HIGH RIVER — Breaking up, Randy Ferbey found out with his own team, is hard to do.
Now he’s doing it again with Brad Gushue.
And the grand old man of the game isn’t afraid to wonder if his glorious competitive curling career may have crashed and burned here Wednesday morning.
“I’m done curling with them,” said Ferbey of Gushue’s 2006 Olympic gold medal-winning Newfoundland team.
“I’m done with them as of Oshawa,” he said of the last tour event a week ago.
“For me, I was done with them after Oshawa. For them, if you read between the lines, it was before. They quit on me.”
That was before what happened here Wednesday in the first draw of the Boston Pizza Cup Alberta provincial curling championship — blowing a 3-0 first end lead and losing to the 12th-seeded team in a 12-team tournament.
If Ferbey and long-time last rock thrower Dave Nedohin thought they could hook up as The Over The Hill Gang and ride again to glory here one time, that idea got bucked off on the first go-round.
On a glorious morning with the Rocky Mountains seeming near enough to reach out and touch in a turned-on town with banners draping from street lights, windows painted with curling scenes and a capacity crowd for a morning draw to watch the main men of the Ferbey Four go for glory again, it turned into a sorry story.
The crowd watched the six-time Brier and four time world champion Ferbey lose 8-6 to Graham Powell of Sexsmith, a guy playing with his dad Ken at third.
Sitting on a bench behind the stands when it was over, 52-year-old Ferbey talked about it being over with Gushue effective immediately and maybe over for himself unless he manufactures a miracle after this brutal beginning.
“I certainly didn’t enjoy it as much this year as I used to. I didn’t enjoy anything about it other than when I was on the ice and competing,” he said of curling with Gushue.
“Traveling by myself to each event, not having the kind of camaraderie I was used to enjoying with our old team ...
“It turned out to be an experiment gone very wrong.”
This experiment didn’t look real right either.
“It’s what you put into it that ends up what you get out of it,” he said of the opening-draw disaster for the throw-together team with Blayne Iskiw and David Harper on the front end which qualified out of northerns and was seeded fifth by other skips who ranked him in a range from third to 10th, the wildest Alberta Curling Federation boss Jim Pringle has ever experienced putting this production together.
“We were hoping to do this with smoke and mirrors and a little bit of luck,” said Ferbey of the morning draw on ice everybody had a difficult time dealing with.
“It comes with not playing together. This wasn’t our Ferbey Four team. There wasn’t the chemistry and experience with each other to draw on,” he said.
“The ice was trouble but we didn’t make a lot of shots. Most of what happened to us was of our own doing. We had a stretch of six ends when we didn’t make three shots on any of those ends.”
Ferbey wasn’t the only one to have his applecart upset. Tom Appelman of Edmonton lost 10-3 to 11th- seeded Geoff Walker of Grande Prairie.
Ferbey won’t come out and say he’s done yet.
“It’s getting closer and closer. When I say it I’m going to be retired I’m going to stay retired. So I’m going to be careful not to use the word.
“My wife doesn’t want me to keep going and a lot of days I agree with her. I’m the only 52-year-old out here. But I’ve had offers for next year. I know a lot of what I’m feeling right now has to do with not winning.”
Nedohin, himself a four-time Brier and three-time world champion, has a different perspective.
“I’m looking to do the same thing next year. I enjoyed this winter so much, spending time with my kids, going snowmobiling. I won’t curl much but probably put a team together for playdowns again. I’m still looking forward to the rest of this week.”
Ferbey? Maybe not so much.
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