02 February 2011

2011 BDO Canadian Open! Part II

We woke up the next morning, road-weary.  We were not staying at the same hotel as the curlers - I really wish I could have afforded to stay there, because apparently Team McEwen was a great taxi service - but no matter. We stayed in nearby Bowmansville, right across the street from my favorite store, Tractor Supply Company.  After breakfast, we got ourselves stretched and cleaned up, had an early lunch, and headed BACK to the GM Centre.

We missed the first draw of the day - it wasn't intentional that we did that, but it kind of happened that way - but made sure we were early for the 2nd.  It was at this time that we took a walk around the concourse.  There, we found the Saybon candy booth.  Now, these guys were giving away free candy to everyone - and it was pretty good candy!- but they were doing it while wearing Loudmouth Golf pants.  I had to get a picture with these guys, and they were happy to do it.  The brooms and the hats were all them, by the way, but they work exceptionally well. 

Back upstairs we went for the matches.  I was quite happy with my seats - I could easily see all five sheets of play - but did want some closer shots.  I knew that other friends (from Twitter) were sitting in the stands, and one in particular, Erin McLaughlin (@ErinMclaug on Twitter, and you should be following her) had been sitting in section 101.  I had resolved to go down and say hello, and maybe watch from down there for awhile, halfway through the match.

I never got the chance.  More on that in a moment.

I sat directly behind Sheet E, where Team Ulsrud was about to start.  Well, as I sat down, Thomas Ulsrud looked up, tapped all three of his teammates on the shoulders and pointed me out.  They all waved warmly.  I thought that was really really cool.  And I, of course, immediately gushed!  

Let the match begin! It was Team Stoughton as the opponent this time.  Sitting where I was, I could see all sorts of little things that most people wouldn't.  Ladies: Thomas Ulsrud does a butt shake before several deliveries.  Significant enough for me to see 40 feet away.

I had some issues with my Verizon Wireless phone service in Canada - it turns out I had data roaming turned off, but I didn't discover that until later - but I wasn't checking my phone as a result.  So when I looked down to see George Karrys walking around with a young woman in the crowd, I thought nothing of it.... until he looked up very quickly.  And then went OUT ON THE ICE and interrupted Thomas Ulsrud.  Presumably, his question to the skip was, "Where's D'Orazio?!"  That's right.  I caused a game interruption.  And then George looked up, gestured toward me.... and that's when I checked my phone.  He had been texting me, seeking me out, and Erin has been looking for me on Twitter - I was posting via WiFi from another device and didn't see her tweet.

George and Erin came up, got us, and directed us to a seat near the ice.  And when I say near the ice, I mean right next to the ice.  Think hockey player's bench-close.  And right next to sheet E.  You know, where Team Ulsrud is playing... Incidentally, George also scolded me (jokingly) for hiding when I have an All Freaking Access pass.  I underestimated what that meant.  Now I knew.  As we are walking down, he also suggests I have a Caeser with him  Apparently, a Caesar is a Bloody Mary made with Clammato instead of tomato juice.  Er, sounds delicious?

We all sit on the bench next to the ice - Lisa, George, Erin and I.  And the camera guy.  And the 3 or 4 people already there courtesy of the Capital One Million Dollar Button competition (more on that a bit later).  Turns out, George wanted to shoot a little video piece about my little Facebook page.  What fun!  

For those of you who have never been interviewed by George Karrys before, let me tell you that it is an experience.  He is a natural light-hearted interviewer, quick with the questions and the facts.  And he knows curling - not just Canadian curling, but curling everywhere.  He's probably the #2 fan of The Pants - let's be honest, I'm #1 - and he really wants some.  Anyone out there reading this want to send him some pants?  And, he was practically sitting in my lap, a fact that had Erin and Lisa giggling behind me.   

