is what the statisticians' screen looks like. Follow along on curling.ca via Curlcast. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/Dz5yQdz8

All set up on the media bench - I'll be tweeting scores for all the finals for @CCACurling so be sure to follow along! #stoh #curling

They've got the buckets ready - clean out your pockets for the @SandraSchmirler!! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/3cFjL8wI

Team Canada kids in the house!! way to go teams AB!! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/Fed13HmU

Lunch - listening to all kudos & glowing comments about the transportation drivers on CB radio - they are doing such a great job!! #STOH

AB wins! Will meet MB in semi later this aft. Well played ladies, fantastic curling this morning! #STOH #curling

Gosh the ice is slippy this week! #STOH #curling

OH in crowd: Husband: why's she trying to guard? Wife: just watch. You never made it to the Scotties. #STOH #curling

Interesting watching Russ, Linda & @VicRauter call the game. Stand. Sit. Gesture. More animated than it sounds. #STOH #curling

Exciting game! Nedohin draws for 2, 6-4 AB leads QC going to 10. QC with hammer coming home and they've turned it on! #STOH #curling

Neat to see the cameramen I interviewed yesterday in action today shooting the #curling! #STOH bit.ly/wAJaoT pic.twitter.com/GVK4iJjR

Kinda lonely, only one sheet at a time. AB leads QC 4-3 playing in 7th end of this 3-4 page playoff. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/zJoQfppp

During playoffs commercial breaks the @CCACurling MC talks to the crowd. He's a funny guy. You gotta be here! #STOH #curling

Day 7 was a short one, but still super cool! make-it-known.blogspot.com/2012/02/2012-s… #stoh #curling

I did some fascinating interviews with TSN! “@CCACurling: Scotties Spotlight: TSN's got it Covered bit.ly/wAJaoT #curling” #stoh

Working on my last articles for @CCACurling. It's been a great week talking to folks - I'll miss this friendly atmosphere! #stoh #curling

Looking for fans at #STOH #curling who have a long way to travel home tomorrow. Want to interview you for an article!


February 24, 2012

HeartStop Lounge is packed already & the game isnt even over yet! They're going to party hard tonight! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/xV2FcAqK

Writing up my blog for the day. Did I mention @CCACurling is awesome - they let me into the TSN truck and commentator booth! Cool day.

They also let me in here... #stoh #curling #bestvacationever pic.twitter.com/8ATQU6g3

I went into the #TSN truck today. It was super interesting! #stoh #curling pic.twitter.com/YQyzoHCw

Did I just book a room in Saskatoon to go watch the #brier #curling opening weekend? Why yes, yes I did. @1CathyC is awesome. #justsaying

Day 6 of my one-in-a-lifetime #stoh adventure: make-it-known.blogspot.com/2012/02/2012-s… #curling

Starting to think I shoulda taken a journalism class or something - I'm about to interview the #TSN producer! #sonervous #stoh #curling

@CCACurling Thanks! Am happy to be here - its been super interesting so thanks for letting me tag along and hang out for the week!

By the way, a real @CCACurling journalist thought of that title. It's so cheesy it's awesome!

My latest: “@CCACurling: Scotties Spotlight: The Beat and Pulse of HeartStop Lounge bit.ly/zaIpF6 #curling #stoh”

No #STOH #curling till later. No laptop. Spotty Internet on my phone. Can't figure out how to turn on the complicated tv setup. Bored.


February 23, 2012

No tiebreakers!! I get to sleep in!! #happydance #STOH #curling

There goes Amy Nixon with her 5th end jigging again!! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/zfr0nFtd

Loud crowd + Lots of shots to cheer for = Gonna be a gooder! #STOH #curling #herecomesthewave

Biggest crowd since the weekend. Most of these games matter - it'll be an interesting night of #curling. #STOH #playoffs #tiebreakers

Just got the best gift from @CCACurling! Thanks! They've been taking good care of me this week! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/ohyOWNPW

Where the bands hang out. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/qznyuLQo

... Generally making a nuisance of myself #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/mEKLIlyD

