It's one thing to find four top rate curlers from the same location to put together to become a top team. But you also have to find four curlers with four wives who get the gig. It helps if all four curlers married curlers. 'My Wife Understands Me' is Chapter nine in Terry Jones's new hardcover book The Ferbey Four (Dragon Hill, $29.95). The serialization of the book continues throughout the week. The book is available this week at Greenwoods, Audreys, Volume II Books, Hub Cigar, as well as Save-on-Foods St. Albert, Calgary Trail, Kingsway and Mayfield Common and will be available soon at all bookstores and most of the 90 curling clubs around northern Alberta.
FOURTH IN A SERIES OF FIVE
Marcel, Scott and Dave, will you take Randy to be your lawful wedded skip, to love, honour, cherish and obey, to have and to hold, from this day forward, in sickness and in health ...
"All of the wives have always joked that these guys are more like husbands and wives to each other than with us in some ways," says Chantelle Pfeifer.
"I mean it's crazy how well they get along."
It may be the secret to the success of the team which has won four Briers and three world curling championships together.
"I'm not sure we'd have accomplished what we had so far it if it hadn't worked out that way. We certainly couldn't have done what we've done without our wives being as understanding about what's involved with this game," said Chantelle's husband Scott.
Chantelle says all the wives take pride in the roles they will play.
"I think it's helped a ton because we understand the magnitude of how amazing their team really is. When you're a curler yourself, you understand how hard it is to get the right combination to succeed.
"When they're gone for 25 days out of the month curling, it can get a little tense. But we've been there. We can understand."
Wendy Ferbey is willing to take her share of the credit for her husband having won a record six Briers and four world championships, the first two Briers and first world title with Pat Ryan.
"Our kids have grown up expecting their dad to leave in September and get back in time for Christmas," she said of the front end of the season.
She also believes her quitting curling herself helped.
"I had to quit six years ago. When I quit, Randy started winning again. I joke that Randy became successful at this sport when I quit it, but there's a lot of truth in that, too. I know he felt more at ease when I was home with the kids.
"It hasn't been easy. In a lot of ways it's been like being a single parent. Thank goodness for the off-season. By the time the curling season is over, it's time for a marriage counsellor.
"I bet we could get a discount as I know three other marriages that could use it, too."
Heather Nedohin and Raylene Rocque are still elite curlers raising families.
They know about the agony of defeat and thrill of victory on the big stage.
"When it does happen, I learned to live it and breathe it because it doesn't last long. The moment is over so fast," said Heather.
"I always think of that when I watch the boys win. I see them out there and look sideways and see the hacks being taken out and the signs being torn down and everything. It doesn't last long enough. I think all the wives know those things.
"We're all so proud of them. We understand the rush. We understand the bond they have together. We understand how you live for the moment. We live for them and through them."
Marcel Rocque says if he wasn't married to a curler, he'd probably have had to pack it in by now.
"If I had to explain this to a non-curling wife, it would be almost impossible.
"Raylene had to get pregnant around the curling season. We had our two kids around the curling season. "My daughter Gabriella was five on March 9 at the 2005 Edmonton Brier. That was the first year I was home for her birthday since she was born. I'd never been at any of her birthdays. I'd always been at the Brier."
They'd never have met and married each other, any of them, if it weren't for curling.
Chantelle was a schoolgirl at a curling club when Scott met her. He started dating her, ended up on her brother's curling team and won the World Junior Curling Championships with him.
How's that for a love story?
Randy met his wife Wendy at the curling rink.
"The Ottewell," said Randy. "She wouldn't leave me alone."
"Actually, I did ask him out. If I hadn't, nobody else ever would have."
Wendy tells of a big wedding with 450 people, many from the curling world.
"I think I got caught up in the day. When I signed the marriage certificate I forgot to read the fine print: 'Be prepared to spend the rest of your life with a man who will be consumed by the sport of curling.' "
"Our honeymoon was spent at the Morinville Curling Club playing in their summer bonspiel. It wasn't until 17 years later, in 2003, that we really took a honeymoon. For my 40th birthday Randy booked a trip to Las Vegas. That was the first time we took a trip together by ourselves."
Once they took a trip to Ontario to curl together in the Canadian mixed.
"It was the first time Randy and I ever roomed together. And it was the last time we ever roomed together at a curling championships because Randy says we didn't win because we roomed together."
David Nedohin first spotted Heather Godberson winning Canada and the Worlds when he was in Winnipeg.
"I thought, wow, it would be cool to meet her," said Dave.
"The first time we even met each other he was competing at the barefoot nationals in waterskiing when they were held at Shalom Park here," said Heather.
"My best friend, Rona Pasika, was curling with Wendy Ferbey's team and Randy had a summer barbecue. Dave asked Rona to come out and watch him and I went with her. To be honest, the first thing I thought was 'What a stupid sport.' "
For Raylene Rocque it was not love at first sight with either Marcel or curling.
"I basically grew up in a curling rink. Both my parents curled. So I swore I would never curl myself," she says.
"My mom and dad dragged me down, by my ears practically, to join the junior curling league in Spruce Grove. I was 12. They said 'Just try it. If you don't like it, then quit. But just try it.' I tried it and I loved it. I was hooked."
Kinda worked the same way with Marcel.
"The first time I met Marcel was at an Olympic curling camp in 1994. There were definitely no sparks. I actually didn't think highly of him if you want to know the truth.
"The next time I met him was strange. It was almost like instant love for the both of us. I guess timing is the key."
The worst thing about being a curler yourself and married to a curler can be watching him, says Raylene.
"I'm a nervous wreck watching my man curl. And I do end up questioning some of their calls. Then they end up killing the other team with a five-ender. Then I think, well, I guess that's why they're the best team in the damn world."