March 8, 2010
Martin madness sweeping nation
By GEORGE KARRYS, QMI Agency
It's only a four-day job, but it feels like a lifetime.
"I'm not getting much sleep," confirmed Teri Lake, the Halifax curling competitor and 2010 Brier volunteer who is escorting Team Kevin Martin.
The victorious Olympians arrived in Nova Scotia on Thursday for a whirlwind weekend at the Brier, as VIP guests of the Canadian Curling Association and a key attraction to the annual national men's championship.
But boys will be boys.
"It has been fun," Lake said. "It's quite unreal. Spending all this time with them, I kind of feel like I have a little piece of gold myself.
"People get so excited to see them. Tons of people. It has been crazy. The autograph session was, in a word, insane. We could have been there all day."
The lineup snaked around a city block, with an estimated 1,500 people clamouring to meet the team. Security was everywhere. People were screaming, some of them crying.
"It's the demographics," lefty Marc Kennedy told QMI Agency's Terry Jones. "We're used to older fans. But these are young kids and teenagers. It's a whole new group of fans. Nobody could prepare us for this, not even Kevin."
The spectacle that was the 2010 Olympic curling competition also brought a curious visitor to the Brier media bench.
D'Arcy Maine is a New York-based managing editor and columnist for ESPN Mobile, which delivers sports content directly to a user's mobile phone. She is in Halifax for a few days of Brier action for her column, The Maine Event.
"I've been to some big events, like the AFC playoffs, New Orleans during the Super Bowl, NBA, but I like to do that fish out of water thing," Maine explained. "I'll write about the food, the fans, behind-the-scenes stuff.
"Curling tends to be laughed at in the States, but it's so fascinating to me. I've always felt that way watching it; every four (Olympic) years I'm riveted.
"I want to take it all in."
Maine also checked out The Patch, the legendary curling party hall adjacent to the playing surface, where fans and competitors -- but mostly fans -- get another kind of game on.
"Definitely unlike anything I've seen before," Maine said. "These fans are certainly one of a kind. I'm particularly enjoying the Northern Ontario fans and their moose gear and, um, interesting noises (moose calls)."
Meanwhile, Lake is trying to grab Martin third John Morris for yet another media interview.
"Yeah, I now have a Twitter account, I am tweeting or whatever it is," Morris said.
"I have a public relations agent now, and she has got me tweeting and she's helping me figure it out. It's kind of odd for me because when I'm not curling or training or working I'm usually outdoors, doing active things. This is kind of new."
Monday, the squad returns home to Alberta and for Morris, it's not a moment too soon.
"We've been gone over a month, I think I've slept once in my own bed," Morris said.
"It has been a wild ride. That Olympics is a pretty good bonspiel."
GEORGE KARRYS, AN OLYMPIAN, IS AT CURLINGURU.COM