The interview itself was brief - just a couple of minutes - and should be posted in the near future at http://www.grandslamofcurling.com.  After the interview, George shot a bit more footage of us watching Team Ulsrud in their match.  One scene we shot was of George.... grabbing Torger Nergård and BEGGING him for pants.  Torger told George to ask me.... and then politely introduced himself.   Such a nice guy.

After all that, George, Erin, and the videographer took their leave of us, but insisted we stay on the bench to watch the rest of the match.  And it was a great match!   Once again, came down to Thomas having to make a double takeout.... only one stone went, and so Team Ulsrud loses a really close match.  

The bigger story.... one by one, each of the guys DURING THE MATCH slid over to me, chatted me up, and made sure I was going to be around for "some beers later".   Incidentally, Christoffer Svae told me I had to contact Arnold Asham if I wanted one of their cool argyle brooms, because "he had made an extra one."  So, Mr. Asham, you'll be getting a call from me! 

Oh, and if you hold onto the boards, you can feel the roar of the rocks.  It's amazing.

Ever so slightly disappointed, I knew that my new friends from Norway would pull it out in the evening session.  I took this opportunity to go for a little tour of Oshawa.  Aside: I am a bit of a grocery store junkie.  Every time I'm in a new city, I will go to a couple of grocery stores, pick up some reusable bags - I have quite a collection - and probably buy a few thing I cannot get at home.  In this case, those things involved a lot of dill potato chip-type things and strange candies.  It WOULD have involved the cookies we in this country know as Caramel De-Lites, sold under the No Name brand in Canada, but the Real Canadian Superstore wasn't quite super enough to have any left in stock.  
Back at the arena a bit early, we took a tour of the Oshawa Sports Hall of Fame.  Bobby Orr, who happens to be one of my favorite hockey players of all time - someday, I'll do a post on all the historical players I think are better than Wayne Gretzky - played for the Oshawa Generals.I had not known that.

I also found a lot of curling relics in the Hall.  The naughty-looking relic in this picture is but one example. It is a wooden curling stone.  It appears to sit on a ball-bearinged base, but I could not be sure.  I can be sure it doesn't weigh as much as the stones we have at my home club - the Rochester Curling Club, in Rochester, NY - because I of course broke the rules and hefted it for weight.

I decided that, for this draw, I was going to sit down in the stands, like anyone else, for as long as I could.  I was also resolved to stay out of their way - not get in their face and tell them where I was. I sat in the corner of the arena, close to sheet B, where Team Ulsrud was going to be playing.  With a 2-2 record, this was a must-win match for them.  Win, and they would qualify for the quarterfinal round.  Lose, and they were probably out of the running.  They were up against the 1-3 Peter Corner rink, so I liked their odds

While I was waiting for the match to start, I was spotted!  This fine curling event was graced with not one, but TWO mascot curling stones.  This one was far more in-your-face, and he was kind enough to take a photo with me.  Noteworthy is the fact that he is wearing Loudmouth Golf pants.  A look back at earlier photos from the event show that he was in black on the first day. 

For those who are interested in such things, he was wearing Danger-A, while I wore Blue and White-A.  Both fantastic patterns, but neither worn by the Norges, who hit the ice in Shagadelic.  

It was an exciting match, that once again came down to a last shot by Ulsrud.  A draw to the button and he's in the playoff.  His rock drifted about 6 inches too far... I'm sorry, I mean 15 cm too far... and gave Team Corner the win.  Needless to say, the team looked dejected.  I might have taken it even harder than they did. Probably not, I suppose, but I was really upset.
After that was done, Lisa and I walked around for awhile.  We took a stroll down to the Silver Bullet - the Canadian Open had their own Brier Patch, complete with Wii Curling.  I need to get me some Wii Curling.  However, not seeing anyone I had met over the week, including my new Norwegian friends, and not really in a happy-go-lucky mood, I left and went back to my hotel.

I was hopeful that the next day would end up being a gooder.  I had no idea what was to come.  I did know that Team Ulsrud would not be curling.  I did not know if they'd be at the arena anyway.  I was determined to be there, and enjoy as much curling as I could.

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