As 2015 came to a close, all of us are inundated with "Top 10" and "Best of" lists. Who was the #1 touring artist? What was the #1 movie? Who was the most talked about celebrity? Which team was the most talked about? And so on....and so on....and so on....
Now that the countdown list has died off a bit....I thought why not add one more to your reading pleasure? No, no you don't need to thank me. Just knowing how much you enjoy reading this blog post is thanks enough.
Ok, let's be serious. This list is actually being done for some selfish reasons as well. While I am unsure any of you really care what my top blog posts were of the year, I actually have genuine interest in knowing. To be clear, this is not necessarily the top posts according to me but rather the posts that garnished the most site visits and clicks. These are the blog posts you...my faithful readers...seemed to enjoy the most or read the most or shared the most. And I cannot be more humbled and thank you all enough for it.
Without further adieu, here are the Top 15 #TwineTime blog posts of 2015:
15) #BetweenTheSheets: Curlers Turn Up in ToonTown (Sept. 24) - A preview of two of the biggest and star-studded events on tour: Point Optical Curling Classic in Saskatoon, SK and the Stockholm Ladies Cup in Stockholm, Sweden. This is also when we start seeing current #PowerRankings leaders Team Gushue and Team Homan begin cementing their place on top of the mountain.
14) #BetweenTheSheets: Canada Cup of Curling Preview (Dec. 3) - Grand Prairie was home to the Canada Cup this season and the top teams were feeling the pressure. The winner would grab an automatic spot in the Roar of the Rings Olympic trials in Ottawa....a huge advantage this early in the Olympic cycle. How would my predictions stalk up over the final results? Also discussed is a summary of the recently concluded European Curling Championships where Sweden (Nik Edin) pulled the repeat and Russia (Anna Sidorova) made her way back to the top of the podium.
13) #BetweenTheSheets: A Paradise Hangover?! (Sept. 16) - Celebrating the success of the inaugural #TourChallenge event, welcoming winners Kevin Koe and Silvana Tirinzoni into the #PowerRankings discussion and the first mention of the #MortalKombat season-long saga known as the #TwineTime vs. #NerdCurl challenge!
12) #BetweenTheSheets With Matthew Blandford (Dec. 23) - This was an interview planned almost a year ago. I first met Matt at the 2014 Boston Pizza Cup in Lacombe, AB. You know when you first meet someone and can right away tell what a good person they are from a quick conversation? That was my first impression of Matt. I have been very fortunate (and thankful) to have Matt support this blog basically from its inception. Finally having the opportunity to sit down and talk curling (and on his new role of fatherhood) was something I had been looking forward to for months.
T10) #BetweenTheSheets: Teams Looking for Paradise at Opening Grand Slam (Sept. 9) - The opening grand slam event of the season. A new event on tour. The first event towards the change in the grand slam of curling schedule. This was a huge event! The first time we saw a Tier I and Tier II competition being played simultaneously with the Tier II teams playing for a spot in the next grand slam. Plus, Paradise, NL provided a stunning backdrop for all the drama.
T10) Rocks Will Reign Down in Blaine (Dec. 31) - Ok so technically this article was posted at the end of 2014 but it was previewing the big US Open of Curling event, which took place in January 2015. Besides, it's my blog and my countdown so my rules! This was also the first #TwineTime blog post to exceed the 300 mark. Again, this may seem like a minor thing to many of you but to me, especially at that time, this was a huge milestone and achievement.
9) #BetweenTheSheets: The Masters Has Arrived (Oct. 29) - The Masters grand slam was the topic of discussion, as well as Steve Laycock and Kelsey Rocque moving up the rankings and predictions for the massive 32-team OVC Junior SuperSpiel in Ottawa.
8) #BetweenTheSheets: Curling in the Club, Pumpkin Spice in Your Hand (Oct. 2) - The Homan victory in Stockholm began cementing her status to the top of the #PowerRankings and we see #redpants brigade Team McEwen start making their push for the top. Interesting side note on this title, a colleague of mine came into event meeting with a pumpkin spice latte in her hand....I had to include it into the blog somehow. :)
7) #BetweenTheSheets: New Season, New Champions? (Aug. 27) - The preview article for the upcoming 2015/16 season. Offer up a quick, now known as, #GunnerRunback and provided 7 predictions for the upcoming season. How are they stacking up? Take a re-read over this post and find out (not too bad I think...)
6) #BetweenTheSheets With Mark Kean (Oct. 19) - Have to admit, very happy this interview ranked so high. I met Mark at the 2015 Brier in Calgary and instantly became a fan of his. A great down to Earth guy, no ego (like we often see in sports) and a great curler/father. I am very proud of this interview.
5) #BetweenTheSheets: #BroomGate Rocks the Curling World (Oct. 15) - I actually expected this post to be a bit higher on this ranking list. This was the first published post on my take of the #BroomGate scandal. A call for regulation of equipment was my stance back then...and still is to this day.
