Sunday, November 17, 2013


About to head out to meet the band and rehearse what I'll be singing next Sunday. Will talk more when I get back.

In the meantime, here is some curling goodness. Niklas Edin is the current world champion from Sweden who I saw curl back in the spring. He is very fond of talking about being "fit". This interview is a lot of fun. And if you're wondering what to get me for Christmas, there is the Men of Curling Calendar.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

General Fabulousness

So it's time to get back to blogging!

This month is all about deep practice, something I've been reading up on to prepare for my performance at the Rivoli next weekend. (Who wants to come? Hit me up for deets.)

I'm curious. Who knows about what deep practice is? And if you do, what do you use it for?

Friday, April 26, 2013

4 Things I learned from Thomas Ulsrud

Shortly before the last Winter Games, I became fascinated by a curler from Norway named Thomas Ulsrud. Now, the man is very attractive but I know many, many attractive men. There was just something in his eyes when the camera would pan in for a close up that would draw me in.

Now having been a major fan of his team for a while (and taking a lot of grief for rooting against Canadian teams in the process), I finally got to see him in person last week during the Players Championship at the former Maple Leaf Gardens. I also got to meet the team following their first match and I'm now kicking myself for not getting a photo with them. 

I spent the week contemplating what lessons Thomas had for me (since whenever I'm pulled to someone like this they have something to teach me) and this is what I've come up with:

Lesson 1: Be completely focused in the moment, then let the moment go.

There's no mistaking his focus when he's taking his shots - watch his close ups on tv to see this. There was a memorable moment during the playoffs where he missed a shot and yelled "fuck" - which the whole rink heard because for one odd moment the rink had gone completely silent. (With 4 games going on at a time this never happens!) Everyone laughed - including him. He doesn't dwell on missed shots. He reacts in the moment and moves on - unlike some other curlers I saw this week. (Johnny Mo - I'm looking at you!)

Lesson 2: Enjoy what you do. Don't take yourself seriously. It's just a game.

Best example of this was right after he had missed two shots in a row, giving up a double in the process to the opposition. As soon as the next end started, he was laughing with opposing skip Niklas Edin about how badly those shots had gone (at least that looked like what they were talking about, based on body language). He smiles a lot. And anyone who can wear those pants can't be too caught up in self-importance.

Lesson 3: Don't play safe. Be a gambler. Go for the big play. 

This is his blessing and his curse as a curler. There were a lot of times I wondered why he would call a certain shot, a shot that would be high-risk/high-reward. Then someone during the playoffs called him a gambler and it all made sense to me. He doesn't play safe. He doesn't even play to his own strengths if by going outside his comfort zone he has a chance for a bigger impact. This may be why they didn't get farther in the tournament - but it's also probably why they got as far as they did.

Calling a shot

Lesson 4: When a teammate suggests something outrageous, give it a try. You'll never know where it will lead you.

For the Olympics the team's second, Christoffer Svae, suggested they wear a pair of pants from Loudmouth Golf that matched the country's colours. The pants are, to be polite, ugly as hell. But Ulsrud agreed they should wear them and the outrageous pants became one of the most talked about things during the games. It also brought them a silver medal. Since then, loud pants have become their trademark and have brought them recognition far beyond the game. They may be the most famous curlers in history, the only curlers many people know. Kudos to the team for going with such an insane idea. I don't know if I'd have the guts to do it.

The playoff pants

During the week, I got totally hooked on watching curling. It was nice to not be filtered by camera angles and talked at by commentators who are complete Canadian homers. I've become a fan of some of the other teams as well (Team Edin, Team Sigfridsson, Team Muirhead) so I may just have to travel to an event next year. Who knows when they'll be in Toronto next - it had been 20 years since a major event had been here.

And I'm thinking of taking up the sport myself. Should be interesting! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Betrayal of Baseball

Yesterday, Lyle Overbay gave an interview where he talked about how Canadian fans still haven't forgiven baseball for the 1994 strike. Judging from some of the comments on the on the Toronto Star article about the article, he was right.

I know what he said was true because I was one of those fans for a decade.

As the clock ticked down towards the World Series, I was hoping that some kind of settlement would be reached. The Series hadn't been cancelled since the Second World War. Surely they would make that happen. But they didn't. And I felt betrayed. I was angry. The owners and the players cared more about money than they did about the fans. We didn't matter. And that killed my love of the game. When they came back, I didn't want to be a part of it.

What changed for me was being dragged out to a game by my brother in 2003. I didn't want to go but my brother used going for the sake of my nephew as leverage. And when I got there, I found I couldn't cheer for the team I had loved for 17 years, the team that grew up with me. I felt so removed. Until I realized in the 6th inning that the Jays pitcher hadn't given up a hit. Then I payed more attention.

That pitcher, of course, is Roy Halladay. And I will be forever grateful for him for being the first step of my return to baseball. And I got to tell him that when I met him a few years ago.

But I wasn't back yet. It took being in Australia the following year, staying with Sydney Swans fans. They taught me the game they loved and in return I found myself talking about baseball. And even getting homesick for it. When I found myself watching an Arizona Diamondback game on ESPN international at midnight, a team that hadn't even existed when I left baseball, a National League team, I realized that love was stirring inside me once again.

Of course now I spend way too many hours of the day reading baseball blogs and watch games following along on twitter. I sometimes worry that the game takes up too much of my time. But I do love it with a passion and I'm glad I found my way back.

But a lot of Jays fans didn't. I won't even get into how the strike destroyed the Expos. My father today stated that those who don't want to come back weren't real fans, that using the strike as a reason was "bullshit" and "a cop out". Obviously, I don't agree. He thinks those fans will come back when the Jays start winning. I doubt it. It's hard to come back from betrayal, especially when that feeling comes from a sense that your desires don't matter. I don't know how that can be fixed but the Jays addressing those feelings would be a good start. An apology might go a long way.