I'm backstage... #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/UKzfRwoU

Getting ready to walk the teams out. Coaches carry flags and junior curlers carry signs. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/eXYYePdq

The roof over sheet b is leaking and they're playing " Singing in the Rain" in the arena. #justsaying #stoh #curling pic.twitter.com/pCccnyJr

Nervous day yesterday! Fun times in the arena: make-it-known.blogspot.com/2012/02/2012-s… #stoh #curling

Took a look around the Hall of Fame. Interesting stuff! Will post some photos on my blog tomorrow. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/L1LkTKqL

Hanging out at the pin trading table, chatting to a pin guy. Fascinating! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/e1OsjYnf

Talking to folks in the HeartStop Lounge today. Here it is empty... #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/l0QbHjIn

Here it is! “@CCACurling: Scotties Spotlight: View from the Media Bench bit.ly/xmDb1H #curling #stoh”

My @CCACurling article today is about the media bench. Watch for it later today! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/OJkyNeYg


February 22, 2012

I do love them, but it's a bad sign that I'm still hearing bagpipes even though I'm not in the arena, right? #STOH #curling #longweek

TSN video on moms playing in #stoh & their cute kids. When I make it to the big show gonna make them show my cute cat. #onlyfair #curling

Back in fav spot top centre. Woman beside me is knitting dishcloths. @ErinCraig11's going to teach me! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/ZJjScZ0D

They've got the Canadian Junior womens and mens trophies on display. Way to go Alberta! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/xCYcgORk

Just paid $200 for a $400 jacket! This vacation is starting to pay for itself! #longwaystogo

People in the Red Deer mall are looking at me funny. Keep forgetting to take off my #stoh accreditation in the real world. #badgeofhonour

Horgan. Tiny. Scott too. Small but mighty. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/bmMLq9oD

Ice guys coming out to look at issue with the ice on the tv game. Oh the excitement. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/2kjypDQ7

Taking a break from typing to watch the 9th end. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/K08vZbzU

Yikes! “@AllenCameronCH: Wind issues in Red Deer causing the problem with TSN feed from #stoh #curling”

What did I do yesterday at #stoh? Interviewed the best fans ever!! make-it-known.blogspot.com/2012/02/2012-s… #curling

Just 'interviewed' @AllenCameronCH. Nice guy. Cool job. Follow him for #STOH #curling updates!!

About to interview @AllenCameronCH for today's article. Nervous as all heck.

The media, doing what they do best in between draws. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/hztXJSmp

I had a lot of fun doing this one! “@CCACurling: Scotties Spotlight: Fans in the Stands bit.ly/AnJUzB #curling #stoh”

Not even tempted to interrupt Brent Laing who's sitting in front of me now. #STOH #curling

I must be maturing as a fangirl. I haven't gotten any autographs or pictures with curlers this week. #STOH #curling

Headed high up into the stands to watch last couple ends & who's sitting in front of me? Brent Laing of Team Howard. pic.twitter.com/MJP3ZVb8

Hmm. @CCACurling hasn't posted my Tues article yet? Am I fired? Or maybe they have a gazillion other things to do? #curling #busyeventseason

February 21, 2012

Slowly making my way up the #JPCC pool and back in the 500s at http://pickem.curling.ca. A good way to end another gooder of a day at #STOH.

Amy Nixon jigged up a storm during 5th end break music-a-thon. Crowd loved it! #STOH #curling

Heated discussion about side ponytails in our section. Not kidding. #STOH #curling

Proof. What is its name? “@1CathyC: I'm here with @lisamchuk and @ErinCraig11 and Scottie pic.twitter.com/1nU7IjzR

Finally! @1CathyC and @ErinCraig11 made it to #STOH, just in time to get our photo with Little Softee. #curling

3rd for Bottcher/AB's Canadian Junior Men's Champ Team is sitting in our row. So proud of those AB kids! #STOH #curling

Looks like previously injured Tammy Schneider is playing tonight. #STOH #curling

They are playing "Crazy Frog" during practice. Seriously. #makeitstop #stoh #curling

TSN guys we're filming Team Horgan dance during warm up. Some of these players are hardcore about their stretching routine. #STOH #curling

