No average hack

ANGELA MACISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:11 AM ET

Curlers are a different lot from most athletes, Guy Scholz has learned.

In interviewing more than 100 curlers from nine Canadian provinces and eight countries, Scholz has decided athletes from the Roaring Game are a clear-thinking, mature lot.

"To sit down with a guy like Randy Ferbey or Kevin Martin -- Sherry Middaugh was amazing with her insight -- I don't think you'd get these same answers from your average NHL player," said Scholz.

The Chinook Chapel pastor, who wrote Gold On Ice: The Story of the Sandra Schmirler Curling Team, has co-authored a book with Calgary curler Cheryl Bernard.

Due for release at the Tim Hortons Canadian Olympic trials in Halifax, Dec. 3-11, Between the Sheets: Creating Curling Champions is almost a step-by-step guide on handling the mental aspect of the game.

Scholz, who also pens columns for Sweep! Magazine and the Southern Alberta Curling Association's newsletter, In the Rings, used Bernard as a story subject a few years ago.

"We clicked and started talking about what curling books needed to be done, plus we share a fascination with the mental game of curling," Scholz said. "A lot of my articles are along the motivational lines."

Between the Sheets, which even features a chapter on conditioning and nutrition, could be pivotal in garnering respect for the sport. Case in point: The chapters on disappointment, fear and pressure -- proving curlers face the same mental anguish as any other athlete.

"There are a lot of similarities and I use analogies from other sports throughout the book,"said Scholz, who peppers the pages with quotes from legends such as NFL broadcaster John Madden.

"I was surprised to learn a lot of curlers were former baseball and softball pitchers."

The pressure in the hack, he acknowledged, would be similar to standing on the mound.

"And curlers tend to be a little older when they're successful, almost like a baseball pitcher," said Scholz. "I think that's why they're a little more honest about their fears, their insecurities and the nervousness. And they're more open to talk about failure."

ON THE ROCKS: Cheryl Bernard and Renelle Bryden were the last Calgary skips out of the Community Savings Classic in Red Deer. Bryden lost 6-4 to Heather Strong of St. John's, N.L., in the championship quarter-finals, while Bernard was beat 6-5 by Team Japan. Bernard and Bryden each earned $2,250. In the all-Edmonton final, Cathy King beat Lawnie MacDonald 11-2 to win $8,000.


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