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Friday, 23 June 2017

#BetweenTheSheets with Danielle Inglis
Junior -> CIS -> Mixed...Inglis builds success while also giving back

The #TwineTime family continues to grow rock heads and stoners.  And it continues to grow with the thanks of your dedication and interest in the #BetweenTheSheets blog posts.  With increased interest from sports fans, not just curling fans, in the small "blog that could" more athletes are becoming aware and interested in being a member of the family....all thanks to you!  This blog truly is made by a fan for the fans!

Having said that, this is an exciting addition to the family.  Someone who not only knows the sport inside and out as an athlete but also tracks the online interest and "fandom" of the sport among numerous social media channels.  Welcome Danielle Inglis!

I will admit this addition to the family has some personal meaning for me.  When I attended my first world championship event in Swift Current, SK last year, I can say I was a bit "lost" in the shuffle of simple logistics (Where do I even sit as a blogger?).  Sitting next to traditional media personalities you feel a bit out of your league.  Thank goodness for Danielle.  Working with Curling Canada at the event, I was fortunate enough to have a seat next to her and we instantly hit it off.  Of course, being a curling fan I right away knew who she was.  But our fun times and connection was not just from a fan perspective on my end.  Danielle welcomed me to the media bench and made me feel part of the overall curling media family.  It was a relieving moment and one that helped ease a little bit of my own personal fears or self-doubt even perhaps.

As Danielle welcomed me into her media family, I am pleased and honoured to welcome her into our special #TwineTime family now!

TwineTime (TT): Welcome Danielle, you are the newest member of the #TwineTime family, a VERY exclusive list.  I hope you feel somewhat flattered to be included *laughing*

Danielle Inglis (DI): *laughing*  I really do.  Thank you for requesting the interview.

TT: Of course.  Most of the time, as we will talk about a bit later, you are usually on the other side of this process with the current role you are in and how you and I met.  But you are also an accomplished curler so let's talk about that first.  First thing, congratulations on winning the Ontario Mixed Curling Championship, a huge accomplishment.  How did that feel and what is the next step?

DI: Thank you!  Our team was so excited.  We have been playing together for 7 years and been to provincials 6 of the 7 years and have been in 3 provincial finals.  It was nice for the 3rd time is the charm for us.  We had jokingly made a pact that we had to keep playing together until we made it to nationals.  Now that we have made it though obviously we have to come back the next year to defend our title right?  *laughing*

TT: *laughing*  Exactly!

DI: We are really excited to be in Swan River November 12 - 19 this year.  Our team will be going and we are so excited.  We are great friends off the ice too so that makes it more special.

TT: Is that kind of the key to mixed curling?  You are friends on and off the ice, does that make it a bit easier to play together?

DI: I think it is key for any team really.  For our team in particular the chemistry has always been there between the 4 of us.  You go through great time as a team and tough times as a team.  If you can keep it in perspective and know you are always great friends at the end of the day that's what counts.  Two of our teammates, Shawn and Lauren (Harrison), got married last summer and Mike (Anderson) and I were in the wedding party.

TT: That's really cool, a nice touch.  Did you guys go undefeated this year too?

DI: We did.

TT: Wow!  That's awesome.  Was that the first time you went undefeated until a final?

DI: No *laughing*

TT: *laughing*  So a bit of bad history avoided?

DI: We didn't want to do that again.  We have done it before.  If you are going to have a loss the final is not it.  We were pretty happy to pull out the big win this time.

TT: For sure!  Now you are not a stranger to throwing on the Ontario jacket though, being an Ontario junior champion.  Many people may not know but you actually defeated Rachel Homan in your Ontario final.  I would say that is impressive.  How was your junior experience and what was it like to wear the provincial jacket at a national championship?

DI: First of all our team was thrilled.  We were a first-year team together and it was my first time skipping on a competitive level.  I had played every position.  Our team had great chemistry, everything was clicking.  We were able to pull it out in the final.  For us, we were the underdog and there was no expectation.  We surprised people.  We were happy.  The opportunity to wear your provincial jacket is a proud moment and we never took that for granted.  I always remember the first national I had gone to and I was asking former junior champions for advice.  They all said to never take a moment for a granted and soak every moment in because you never know when you are going to be back.  I took that to heart!

TT: Nice.  And how did you do at the Canadian Championship?

DI: We figured off with an even record.  We could have very easily had 3 more wins to that category.  Personally I know I missed a few key shots but I learned a lot from that experience.  You learn how to dial back a bit, dial back the nervous energy in those pressure shots.  It was a great learning experience.  At that point though, when you have so many talented teams it is those little things that make the difference.

