We are into day 3 already of the Under 18 Optimist International Curling Championships. It feels like things are going quickly although we still have three games to get through. The boys are doing amazing and truly I am impressed. The games/scores have been a bit lopsided but we have had moments where things have really come together. Chris made 2 great draws to the button to score a deuce against Manitoba tonight. In that same game we played a textbook first end to get the force and had a steal set up properly (although Manitoba made the bail out shot). This is the same Manitoba boys team that if you check out YouTube you will see the big runback hit for 6 that he made to win Canada Games gold (on TSN). I think this Manitoba team has a real future in curling so look out Mike McEwan; there might be some New Kids on the Block soon enough (once Stoughton, etc retire). Not only are they a good team but they have also taken the NWT team under their wings a bit and it has helped us a lot this week already.
The Sakatchewan girls and BC girls are also impressive. Watching coach Tracy Steifel (who is a good curler in her own right) has been interesting this week also as her approach to her junior girls is very similiar to that of a women's team and I think this team will be transitioning into women's play quickly as well. The BC girls seem like a well oiled machine and have their routines down pat (which of course the OCD part of me loves).
As for our Team NWT boys the positives continue. I don't think there has been a moment that has surprised them or thrown them for a loop yet this week. Everyone thought they would be wide eyed when they got here but I have not seen this at all. I think a lot of this had to do with planning and although I don't want to take all the credit (thank you parents!!!!!) I think my own curling experience has helped us. We have the proper snacks, a great schedule/game plan, and had reviewed all the small things also (pin cards, 10 minute practice, LSD, uniforms, hydration, etc). For any other competivie curlers out there things of coaching; jump in and share this information/knowledge with others. The teams mentioned about have experienced curlers as coaches (BC- Ken Brown) also and I think it makes a difference. I over heard other coaches talking that they do not believe the hype about the EQ heads and the 'new' sweeping research (WHAT?!?!?!?). Sure there will be better and bigger developments along the way but in the past couple years this THE biggest change in curling (get with it!). I know I am not the first curler to try their hand at coaching and so also kudos to others who have already taken this on. Again, take on the challenge all you 'retired' competivie curlers!
And of course, despite all this seriousness there is a lot of fun going on. The Go Karts were a hit as between draws activity today; both for our young boys and the older front runners!!!
And so two more games tomorrow... BC and Alberta. We will keep on trucking along and of course making fans and followers along the way!!!