Scotties reflections

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:20 AM ET

As we ponder whether Canadian champion Jennifer Jones can walk on water when it's not frozen, it is time to reflect on the 2008 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Regina.

So, here are the following highlights and lowlights of the week that just was:

SAD START

The plan was to kick off the week with a celebration of the late Sandra Schmirler winning Canada's first Olympic gold medal in Japan exactly 10 years ago and give some sort of closure to the remaining members of her team. But the day before the event began, Saskatchewan skip Michelle Englot's father, Joe, passed away. She decided to soldier on because her dad would have wanted it that way. And Englot deserved some sort of award for the grittiest performance in the face of such tragedy.

MOST HEARTFELT MOMENT I

Englot collapsed into the arms of her lead, Cindy Simmons, crying uncontrollably when the crowd gave her a standing ovation as she left the ice with everyone knowing she was about to rush off to her dad's funeral on Tuesday night.

MOST HEARTFELT MOMENT II

Shannon England, Schmirler's widower, stood with his arm around both young daughters as they watched a video tribute of Sandra's highlights during the Opening Ceremonies.

MOST QUOTABLE CURLER

Nova Scotia skip Mary-Anne Arsenault sparkled in her first chance in the spotlight with Colleen Jones out of the picture. Then again, she learned from the best Hearts yakker in the history of the game.

"We had moments of brilliance and moments of 'We win the stupid award," she said after being eliminated.

BEST QUOTE I

"It hurts to lose any game, particularly when we had them by the ... uh ... neck."

-- Arsenault after blowing a big lead to lose.

BEST QUOTE II

"We'll just try to figure out and it's all fine. I mean, we're not like men where we may be yelling at each other and then we go have a frickin' beer afterwards. We say what needs to be said and we talk about things."

-- Manitoba second Jill Officer after the team fell to 3-4

CLASSIEST SKIP IN THE FACE OF YET ANOTHER HEARTBREAK

Ontario's devastated Sherry Middaugh faced the media with honesty and integrity after losing her fourth semifinal in as many semifinal games.

CLASSIEST GESTURE

The curlers wearing a crest with a DW and microphone as a tribute to CBC hall-of-fame broadcaster Don Wittman, who succumbed to cancer last month. Wittman was also given the Joan Mead Award for his contributions to curling, posthumously.

SCOTT SURPRISE

No wonder Team Canada's Kelly Scott shrugged off her squad's surprising failure to reach the playoffs. Scott is due to have her first child in July so now she has gotten almost everything she wanted over the past three years -- two Canadian crowns, a world championship and soon, a baby. Life cannot get much better for the transplanted Manitoban.

HELEN KELLER AWARD

Manitoba's Jennifer Jones for bouncing off the ropes to cap off the most miraculous comeback ever recorded in Hearts history with the Canadian championship.

MOST DISAPPOINTING PERFORMANCE (TIE)

P.E.I.'s Suzanne Gaudet and Yukon/NWT's Kerry Galusha, who were both competitive a year ago.

MOST PLEASANT SURPRISE

Quebec's Marie-France Larouche has returned to the form that took her to the 2004 final.

MOST ANNOYING LINE CALLS

Alberta third Amy Nixon, who deserved her nod as first-team all-star, left many observers with their fingers in their ears, especially when yelling at the brushers to sweep even after a rock has stopped.

MOST ANNOYING COMMENT

There are those of us in the media who will scream like Nixon the next time we hear the term, "wrong side of the inch," especially when some shooters were on the wrong side of the foot or the wrong side of the yard. As far as we can tell, it either means the shooters can't hit the broom if they were throwing from the far hogline or the skip simply can't read the ice. Hey, just say so.

BEST BULLET

Both curlers and fans were agog when Nixon threw what Shannon Kleibrink called a "6.9 from hog-to-hog" on a peel shot. What does that mean? It was a bullet? Hey, just say so.

SCOTT'S BEST FRIEND

Our friends are more than fond of Robin Wilson, the classiest and most efficient organizer in this or any other sport.

GREAT SHOW

Although the Regina committee knew it would not come close to threatening its own record attendance of 154,688 in 1998, it did lure 97,617 only two years after hosting the Brier. And that is fourth on the all-time attendance list, moving past Brandon, which had 88,022 in 1993. Just as importantly, the whole show went smoothly. Well done.

FUTURE HEARTS

Jones will be Team Canada at next year's Hearts in Victoria, B.C. with the 2010 women's nationals likely going to Kamloops, B.C., to make up for missing out on the 2009 Canadian Curling Trials. Those are now expected to be awarded to Edmonton.


Videos

Photos