Simmons one crazy chiropractor

Pat Simmons watches a shot during the Brier at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ont., March 9,...

Pat Simmons watches a shot during the Brier at the John Labatt Centre in London, Ont., March 9, 2011. (MORRIS LAMONT/QMI Agency)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:16 PM ET

CAMROSE, ALTA. - He’s chiropractor who should be seeing a psychiatrist.

Pat Simmons, the curling chiropractor out of Moose Jaw, gave up getting to the Brier almost annually out of Saskatchewan to join up as a member of the foreign legion with a team from Alberta.

This alone is evidence of being qualified for a white jacket with wrap-around sleeves and a room with padded walls.

Simmons decided to throw third rocks for the Kevin Koe team which won the Brier and world championship out of the Edmonton Saville Centre two years ago.

Which sounds good.

Except Kevin Martin was away winning a gold medal for Canada at the Olympics that year. And Martin hasn’t even lost a game at the provincial championships since 2005.

But there’s more.

Simmons gave up a chance to curl for Saskatchewan in the Brier which is being held in Saskatoon this year.

And without him around, a 39-year-old Alberta curler nobody had ever heard of went and won Saskatchewan!

Scott Manners has been curling out of the border town of Lloydminster, where the curling club is located on the Saskatchewan side of the border but is affiliated with the Northern Alberta Curling Association.

He’s been playing with Lloydminster’s Warren Hassall, who is here this year throwing third rocks for Edmonton’s Jamie King, for several years.

“We lost in the Northerns to Randy Ferbey last year after making it to the provincials in Olds, though,” said Hassall of an early exit from that Boston Pizza Cup after several years of failing to get that far in the playdowns.

There was next to no evidence in Saskatchewan that a Scott Manners had existed before he won on the weekend. Researchers could find no previous mentions in the Regina Leader Post and only one previous mention in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.

Manners skipped his team in only one event on the cash spiel circuit this year, losing all three games in Red Deer.

Hassall was making fun of himself on the subject of Manners at the Boston Pizza Cup luncheon here. Asked to introduce the King rink, he did so, leaving himself for last.

“... and I’m Warren Hassall, the third, famous for being cut by Scott Manners this year.”

And smooth move, Mr. Simmons.

“I played against him once or twice somewhere but I can’t remember where or when,” said Simmons. “And I know I haven’t played against the other guys on that team.

“But I’m happy for them. What a great story.”

So far, other than beating Martin and winning the TSN Skins Game, Simmons leaving Saskatchewan to join Koe hasn’t been much of a story at all.

“Other than the TSN Skins Game we’ve had a mediocre season,” said Koe, who picked Simmons up late last year for a spiel in Morris, Man., which he won. When Blake MacDonald decided to retire, Koe gave him a call.

Simmons doesn’t lack for credentials. He made it out of Saskatchewan to the Brier four straight years from 2005 to 2008 and last year threw last rocks for Steven Laycock to sew a fifth purple heart on his jacket. He also made it to the 2009 Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials in Edmonton.

“I thought about it for a week,” said Simmons of Koe’s offer. “I knew dual residence wasn’t going to be easy. But the guys have made it easier than it could have been.”

Simmons took an apartment in Calgary, managed to get in the number of days to satisfy the residency rules and gave up the bone-cracking business in Moose Jaw, at least in terms of the actually cracking of the bones. But he does go back and forth across the border working as a consultant and advisor for clinics in both provinces which might be the beginning of a new career path.

But it doesn’t change the fact Manners is in the Brier and Simmons is probably in tough against Martin here.

“I knew going into the provincials in Saskatchewan that if I played well and the team played well enough, we’d win. In Alberta you can play fabulous, have the best week of your life, and still not win. There are a lot of players in this event who could win a lot of other provinces.

“This isn’t about getting an easy trip to the Brier for me. The reason I’m here is I saw it as a really good opportunity to become a better player and a better teammate.”

And then maybe go back and win Saskatchewan and the Brier someday?

Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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