5ths and coaches are cleaning rock handles with disinfectant wipes. Hoping no one else catches that stomach bug! #STOH #curling

Team NWT/YK meeting tonight's junior #curling stars. #STOH pic.twitter.com/USMOB93l

Just interviewed the loveliest pair of ladies - true ambassadors of #curling. They'll be in my article later today. #STOH

Curlers are warming up. It a mixture of Pilates & running on the spot & dancing to the music. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/y90GeC84

Teams Canada and Ontario are dancing to the warm up music. Should be a great afternoon! #STOH #curling

I had it that horrible stomach bug last month. It's nasty. Wonder if I'm immune? #stoh #curling

Best line overheard so far about the flu outbreak: "They're dropping like it's hot." #stoh #curling

Sounds like Norovirus is raging through the Scotties! Take care of yourself everyone! #stoh #curling

What did I do at the #stoh yesterday? I talked to awesome people and almost hit a deer with my car! #curling make-it-known.blogspot.com/2012/02/2012-s…

Alberta Institute of Massage is giving massages to volunteers for student practicum hours. Best. Idea. Ever. #stoh #curling #lateforwork


February 20, 2012

Insightful as always. “@AllenCameronCH: A few thoughts on a night of falls, burns and dilemmas bit.ly/z3iswv #stoh #curling”

Highway driving for days but where do I almost hit a deer? Block away from place I'm staying in residential Innisfail! pic.twitter.com/gJluzS2q

Oh ladies. You are not helping my #curling pools. At the rate we're going I'm going to finish at the bottom of both. #STOH

This Can/MB sheet is going to get a reputation for causing accidents. 2 curlers down already. #toughluck #stoh #curling

Taking the night off to actually watch #curling. Sitting with @1CathyC. Nice view, eh? #STOH pic.twitter.com/l91GS9LC

Me again! Fun times chatting to volunteers!“@CCACurling: Scotties Spotlight: Volunteers Rock Red Deer bit.ly/AzcC25 #curling #stoh”

This is the art wall I see every time I walk to the office under the stands. I kinda like it. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/0OMXL4DZ

Best chirp I just heard from the crowd: "How did she miss that shot? Even I could make it, on the Wii I could make it!!" #STOH #curling

Chatting to fans in the stands about the importance of women's curling. Fascinating!! #STOH #curling

View is pretty good from under the clocks... #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/xFn4vRux

Second day of my #stoh #curling adventure is up! make-it-known.blogspot.com/2012/02/2012-s…

It's oh so quiet... #STOH #curling #calmbeforethestorm pic.twitter.com/2OZYpIHQ

Vacuums, brooms and scrapers are out in between draws. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/I9daKZw1


February 19, 2012

Home safe. QE2 highway was ok my direction, but closed northbound Innisfail-Red Deer. Big trucks decided to play bumper cars. Big detour.

Heard my highway home is closed going the wrong direction. Have to chance it, no other way to get home.

My favourite part of watching #curling in smaller venues is that you can move around and choose your own view! #STOH pic.twitter.com/eLAZDFjA

Sask fans with sparkly green wigs just stood up and sang 'Happy birthday' to Russ. Could you hear that on the tv? #STOH #curling

Sitting in the bowels of the basement, listening to the bagpiper warm up. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/bTdfnjiI

I wrote that!!! “@CCACurling: Scotties Spotlight: Sandra Schmirler Day bit.ly/xxDLoL #curling #stoh”

Anyone else playing the @CCACurling's Pick'Em challenge? I'm in 302nd place with 11 points. #stoh #curling pickem.curling.ca

You can feel the vibrations as the rock goes by in the front row. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/diLG4ibh

Upgraded my view to front row. Chatting to @carmenincalgary! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/X7E9ZOZA

The first story from my #curlingvolunteering @ the 2012 Scotties Canadian Women's #Curling Championship: Day 1 make-it-known.blogspot.com/2012/02/2012-s… #stoh

Hee hee. @TSNVicRauter said 'Oromocto'. That's an awesome word. Sad Grattan isn't in the #brier. Would've heard it all week! #stoh #curling

Draw about to start! #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/KPRPf5cG

And now in their natural habitat. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/fJh8UwIs

Met a bunch of great people while hanging out at the @SandraSchmirler telethon area. Great cause: call 1-866-210-6011 #STOH #curling


February 18, 2012

Was only at #STOH for 4hrs today and already met tons of really friendly people. And that's the reason why I take #curling holidays!