TT: You touch on a great point with junior curling helping you move forward and advance into ladies and mixed.  How important do you think junior curling is to see #growthesport in Canada and for what it has done for you to where you are now?

DI: HUGE!  Every experience brings you closer to your end goal, whatever it may be.  Every time you make the next level, whether it be a provincial or national or world, you may be a strong team but there is always added pressure and athletes have to learn to deal with.  If you can start that process and comfort level young, you are already at an advantage.  Right now Curling Canada has officially sanctioned U18 Championship.  It's great for the next generation.  The U18 championships have a rich history already and provides an exciting competition level and can hopefully leave the athletes with more hunger to compete.

TT: Talking about the transition from U18 now, most curlers may dive into CIS or U-SPORT now.  If I did my homework correctly you are a two-time CIS champ correct?

DI: Yup I am.

TT: Congratulations on that by the way, that is another awesome accomplishment.  What do you think about the CIS route?  It is in an interesting predicament right now.  Being out West, where I am from, we have seen a few less teams competing in Canada West and for the chance at a CIS title.  The university route seems to be declining in some provinces and at some universities.  What did you find in the importance of CIS curling, besides of course the added impact of an education?

DI: Oh my gosh it was everything!  I sometimes joke to people that I took a B.A. in curling with a side of sociology.  Curling really took a major priority in university and we were really lucky that (Wilfred) Laurier (University) supported the program.  There was quite a lot of pressure on us too actually back in 2008 when our men's and women's program won the national championship because Laurier was taking a good hard luck at their funding structure for sports and which would be varsity sports.  Curling was on the chopping block.  If we hadn't both won, the story may have been completely different.  Now, Laurier has a very strong program and by putting themselves on the map they have been able to attract some strong curlers.  Similar to Alberta with the national training centre.  More money is coming into it and I have seen it happen with universities.  What is unique about university-level is you never know who you are going to get.  At the competitive level you can mix and match from different towns, cities and even provinces now but in university you don't have the chance to do that.  I know the opportunities we got out of it are priceless and we couldn't trade them for the world.  When we went to China we played, essentially, what was half of the Olympic field.  Every country has a slightly different definition of what being a "university" student is.  For Canada you have to have a full-time student status.

TT: So you have to be enrolled in a certain amount of credits per semester type of deal?

DI: Exactly!  It was a unique situation.  When we won the second time and go to travel to Japan to compete at the Karuisawa International event, again we were faced with the same type of field with a good chunk of field heading to the Olympics.  Actually I even remember Bingyu Wang's team had to leave a little bit early so they could get to Vancouver and start their transition into the timezone.

TT: Wow.  That's crazy!

DI: Those types of opportunities, to play those calibre of teams at that younger age...you can't trade that for anytime.

TT: Talking about U-SPORT requirements, did you have the same type of requirements we see in other sports where a certain GPA requirement was enforced?

DI: We did.  Also, the school in our second year, we were able to get a bit more funding because of our result the first year so we were able to get a few more student-athlete scholarships for the school.  We had to maintain a certain grade percentage for every member of the team.  It was a great situation where we had a school being supportive.

TT: That's awesome.  Do you think that is something you would recommend/hope more universities take as an outlook, like Laurier did with you, to help #growthesport at the university level and try to eliminate the disconnect we are starting to see?

DI: Big time.  A lot of our sport comes down to money to be honest.  If you have the money and the funding to be able to go out and train and travel to compete you are able to perform better.  If you put the same person with a similar work ethic comparing to one with money and one without, it's a no-brainer.  You can see that on the men's and women's circuit.  Those who are able to travel more and put in the work are having the greater success.

TT: Let's talk about the #growthesport theme a little more now.  Obviously you had juniors to CIS and now in women's, you have given back and spent some coaching time at Trillium I believe?

DI: I have.  It has been on and off depending on summer commitments but I think it has been 5 years and I am doing it again this year.  I love giving back.  I started there as a camper for 6 years myself.  I was an assistant for a few years and then a coach.  I got so much out of the program.  I met so many friends.  I cannot say enough about what that did for my curling career.  Even being inspirational because the camp is so much more than just curling.  I remember my mom telling the story of when I was in the car ride coming from the camp and it was about an hour and half car ride and she asked, "so did you curl?"  *laughing*  All I was talking about was how much fun I was having.  Fun neat fact actually, I am one of those people who has to write everything down in order to remember...

