Quit moaning and just buy a ticket

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:10 PM ET

Didn't take long to get a reaction to Thursday's column about this year's Brier being worth about $220,000 to the winning team. Gary ("I'd rather you didn't use my name'') buzzed the office. He wondered out loud why the players were getting all that money and volunteers had to shell out $75 for the privilege of providing free labour.

"For some people, $75 is a lot of money,'' said Gary. "If you want a parking pass, that'll cost you another 50 bucks. They did make provisions for volunteers. You can ride the LRT for free if you show them your badge.''

Gary says he has a couple of buddies who are looking to volunteer for the March 5-13 event. "They were told the volunteer quota of 1,200 had already been filled,'' he said.

Who better than to field the question to than Darwin Daviduk, the Don of Edmonton's curling mafia?

GIFT OF THE GAB

Not for nothing did they give the guy - whose ideas over the years earned him the nickname Daffy Duck - a job as Brier 2005 vice-president of marketing and public relations.

With his well-developed gift of the gab, Daviduk stopped just short of saying the only free ride volunteers will be getting is ... well, on the LRT.

The crafty Daviduk smelled a rat right away, pointing out the $50 parking pass is for fans who have already bought event passes.

"There's always a price to be a volunteer,'' said Daviduk. "Just about every major event that comes to this city charges volunteers something. The LPGA event here 10 years ago ... 75 bucks and that's just to walk around the golf course.You get far more than that from the Brier.''

And, he pointed out, the value of a volunteer package is about $190.

"At the end of the day, it costs out at $190 minus $75,'' said Daviduk, who points out all the volunteer has to do is give up 30 hours of his time over the length of the event.

"That does not include the fact they get access to the arena. Sure, the seats are on the third level, but they can watch the curling for zero cents.''

Now, Daviduk is really getting warmed up on his rant. As Gary pointed out, there's a waiting list.

Daviduk counters by saying that proves there are enough community-minded people in Edmonton willing to pay the price.

PEOPLE GRUMBLE

"If you think it's a bad deal, then don't do it,'' said Daviduk. "About 98-99% of the volunteers have no problem with it. It's the 2% that grumble. We have a waiting list with people who would replace them - who aren't complaining.''

Edmonton's 1999 Brier charged volunteers $50 and even Daviduk admits there's a limit on what you can ask volunteers to pay.

"If it's not cost-reasonable - if you charge 200 bucks - you won't get a lot of people to volunteer,'' said Daviduk.

What it all comes down to, said Daviduk, is accountability and responsibility.

"Look what happens in grocery stores over two bits,'' said Daviduk. "All the carts are put back in a neat line and out of the way. If you go to a place where the carts are free, they're all over the lot and you can't find a parking spot.''

Get the idea that Daviduk has little use and even less time for freeloaders? Wanna see the Brier? Quit whinin' and buy tickets instead. Gary did.


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