Backstage. #slightlymoreexciting #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/VbrMnWkO

Oh the excitement of backstage. #STOH #curling #notreally pic.twitter.com/sw5vA8gR

So who would you like to see me interview at the #STOH besides curlers/fans/volunteers? Ice maker? Umpire? Camera guy? ...? #curling

Secrets out: my job at #STOH #curling is to write a daily article for curling.ca - pics & interview folks, plus tweet scores for playoffs.

View from the top. Pretty stoked this is my home for the next week. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/ltIAaOVq

They gave me all access. Ha! View from the ice. #STOH #curling pic.twitter.com/vzTjvdwC

Just got the full backstage tour. It's fun to be brushing shoulders with curlers again. Expect tons of pictures this week! #STOH #curling

Accreditation and uniform acquired! Now if I could only find the @CCACurling event office... #STOH #curling

Finally made it to Red Deer & the #STOH! If I could only figure out where to get my volunteer accreditation #cantgetintothearena #curling


February 17, 2012

Good luck to all the curlers playing in the Hot Shots today!! #stoh #curling

2012 Scotties Canadian Women's Curling Championship: Day 9

Last day!

I was at the arena early, and I mean early, like I got up earlier than I would for work. Yuck. But it was for a good reason - I was back on the media bench to tweet the bronze medal game. I really enjoyed hanging out with the statisticians, they are a good bunch. The crowd was a little on the light side, but it was early. And a Sunday. And the bronze medal game. I know the curlers hate it, but in most sports you have to earn bronze so I don't have a super big problem with it. Curling is curling and it's fun to watch regardless, this coming from someone who didn't want tiebreakers so they could sleep in but then really missed tiebreakers because it meant no curling and that's boring. There's nothing wrong with bronze, it sure beats what I've got.

Anyway. The game was close until MB got 4 in 7, then it was just a matter of holding out until 10 ends were finished.

There wasn't any time to go out to grab something to eat, so mostly I just wasted my time in the office backstage waiting for the final to start. I reclaimed my spot on the media bench and settled in for the final.

It was a great game. The downside of sitting on the bench was that I wasn't allowed to cheer - which was tough because the ladies were making some great shots! It was an exciting game, very tense. I wasn't particular who won as I figured both would AB and BC would be good representatives at the worlds, but in the end AB came out with the win. They were so excited!!

Let the game begin!

Congrats Team Nedohin!

Her first interview (TSN) after the win.

Scott, swamped by the media.

An entire pipe band!

Team Canada!!

The podium way off in the distance.

It hit me finally, while I was standing on the bench watching this all go down - I was there live to watch a national championship. How awesome is that?! It was incredible, the energy of the crowd, the skill of the players, the amazing atmosphere. Wow. What a week!!

It's amazing how quickly everything gets taken down afterwards. I probably gave up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to the banquet, but I hadn't been looking forward to that snowy/icy/foggy drive home all week and wanted to get out of the arena and on the highway before the sun went down.

Oh the sad moment at the end when you have to say goodbye to your friends and your home for the week. It was a bittersweet moment for sure, saying good bye to my CCA friends but I know I'll see them down the road somewhere. It was awfully nice of them to let me hangout all week - the CCA was really good to me! I learned a ton, had a load of fun, and was sad to have it end, but as all good things do, it did. A few thank yous, a few hugs, and I was heading down the highway, chasing the daylight.

Besides some weird ice fog outside of Leduce, my drive wasn't too bad at all. My cat was certainly happy to see me, and besides a couple dead plants, you'd never know I left for the week.

Oh the memories.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

2012 Scotties Canadian Women's Curling Championship: Day 8

I started my day off early with another massage, provided free to the volunteers from the Alberta Institute of Massage Therapy. Fantastic way to start a day!

