Beating the boss

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:15 PM ET

HALIFAX -- Beating your boss in a friendly game of golf is not a good idea. Beating him at curling to keep him from going back to the Olympic Winter Games ...

Whoa! Definite no-no.

"I might be getting fired when I get back next week,'' said Marc Kennedy.

His boss is Kevin Martin.

He works for him at 'Kevin's Rocks'n'Racquets' at the Saville Centre.

Like half of the Flames, Kennedy is an Edmontonian playing for a Calgary team - not quite the Jarome Iginla of curling, but the two grew up only a few blocks apart in the bedroom community of St. Albert.

Kennedy, 23, outshot his boss by 14% here yesterday as John Morris's rink won this Battle of Alberta, 'Roar of the Rings' Olympic Trials style, 6-3.

The loss left Martin on life-support in this excruciating event in which Randy Ferbey's four-time Brier champion and three-time world championship rink was formally interned with an 8-1 loss to Mark Dacey.

ONLY EDMONTONIAN?

The win probably put Kennedy in the playoffs and possibly two wins away from being the Edmonton curler going to the 2006 Torino Olympics. Not Ferbey. Not Dave Nedohin. Not Scott Pfeifer. Not Marcel Rocque. Not Martin. Not Don Walchuk. Not Carter Rycroft. Not Don Bartlett.

"The two best teams in the world are in Alberta and intact,'' said Morris. "This couldn't be the be all and the end all. This took us a while. But we've got an Edmonton guy too and I'm proud of my guy. Marc has never played on a big stage like this, but he's playing great.''

Kennedy has the best percentage of anybody throwing second stones in the tournament at 91%. Ferbey's Scott Pfeifer, ranked by most as the world's greatest second, and Martin's Carter Rycroft, Kennedy's old skip from junior, are tied for 8th at 84%.

But it's the standings that matter most.

Morris and Newfoundland's Brad Gushue go into the double draw final day of the round robin with 6-1 records. Red Deer's Pat Ryan, with his old B.C. rink, and Jeff Stoughton of Winnipeg sit at 5-2.

Martin dropped to 4-3.

"Three losses might not be good enough,'' said Martin, the skip who won a silver medal for Canada at the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics and also represented Canada at the Albertville 1992 Olympics when curling was a demonstration sport.

"I could be eating a lot of crow because of this. Ah, I'm going to get a lot of grief for this, regardless. They had a big get-together at the store back in Edmonton,'' he said of friends and families of both watching the game on TSN in the store yesterday.

"Marc has worked for me for three of the last four years. He's a great kid and a real good player who loves curling.''

Kennedy says Martin gave him a job not long after he returned from the Olympics.

"The store was in the Ottewell club then. Surprisingly, it's a demanding job. We do a lot of shipping of curling supplies. He works my ass off.''

Doesn't pay much, either.

CURLING EDUCATION

Kennedy suggests maybe he should be paying Martin for the education he's received.

"We're always talking curling at the shop. Kevin has helped make me a better curler.

"I've asked him a lot about the Olympic experience. The first thing he ever told me was that when you go to the Olympics, you're stepping out of the curling world. That it's so much bigger.''

Kennedy says he thinks he's on a rink having success because they have gone out of their way not to get out-of-sight uptight like so many rinks, including Martin's.

He points out that Morris, a noted karaoke singer, took the team to sing at a CFB base mess hall sessions showing up with a couple of kegs of Keith's from a sponsor.

"I think you play better when you play loose,'' said Morris. "At the last trials, I could see the stress on everybody's face. I told myself if I got back I wouldn't be like that. It's not worth it.''

Kennedy agrees.

"Everybody dreams of the Olympics, but I think Martin and Ferbey put too much pressure on themselves. This is not a game you can play by putting that kind of pressure on yourselves. We didn't come here with expectations. We still don't have expectations. Even if we get to the final, we could lose the final and, guess what? I'd be going back to work on Monday.''

For Kevin Martin.


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