4) #BetweenTheSheets: New Teams Hit the Ice in Oakville (Sept. 3) - The first post of the curling season remains one the most popular. A preview of the opening #StuSellsOakville event, discussion on the off-season moves made by top teams on tour and the pre-season #PowerRankings.
3) #BetweenTheSheets: Time to Give Thanks (Oct. 6) - Thanksgiving weekend in Canada proves to be one of the busiest weekends on tour with teams taking to the ice rather than sitting around the table enjoying turkey and stuffing.
2) #BetweenTheSheets: Canadian Open Slides into Yorkton, SK (Dec. 10) - A preview of the Canadian Open grand slam, #RumorGate tackles future Scotties & Brier host cities and special thoughts and prayers to Craig Savill on his battle with cancer.
Now before I reveal the top post for 2015, I want to make an honourable mention to four posts that just missed the cut off for this list. All four of these posts have special meaning to me and are worthy of a mention in this 2015 review.
HM) #2014BPCup....#TwineTime Trip Down Memory Lane (Feb. 2) - This post holds many special memories for me for a variety of different reasons. This was the first major curling event I covered (Thank You CurlingZone). This was the first time I was ice level and had the opportunity to meet and talk to many of the athletes on the ice...many of whom I had watched and cheered for from my couch for years. This was also a reminder of how kind and goodhearted people can be. I can never say enough good things about Mr. and Mrs. Hodgson for their hospitality, humour and overall welcoming attitude. It was a truly touching moment seeing both of them at the Brier in Calgary this year and hearing they both read this blog post and said "thank you" to me for writing it. I was in shock...all I could do was say "thank you" to them once again.
HM) Serena Slammed By Unseeded Roberta Vinci (Sept. 11) - While this blog may not have garnered a ton of attention on my own site, it sure generated a ton of interest on Spark Sports. I have been very fortunate this year to have Spark Sports pick up the #TwineTime blog posts and include them on their website. This was one of the biggest stories of the sports world in 2015 and I was offered the opportunity to chime in. Serena was racing towards the calendar grand slam. She was a HUGE favorite. Yet unseeded, 43rd-ranked little Italian Roberta Vinci would rock the sports world in a mere few hours. When Vinci took down the mighty giant of Serena, people were left with their mouths open. Serena was upset and shocked. Vinci was in tears...and shocked. But Vinci summed her game up best in the post-match interview "I was thinking just keep the ball in court and run fast"
HM) #BetweenTheSheets With Jamie Koe (Sept. 28) - Jamie Koe is a legend in the curling world. Everyone in the sport knows him. Fans love to cheer him on. Players respect him. Players and fans want to drink with him...and many do! When the 8-time Territories and defending N.W.T champion agrees to sit down with you for an interview, you can't help but be a little bit nervous. This was my first player interview for the blog. And I was starting with someone who everyone knew, respected and loved. No pressure right? Don't make a fool out of myself here! Jamie was everything I expected him to be...funny, personable, down to Earth and honest. They always say you never forget your first...well Jamie Koe...you were my first (#TwineTime athlete interview I mean....stop thinking dirty people) and I will never forget it. I have watched Jamie at Brier's (both in person and on television) and have always cheered him on. Having the opportunity to sit down and talk with him was a #fanboy dream come true. Bring on those JK Beers!
HM) #BetweenTheSheets With Kirk Muyres (Nov. 26) - Being born in Saskatchewan, I will also be a fan of athletes from my home province. Having had the luxury of watching #MrSmiles in action in person at the Brier this past year, and seeing him and Team Laycock pick up a bronze medal, was a moment I will never forget. Kirk has also been a strong supporter of the blog for a long time. The occasional DM from him saying he enjoyed the blog always holds special meaning for me....it must be a Sasky bond kind of thing. When he agreed to sit down for an interview with me, mid-event even, it was a great opportunity to meet someone I cheer for and support on a personal basis.
Ok...the drama has been building. The suspense is getting to all of you...trust me I know, I feel it too. Here is the moment you have all been waiting for (for the past few minutes anyways).
And the top #TwineTime blog post in 2015 was:
1) #BetweenTheSheets: #BroomGate to Safety Patrol (Nov. 5)
Honestly, not too surprised here. This was the biggest news in the curling world for 2015. #BroomGate rocked the sport, divided teams and sponsors and created more unanswered questions then solutions. This blog post also discussed the scary fall incident of Brad Gushue during The Masters in Truro and was the first blog post I openly discussed a team disagreeing with my posts and predictions. Just reading this over once again, good choice #TwineTime fans. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did.
So there you have it, a successful year of #TwineTime. I am excited to see what 2016 brings for the blog. Hopefully more in depth coverage of curling. An increased coverage of other sports, whether professional and/or amateur. Maybe even some more interviews along the way.
If you have any suggestions on what you would like to see covered in this blog, additions made to the blog or suggestions for change, please feel free to share with me. I always enjoy feedback and the opportunity to talk about sports in general.
All the best to each of you in 2016 and thank you once again for spending some of your time on #TwineTime!