From there I quick caught up with more lovely fans prior to the game. This was probably my last interview of the week. I've really enjoyed talking to people. Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming. They are always eager to give their thoughts. I think my articles have been sounding a bit sugary and similar, but honestly, that's what the people are saying - they're having a fantastic time! I haven't had to poke or prompt or anything!

I spent most of the first draw writing up my homestretch article and pottering on the internet. After the fifth end break I went up into the stands to watch the rest of the AB/QC page 3-4 playoff. There's been some good curling out there this week, and today is a perfect example of that. Tense, but super exciting.

We went out quickly to grab lunch after the draw, and happened upon a lovely moment. We were listening to the driver's CB, and the dispatch guy let a fan come on, who gushed about how awesome the drivers have been this week. This prompted a flood of drivers saying their thanks and about how awesome their team has been. Finally the dispatch guy said something like "Time for a group hug!" Gosh it was so cute, we laughed and laughed. They have been doing a great job, everyone has. It's that point of the event where life starts to become a little bittersweet. Everyone is in their routine, things are running awesome, everyone is happy and friends - but we know it's coming to an end. Just like everyone else, I'll be happy to go home and get back to real life with all it's conveniences, but I will miss all of this.

Quick lunch, then my job shifted - for the rest of the event I wont be writing articles (I finished what I needed to do). Instead, I'll be perched up on the media bench with the statisticians tweeting linescores. Awe-some!! I did the AB/MB semi final and it was super fun. The view of the game is great, and the statisticians are really nice. We chat about the game, but I've also learned a bit about what they do. It's been really interesting. I did linescores for Curlcast during the wheelies, but they explained to me how they score players. The need to know what shot is called (and sometimes they miss it or don't see it so they asked me as I was listening to the TSN feed), then they score the shot made out of 4. It helps to know the game for sure.

It was a great game. The crowd was the largest I've seen all week, and into it, including the high-larious commercial break antics perpetrated by the always funny MC.

Brendan Bottcher and Evan Asmussen of the Canadian Jr. Men's team. Both AB/Canadian Championship teams were here to be introduced to the crowd.

My view from the media bench.

Handshakes, ready to go!

My media benchmates, the statisticians, chief statistician, chief umpire and TSN commentator Brian Mudryk. The media/reporters sit in the two rows in front of us.

Heather Nedohin talking to Brian after her big win. She's hilarious on camera.

In the end, AB won on a super close measure - the home province crowd went insane! What an unpredictable week (as evident from my tanking in both my club pool and pickem.curling.ca)!

I hung around the HeartStop to hear a couple songs by the Mudmen (rockin' bagpipes, but I had to leave after they murdered a Great Big Seas song), then almost got locked out of the basement. Fortunately I found a way in before I had to call reinforcements, then it was back on the snowy blowy highway for my last night in Innisfail.

One more day to go!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

2012 Scotties Canadian Women's Curling Championship: Day 7

Lazy day.

There were no tiebreakers, so the only game today wasn't until later in the evening. So, I slept late and generally did nothing for a couple hours. Then I got bored. So I checked my work email and realized I needed to use my laptop to fix a few things. Problem was my laptop was locked in the office way back at the arena. Eventually I made it to the venue at about 3pm to rescue my laptop and sort out my real life.

Following that, the late afternoon and evening was a whirlwind of activity! The nice people at the CCA arranged for me to interview some TSN people. I wasn't so nervous until they said I could interview the producer - yikes! Unfortunately I never did manage to catch up with the commentators, but I did have a nice chat with the producer (who was super friendly and not at all intimidating), then got a tour of the mobile truck (very cool, lots of lights and screens!), and talked to some very enthusiastic camera men.

TSN mobile truck

Vic, Linda and Russ doing what they do best!

After interviewing the TSN crew, the awesome CCA people who have let me hang out in their electrical room office and tag along with them all week and I went for dinner. Thank goodness I haven't had to eat two meals of arena food all week! The rest of the evening was spent writing my article while listening to the curling via the FM signal. Yes, I listen to the curling instead of watching it take place 30 feet away - I've been busy working! Well, if you can call loitering in the TSN mobile truck work. Don't get to do that every day!

