For 18 Briers now, crowd favourite Jack Cox has made his mad dashes carrying a massive Ontario flag in support of his home province’s curling heroes.
On Sunday, skip Glenn Howard sprinted alongside him — and Cox, who turns 80 this month, missed it.
“I heard about Glenn running with me later on,” said the retired civil engineer from Haliburton, Ont. “I think it’s the first time he’s done that. I didn’t see it because I’m too busy trying not to trip.”
“I think he could take me in the 40 (yard dash),” Howard quipped.
At nearly 80, how does Ontario curling’s flag guy remain so spry? He doesn’t just chug around the aisles once a day. He takes off a couple times each game and runs up arena steps, too.
“I skip every morning,” he said. “I jump rope and count to 500.”
He also curls three times a week at the Haliburton club. He skips on Mondays in the seniors and, Thursdays, he plays lead in the local men’s league.
He doesn’t run, but he cross-country skis and is a member of a bicycle club. That’ll keep the lungs burning.
“I also tend a vegetable garden,” he said.
He plants the seeds of Ontario support wherever he goes. His favourite Brier so far?
“I enjoy all of them,” he said. “But in 1998, I went to Winnipeg and Wayne Middaugh won and I followed him on to worlds in Kamloops. That was memorable.”
He has run for a handful of different skips, but his favourite probably remains Glenn Howard’s brother Russ, a TSN commentator here.
As a golf pro, Russ can appreciate this, too. The massive flag pole Cox uses for his sprints?
“That’s my golf ball retriever,” he said with a grin.
— Ryan Pyette