World Men's Curling Event Summary

I just finished volunteering for the World Men's Curling Championship, and what a wild ride it was!

How did this come about? Last spring I saw the announcement that my hometown was getting the event, and then sure enough, a couple days later I'd agreed to be the Director of Ceremonies! Unlike last time I was a Director for the 2013 Brier, this one involved way more meetings, way more work, and way more stress, but also way more fun!

For the six months or so prior to the event, we had monthly meetings with my Director Team that also included Banquets and Patch Game Day. Besides all the Ceremonies (and the dreaded MC scripting) work, I had to sort out and schedule a small crew of 20 volunteers, although in the end it turned out to be a lot more volunteers from all different areas!

The big show kicked of with an Opening Ceremonies and Banquet rehearsal, aka chaos. I have to say, I was ready to quit at that point. i even had an offer of a ride to Mexico. But the very next day, I worked with someone from Curling Canada and sorted everything all out. From there on in, it was (mostly) smooth sailing!

My newest best friends: Edmonton & District Pipe Band - a super friendly group and a delight to work with!

Here are some random thoughts from the week:

- Last time I was a Director, I worked a bit with the local host committee/manager, but this time I was right in the thick of things. I'm also used to working for Curling Canada, so at this event it was really interesting watching and being a part of the dynamic between the local crew, the Curling Canada crew, and the World Curling Federation crew. It was also interesting to be in the middle of working with TSN and WCTV. That's many, many cooks, in one very, very small kitchen. I think I learned a lot about event management and TV production anyway!

My office. Ref room in the Visitor's Dressing Room.

- Because I've worked so many curling events (this was my 12th Curling Canada event), I know or at least recognize a lot of people, both Curling Canada, TSN, and local volunteers from both curling and other event work. So the beginning of the week turned out to be so great for running into people and catching up! Hugs all around! I think it made my job a bit easier because I was a known entity.

- As usual, the volunteers were fantastic! My crew was great, and totally pitched in with all the work. I could tell they were really having fun too, which made me happy. They made new friends, and it was really neat to see them interact with one another. I also made new volunteer friends, and ran into a lot of old volunteer friends too! There a certain dance you do, when you run into someone you know from volunteering: first you say an enthusiastic hi, then you look at their name badge, then you have a conversation where you go through the list of events you've volunteered for until you figure out where you'd met the person before! There certainly is a local volunteer circuit.

Team Canada - and at the end of the week Team World!

- And being a part of the local volunteer circuit, plus having the honour of being the Director of the best job ever, turned out to be very handy! My team of volunteers were the ones to walk out the country flags/signs leading out the teams before every draw - and this is quite a coveted position! So I really had no trouble finding spares or pulling people in to help when I needed. All I had to do was walk around the concourse, and eventually would run into a random volunteer I knew, and would then recruit them for a ceremonies job. They would bring a friend, or if I was really stuck I would pull in the security volunteer working backstage (and then they would bring suggest a friend...). It went off like a dream: everyone wanted to work for me! It was nice to be popular for once!

Skip Shot

- I'm not sure how I'd ever work one of these events and not work backstage, as I've been back of house since 2011! It's extra exciting and extra stressful back there, but I love being where the action is at and I love seeing those hidden parts of events and buildings. I'm not even sure I could be a regular volunteer anymore! This was a particularly stressful event, especially early on before we got into the routine, and I did have a lot of duties randomly thrown my way. But even though I was super stressed, I still secretly love this stuff!!

Getting ready backstage.

- On the first day, the manager of the merchandise store tried to sell me his business. I think he was mostly kidding but still. On the second day, one of the big media reporters told me I should go into sport/event management and offered to be a reference for me. And of course, since I'm not overly happy with my real life job right now, this really got me thinking. Volunteering has certainly helped me gain skills I can't get in my real life job: technology skills, TV production skills, but also human resources, management, and even leadership skills. The whole week I was questioning my real life job future and wondering where I could fit into all of this. It's just really interesting to see that maybe in ten years I might be doing something completely different with my life and maybe my time working these events and gaining those skills and experiences will come into play.

Tour of the WCT Production Truck.

- Even though at the beginning I said I would never do this again, let's be honest, that's just a big ol' lie! By the third day I was offering to work a local event next year, and mid week I had given away my email address for someone who runs a sports club in town to keep me in mind if they ever need anything. It's like a drug - so addicting! I'm a volunteer for life that's for sure.

- On the fourth day we had something extra special! A couple women I know had organized a gofundme campaign to bring Mexico's biggest curling fan to Edmonton to watch the event. I offered to have her hold a sign. On Tuesday she came down and walked out Team Canada! She said the experience was just "awesome"! She was such a delight to work with, and had fun all week. I ended up hooking up one of the media reporters with an interview with her, and even watched a bit of a game with them. Lovely lady, great story, and I'm happy she had a good time.

- On the fifth day, I met Sean Whyte from the Edmonton Eskimos football team and he let me hold his Grey Cup ring! I've worked backstage enough to have seen/met a lot of curlers, but it's still super cool to be in the midst of these rock stars. We had special guests this week, past winners, walk out to be honoured before we walked out our teams, so that was an extra bit of rock star fun.

Me, Sean Whyte, and a super heavy fancy ring!

- Additional duties as required: oh man did I do it all this week! I sorted out flags and signs and team orders and teams. I wrote, then rewrote scripts for the MC, and worked closely with him all week. I sorted out the morning student MCs. I made script deliveries to the DJ and Production guys, learning a bit about them and the job they do. I found a lost microphone. I hung out with the Junior Stars (my Junior Star volunteers were seriously the bestest! They did such a great job and I'm glad they agreed to take on that role!). I ended up being on a first name basis with the TSN floor manager, and worked with the WCTV production folks as well. I wore a headset and talked out walk out orders. I feel like I did it all this week!
Good morning!

- At one point, one of my volunteers said to me "Thank you - that meant more to me than you'll ever know." That, that is why I do this. I've received more thank yous, more complements and more kindness this week than a whole year in my real life. The atmosphere was friendly and kind, and we were all working toward the same goal. It was inspiring and kept me going. And even though it's little things, I was making a different in the grand scheme of the world, to some people anyway. And that's what I'll remember, and that's what I'll take away, and that's what I'll chase again and again.

Last game. Don't they just look great out there?!

- So what's next? My videography days are done, and Edmonton probably wont get an event for awhile (they're predicting 2020/22 and in a different arrangement for event management) so my director days are done for awhile at least. In fact, Edmonton doesn't have any major sporting events coming up. Will next season be the first season since 2009 that I don't volunteer for Curling Canada? Maybe. My new plan is to take the curling officials course in the fall, and pimp myself out to the local Alberta officials crew as a timer. There are four non-televised Curling Canada national events an hour from where I live next March, so I suspect I'll find a way to get on that team. And after that, I hope to ride out the curling officials wave, and who knows, maybe in twenty years I'll be the head umpire!

It's hard to believe what we've been working towards for so long is over. I have some lovely memories to take forward, and am already looking forward to be involved on the volunteer circuit again. I guess in a way, the experience meant more to me than all involved ever knew. And for that I'm thankful, and inspired!