The only thing that might put a damper on my fun for the final weekend is the weather. They're calling for snow snow snow and I've got a lot of highway to cover.

One weekend to go!

Friday, February 24, 2012

2012 Scotties Canadian Women's Curling Championship: Day 6

Another day another dollar. Well, not really. I'm doing this for free. Best. Vacation. Ever.

My theme today was the HeartStop Lounge. I interviewed a few volunteers, including one of the pin traders (who may make an appearance in my article later this week). Near the pin trading table is the Hall of Fame. It was full of photos and trophies and equipment from the olden days.

The current Scotties Tournament of Hearts Trophy (1982-present, I think?)

MacDonald Lassies Championship Trophy (1972-1979). Kinda different, eh?

I wandered around for a bit, and found the most interesting thing to be the historic curling rocks...

The Rough Block - Used from about 1650-1800 - basically a stone they got from the stream or hillside, and then fixed some iron onto it for a handle. They weighed anywhere from 20-115 pounds!

Wooden Stone - Used as practice stones in North American until the late 19th century

Wooden Stone - Used as practice stones in North American until the late 19th century

Iron Stones - Used in Quebec and Eastern Ontario until the 1950s

No sign with a date, but this is probably what they used before the ones we use now. Shoulda put up a sign.

Later this morning I interviewed the people who organize the junior curlers who hold the placards, so I hung around and generally made a nuisance of myself before the game.

Following that I did a couple more interviews, went out for lunch again, typed up my article. Same as every day.

Great title, eh?! That was one of the other CCA people, who is, you know, a real journalist. It's so cheesy it's awesome!

I stuck around to watch the evening draw. There were a lot of important games on the ice - meaning that wins/loses decided tiebreakers and essentially who was in and who wasn't for the playoffs. There were some incredible shots and as promised turned out to be a great draw to watch. We were predicting tiebreakers, but in the end there ended up being none!

You know what that means? I get to sleep in on Friday!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

2012 Scotties Canadian Women's Curling Championship: Day 5

It's mid week. I haven't done much this except drive and type and watch and I stay far away from late nights in the HeartStop Lounge, yet I am exhausted! Sit stand walk eat talk type watch repeat. Is it time for another massage yet?

Today was the day I was most nervous about, so I started it off slow and didn't rock up to the venue till about 10 am (seems to be a bit of a pattern for me this week). I pottered online for a bit, then headed up to the top of the stands to watch an end or two to keep awake. Who else was up there, just hanging out, watching some curling? Second from one of my favourite men's teams - Brent Laing from Ontario's Team Howard. I was all polite and respected his privacy and didn't interrupt him like a crazy fangirl at all. No, I'm serious. I haven't gotten any autographs or photos with curlers or anything this week. I'm totally ok blending in to the background, and just observing them in their natural habitat.

My curling watching solitude was interrupted by a summons to the media bench. Today my article is going to be about the view from the media bench. Two games went to extra ends, so my interviews were delayed, but no worries, I got to hang out on the media bench and watch the games from there. Today I talked to the chief umpire and chief statistician. The reason why I was so nervous? I got to interview Al Cameron. He's the curling reporter for the Calgary Herald - like, a real reporter, with real interviewing and writing skills. Intimidating!

Anyways, I had a nice chat with each of them and learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes on the media bench. I think I might've talked more off the record than on with Al! And despite the two errors that the CCA people editing my writing and I missed, I think the article turned out pretty well too...

I spent the afternoon typing up my article, with a break to go out for lunch. I left the building after the afternoon draw and bought a great winter jacket on sale at the mall for $200, down from $400! This vacation is starting to pay for itself!

I made it back in time for the evening draw and went high up to my favourite section in the centre. It's sometimes lonely watching by yourself, but I was listening to the commentary on my FM transmitter and chatting to the NWT/YK fans behind me, so it's all good. I left early, apparently missing a fire alarm and an extra end!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012 Scotties Canadian Women's Curling Championship: Day 4

Something new and exciting happens every day here in Red Deer! Bet you never heard that before.

