Winnipeg Chronicles #8: Hyperpyrexia

All Uncovered – The Watchmen

On a Saturday evening, three Asians are in a car headed to the small town of Morris, just a thirty minute drive from Winnipeg. Dan decided to come with us and I’m glad he did, because he drove. It’s well documented that I have a fondness for staring out the window during long trips and the road to Morris provided a seemingly endless view of plains and farmland. Well off of the road, we spot a car ablaze. I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation for that. It takes almost the exact duration of our trip for the sun to set and when we pull onto the dirt parking lot of the stampede grounds it is already dark. Morris is a town lacking, ahem, colour and as we make our way to the table where two old women are selling tickets for the 2nd Annual Dekalb Superspiel we draw quite a few stares. It’s fifteen dollars for a day pass and I gleefully hand over the fee. Grabbing a program, I walk over to the windows to observe the action.


When it comes to sports, basketball will always be my first love. There’s no question about it. Even though soccer was probably the first sport I ever played, I was one of those wimpy kids that was thrown into it by my parents to get me out of the house. I still enjoy playing it, but I rarely watch it. Baseball and American football got picked up somewhere along the way and my fanaticism for both is about equal. Mixed martial arts is my newest athletics related vice and the one of the main reasons I’m out here. That’s a lot of sports for someone to seriously follow and if you told me that I’d never love another sport for the rest of my life, I think I’d be good with what I’ve got.

Little did I know that there was a looming behemoth just over yonder. An ancient thing, burrowed deep in the black, black heart of our nation. A barbaric competition fought with the primordial forces of ice and rock.

I’ve got bad case curling fever, man. Real bad.

It was Derek who did this to me. Sure, there was that time William and I were inexplicably invited to go curling with Winnie and her friends (we torched that motherfucking place on our first go, kid), but even after that I still had no urge to actually watch the sport. Sometime around the Scottie’s Tournament of Hearts (one of, if not the biggest curling championships in Canada) Derek persuaded me into watching a couple of “ends” (check that curling lingo!). He didn’t outright demand that I partake with him, but he was strangely persuasive and before I knew it I was sucked in to the sexy, seductive world of curling.

It helps that female curlers are generally not bad looking. I’d say the ratio of hot:fugly is about equal to women’s tennis and about 100:1 compared to the WNBA. This was a crucial factor in getting me interested as I became infatuated with Prince Edward Island’s Geri-Lynn Ramsay (second from left). *swoon* PEI was challenging last year’s champions (who earned the title “Team Canada” after winning last year’s tournament) who are from, you guessed it, Winnipeg. It turns out that the champs actually practice at a facility about ten minutes away from Derek’s apartment. Even better, one of Derek’s co-workers is actually married to one of Team Canada’s players, Jill Officer. Here she is executing a picture perfect triple peel! I challenge you to find a better triple peel than that. Go ahead, find it. That’s right, you can’t you stupid fuck!

Over the course of three days, Derek and I watched the reigning Team Canada dispatch their inferior foes including a game PEI squad that took them to extra ends. It didn’t matter that we didn’t fully understand all the rules, we were riveted by every sweep of the floor, every curl of the rock, every…every…okay, I clearly don’t know enough to continue this passionate refrain. My apologies.

Then the Winter Olympics came along and sure enough, we watched all the curling we could. Canada, China, Switzerland, Great Britain…it didn’t matter who was playing, we were invested. Along with the rest of the nation, we were swept up (ha!) in the ladies’ silver medal run and we were definitely part of Cheryl Bernard-mania, a woman who Bill Simmons poetically referred to as “the curlgar” and the “milfimpian”. Not his best work.

I doubt that I’ve ever watched more of the Winter Olympics than I did this year and a lot of it had to do with curling. When the games ended, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. Sure, we are still in curling season, but now that the high stakes competitions are out of the way, what’s left for a casual curling fan like myself?


How do you describe that odd, surreal sensation that you get when you see someone up close after having watched them on television? There’s that momentary burst of excitement, then you settle down and you think about how silly the whole thing is. Then you get excited again when you realize that this on-screen character is now only a few feet away from you, albeit on stage or on the other side of a pane of glass. Suffice to say, it was cool to see Team Canada in person, even if it was in a dinky practice centre and not the kind of set up that you see on television.

