Russ Howard's divided loyalties

PATRICK MALONEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:31 PM ET

LONDON, Ont. -- Imagine sitting in the stands, trying to be objective -- even critical -- while your son plays in front of you.

Better yet, throw a nephew and your younger brother out there, too.

And add upwards of one million people, hanging on your every word.

That might give some inkling of what curling legend Russ Howard has been feeling -- rather, doing his best not to feel -- during this week's 2011 Brier.

A two-time Brier and world champ, Howard has spent the past decade calling games for broadcaster TSN -- a job that's been particularly tough this week with brother Glenn, son Steven and nephew Scott all competing at London's John Labatt Centre.

"In one aspect it's very tough, in another it's quite easy," Russ said Sunday. "I know their tendencies. I can probably tell you what Glenn's going to call before his team does.

"But it can be really tough to be unbiased, which is my job."

Unfortunately for Russ, the stress of divided loyalties would continue until the Brier's final draw.

His brother is leading Ontario into Sunday night's gold-medal game against Manitoba, and Russ, in between autograph requests, was buzzing standing rinkside hours earlier.

"I get little butterflies for the team and for the game," he said. "It's three hours of live TV, a couple of million people watching and you want to do a good job."

As for his brother's involvement, Russ Howard keeps it simple.

"He does what he does on the ice, I do what I do in the booth," he said.

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