I started my day with a 20 minute massage: the Alberta Institute of Massage Therapy is having their students do their practicum hours giving massages to volunteers and staff. Best. Idea. Ever. Other cities that host curling events take note - this is a wicked good idea.

Eventually I made it to the office, stopping on the way to do another volunteer interview for my Sunday article. I have no idea what I'm writing up tomorrow but I'm already working on Sunday. Ha!

Warm up - always interesting to watch what the pros are doing.

I spent the lunch hour hanging out on the concourse, scouting out and interviewing fans for today's article. I talked to a grandma and her granddaughter, the enthusiastic green wig crew and met the two loveliest ladies - the quilt woman and her friend. They warmed my heart - they were true fans that embodied what this sport is about. Read about it in my latest article:

My article didn't get posted until Wednesday. After I post the text and photos, my IT boss edits the format a bit and then it goes to the his boss, and then I think to someone else who edits all the articles, and then eventually it gets posted. I started to wonder if there was a problem with it or if they were firing me. Then I remember the CCA people are kinda busy with a gazillion other things for a gazillion events right now. It made it's way onto the web eventually.

For lunch, I tagged along with my CCA friends and tested out the VIP driving system. They have volunteer drivers on standby, so when curlers or staff need to go anywhere they just hop into a car and tell the driver where to take them and like magic, it happens. Service with a smile. Our driver was super nice. Just like me, he was taking a winter vacation to volunteer, and has done so many times before. Volunteers here are special - this guy took time off work to drive people around. Curling people are good people.

I spend the afternoon writing my article and blog, generally being a fly on the wall in the curling world. Interesting stuff I tell ya!

Again, I was able to take in most of the evening draw. Friends came down from Edmonton so it was super nice to have the company again! Another night in the books!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2012 Scotties Canadian Women's Curling Championship: Day 3

Today was another fun day!

The calm before the storm.

After last night's highway debacle, I wasn't in a big rush to drive out there again, so didn't get to the arena until about 10am. I spent a bit of time preparing some questions to ask volunteers for my daily article, and then spent a bit more time yapping to folks in the basement. Eventually I made it up the stairs to the concourse, and found a friend who had come down from Edmonton for a couple draws. After watching a bit of the morning draw, I finally got down to business!

Vic, Linda and Russ, the afternoon/evening TSN commentators.

Calling the game from their plexiglass booth.

Today's job was interviewing volunteers. First I headed to the volunteer lounge to see who was around. I lucked out and ended up talking to one super friendly lady for most of the hour! I also found out volunteers have access to a massage! Students from a local massage school program are putting in their practicum hours, so I signed up for a massage tomorrow (and probably will sign up again later this week...). Now that's service!

I spent the rest of the morning wandering around the arena, talking to various groups or individual volunteers about their jobs here this week, how they got on the volunteer team, what their favourite part of the week has been etc. It was great fun. This is the number one reason I keep coming back to volunteer - everyone is so friendly! Most of the volunteers I interviewed mentioned this as well. It's a great atmosphere - I love being able to just start a conversation with anyone! Too much fun.

I've learned one thing this week - I need to always carry my camera and notebook with me - does that mean I'm on my way to being a real journalist? What a life.

After I got a lot of material, I headed back to our basement office to write up my article, though spent most of the first part of the lunch break yapping to the CCA folks I've been working with. Eventually, after heading back upstairs for a quick lunch and to watch the afternoon draw's practice, I got down to business and wrote up my article. Midway through the draw I met some of my curling club people and watched a bit in the stands before finishing my latest masterpiece. Take a look:

It really was a fun post to do. I love chatting to people.

I finally left the building for dinner out with the ladies from my curling club. It was nice to see the sun. And breathe some fresh air. And eat some real food. With my article done, that meant I was free for the evening and I watched the evening draw with my friends.

At the Brier they stand around during the 5th end break. At the Scotties they picnic.