Derek, Dan and I headed upstairs to meet up with Jill Officer’s husband, Devlin. He reminded me of Brett Favre. Devlin was a great sport and didn’t have any problem explaining the nuances of curling to us, though I did find myself nodding more than once at concepts and stratagems that went completely over my head. He seemed to enjoy my inquisitive nature and I had plenty of harmless, occasionally funny questions to ask. Unfortunately, Team Jones (that’s Jennifer Jones to you, boss) lost on that day and I immediately worried that we’d jinxed them. When Jill came up to say hi to her husband after, she didn’t seem particularly thrilled to meet us even though I told her that her team was responsible for my case of curling fever. I don’t blame her, she had a post-game meeting to go to and the last thing she needed was to have to entertain her husband’s dopey buddies.

It should also be mentioned that we met Jennifer Jones’ parents who were really nice. Team China was also in the house and Mrs. Jones told us that we better root for Team Jones and not those other Asians or something to that effect. Amazingly, it didn’t come off even the slightest bit racist at the time. Only in Manitoba, folks.

Devlin had a spare weekend pass so Derek and I returned the next day. Team Jones was up 3-0 in their match. However, the other team began to make some shots and it looked like their comeback was going to coincide with our arrival. This did not look good for us. Luckily, Jill and the gang took care of business and she seemed much rosier when she saw us again. She joked that she would have known we were a jinx if they lost and she saw us up here again. I told her that if it looked like they were going to lose, we would have left a long time ago. Everybody laughed and I can safely say that I’m in Jill Officer’s good graces now. I’ve been validated by a professional athlete, another thing I can cross off of my bucket list!

I would be remiss to leave out the other reason we came back for seconds: Girls who watch curling are hot! What? When did this happen? These are the kinds of groupies that curling cats roll with? Come on! Derek and I immediately made plans to form a Team Peru and come back here in a year or two. I know we’re not that good, but we thought we might go to Lima and find some guy who’s, like, a brilliant lawn bowler, but you know, not good enough to make the national lawn bowling team. Then we’d show him curling, which he’d be a natural at (naturally) and our team would be almost complete. We’d have to find a coach (preferably one with a cool limp, maybe with a broom for a leg) and then a fourth member (preferably a black guy or a woman pretending to be a man) and then we’d be set. I proposed that we go shirtless and put our endorsements on temporary tattoos. Derek said we could be the bad boys of curling. Look out Geri-Lynn, here I come!


On the drive back, we saw a pillar of black smoke in the distance. Sure enough, we eventually passed by and saw that there was some kind of storage facility ablaze. I want to tell you there’s some deeper meaning to that image, but it was just an incredible sight to me. I will never forget going to Morris to watch curling.


The Winnipeg Transit system has treated me well and I thought I’d share their delightfully quaint Busology program with you. Why doesn’t Toronto have something like this? Oh right, people from Toronto don’t give a shit. I notice these all the time because I always seem to be violating these simple rules. I know I’m not the only one who goes out the front door all the time. I hate being that guy who has to call to the front of the bus for help because he can’t figure out how to get the rear doors to open. The one that makes me most self-conscious is Loudus Obnoxious. That’s me to a tee, right down to the pedophile coat.

Get outta here, Dewey! You don’t want no part of this shit.
What y’all doin’ in here?
We doin’ pills. Uppers and downers. They’re the logical next step for you!
I want some of that shit!

One Comment

  1. Devlin Hinchey says:

    Nice read! Was great to meet you despite you bringing Derek along! lol



Destined to fight the world's evil, The WAMBAG endures massive battles involving impossible stunts, races on horse-pulled carriages, and the desecration of enchanting medieval castles (all done with dizzying computer graphics). Not only does the eye candy keep on coming, the tongue-in-cheek writing and deep Transylvanian accents perfect the film with a dose of dark humor.



Atom, RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0 - no idea what the difference is.

Tagboard (!?!)

Apparently PHP7 doesn't support the same function calls I wrote in 2008? I should fix this at some point.

Recent Posts