I left after the eighth end - you would not believe what a chore it is to get out of the parking lot! Five lanes merge into one exit, whoever designed this parking arrangement was an idiot. It take at least 20 minutes to get out of the lot right after a draw, so going home early will be on my to-do list all week.

So I've been driving back and forth and up and down on the highway for days now, but where do I almost hit a deer? Half a block away from the house where I'm staying in residential Innisfail! Crazy! There were three of them hanging out in peoples front yards in the cul de sac. That's small town life for you!

Monday, February 20, 2012

2012 Scotties Canadian Women's Curling Championship: Day 2

One of the perks of my loosey-goosey job here at the Scotties is that I don't have early morning shifts. Today I got to the arena just after 9:30am.  My biggest priority of the day was to get enough material/quotes to write up my first article for the CCA.

Todays theme: the annual Sandra Schmirler Foundation Telethon.

Sandra Schmirler was an accomplished curler who passed away too soon. As a legacy to her, the foundation fundraises to donate to hospitals to assist the in the care of premature or critcally ill babies.

Yesterday my IT boss introduced me to a woman who would let me hang out in the telethon area, so that's where I headed this morning. They had set up an area with phones, a tv, banner etc on the opposite end to the media bench. I got there just as they were filming a TSN tv spot for the broadcast. Eventually I found the woman I met yesterday, and she introduced me to a woman, who introduced me to a woman and so on. This lasted about an hour.

I chatted to each person briefly, madly scribbling down quotes that I could type up later for my article. I met many of the ladies who head up the foundation, as well as one of Sandra's coaches and her lead, who both still help out every year. I talked to the mayor of Red Deer and the deputy mayor for Red Deer County. I chatted to a couple nurses and some folks who worked for the local hospital foundation board. And I took a bunch of pictures.

I spent the next couple hours writing up my article. Which is proving to be harder than it sounds. I need to work on my interview skills, but I guess it's a learning curve.

I took a break to actually leave the arena to pick up lunch with some of my CCA office roommates. They are a fun bunch of people, and I'm pretty lucky that they're letting me hang out with them. I'm finding this insight into their world incredibly interesting.

After lunch I worked on my article for a bit. You know how it works: you stare at the computer screen hoping magic will just appear as text right in front of your eyes. After that got boring I went to finally watch a bit of the curling.

Except I didn't really watch any curling. After a couple of tweets back and forth, I found @carmenincalgary in the crowd and sat next to her - in the front row!! Normally I prefer to sit up high so I can see all the rock angles, but what the front row lacks in house view, it certainly makes up in up-close-and-personal view!

It's always neat meeting twitter people in real life, and we chatted about the curling events we've seen/volunteered for and about other curling tidbits non-fans wouldn't understand. We chirped curlers' hairstyles. Good times. Alas, my time was short and I had to return to our noisey basement office to finish my article.

Once finished writing it up, my boss (who laughed when I told him I was calling him 'my boss' on my blog) helped me post it to curling.ca and format the pictures etc. After a bit of back and forth with the big Web/IT boss in Ottawa, my article was posted for the whole world to see on the CCA website!!


I think it turned out pretty well in the end, maybe a bit flat but I'm sure my personality will sneak in at some point this week.

The evening was a mix of doing internet stuff, tweeting, and watching curling. I actually went into the stand, put my headphones in, tuned in to the TSN commentary on my FM transmitter, and watched some of the action. It was fun listening to the antics of the crowd, and relaxing to watch the rocks roll down the ice.

Near the end of the draw I started to hear that due to a recent snowfall, highway conditions on the highway I needed to take back 'home' to Innisfail were really, really bad. Something about an accident. Something about the highway being closed. I tried to get the latest info off the internet, and in the end had a decision to make: do I take the baby highway out on the prairies that I've never driven before, or do I chance the main highway. I decided to take the main highway. It was fine going home, a bit slick and slow, but I made it home ok. The highway was closed in the other direction. Big trucks decided to play bumper cars and caused a big detour. I was glad to be home with no extra excitement, but this was a good lesson to learn - highway driving to volunteer for curling events during the winter might not be such a good idea. I wonder how this will play out for the rest of the week?