TT: *laughing*  Hmmmm.....I think I have learned that in the past working and sitting beside you at events....

DI: *laughing*  Yup.  I actually have a binder of when I was a camper where I wrote down everything that happened.  I was that student who wrote everything so I could soak it up.  I looked back to what I had learned and see where I came from.  Everything from my slide...where I used to have the Claw!  Yikes!  Trillium fixed that in a year.  *laughing*  You really need to give back to the sport.  I feel so lucky to have the experience I have and if I can help pass the love I have for the sport to someone else then that is what I want to do.  I remember writing it down and, back when I was 15 or 16 and we were creating a sponsor package and one of my goals was to spread my love of curling across Canada and the World!  *laughing*

TT: *laughing*  Ahhh...that's cute!  To "spread my love of curling".  That's awesome!

DI: *laughing*  That is why I like going back.  I want other people to have the same enjoyment of the sport I had.

TT: We are seeing a lot more camps popping up across the country too.  Like you said, it worked well for you.  Do you think it is one of the best ways to #growthesport in Canada by doing these curling camps and seeing the athletes themselves give back and provide some mentoring?

DI: I think so.  Regardless of what sport you play, you always have someone you look up to.  If that inspiration can be there and you can learn from them, that is so important.  You hear stories of people who got into the sport because they saw Sandra Schmirler or Wayne Gretzky or Kevin Martin on TV and they want to be like them.  If you can work with people you admire, you are more likely to learn.  Sometimes it is parent coaching happening and we know how that can sometimes go too.  Kids don't always want to learn from their parents.  Who would a kid want to learn from:  mom or day or Marc Kennedy?

TT: And sometimes parents can be a bit over-demanding and tough on their own kids, as we see in hockey or soccer.

DI: Exactly.  Kids have a lot of pressure these day I feel.  I coach a bantam program and I see how involved kids are in a variety of activities, which I think is a good thing to become a well-rounded human being and a well-rounded athlete.  If you focus too early you could hit burn out before 16.  Having those distractions, at least for me, was important.  I was highly involved in school and outside activities.  If something was going wrong in one aspect, something was going right in the other.  If you only have the one avenue to focus on, say curling, and curling is going wrong with nothing else to bring you happiness, that can be tough to deal with.

TT: True.  The "all the eggs in one basket" mentality can be detrimental.  Now let's fast forward to this year and your women's team.  We spoke about this a bit on the media bench together where I thought you guys had a pretty good season and you disagreed.  Ontario is a competitive province.  From your side, how was your season and what is the outlook going forward?

DI: I wouldn't say it was a bad season but it was unexpected.  We had plans in place before and circumstances changed for some of us on the team which we weren't then able to follow our season plan the way we had hoped.  We did have some success.  We won a tournament.  We made a goal to make provincials though and we weren't able to make the provincial tournament, which was a disappointment.  Because we had a crazy season, we were ok with it in the end.  Sure we were disappointed because we wanted more but life happens and you have to deal with life and none of us hold each other against that.  We all have our challenges to get through.  Sometimes it just is not in the cards.

TT: For sure.  What is it like curling in Ontario?  There are a lot of great Ontario teams.  Homan, Jacqueline Harrison won the Tour Challenge Tier II.  Julie Hastings has been a consistent threat in the past.  We have seen numerous teams.  Does that serve as a motivator to push you or does it get to be a bit tiring/frustrating with always having games against strong teams and teams that could do well at the Scotties every year?

DI: I think it is great to have that level of competition built-in every year.  There are other provinces, like out East, where they don't have as many strong women teams out there to compete with every weekend.  We don't have to go far to have a high level of competition every weekend.  When I played with Jill Brothers, she would say how lucky we were in Ontario.  I always remember that and it reminds me to not take that for granted because we are so lucky to have many strong teams.  We are all friends and I always appreciate that high level of competition.

TT: You mentioned how tough it is to just make the provincial field in Ontario let alone win the title.  Some people may not be familiar with the qualification process in Ontario as it does run a bit different than a few other provinces.  What is the process like and what are the steps?

DI: This year the format was we had an 8-team provincial championship.  2 teams qualified directly based on CTRS points, which was Rachel (Homan) and Ali (Flaxey).

TT: Oh of course...how could I forget mentioning Ali on winning a slam this season.  Team Flaxey, I owe you one!

DI: Yeah and she has a (Olympic) trials spot locked up too.

TT: Ugh of course...wow, I'm slipping.  I owe you one Ali!

DI: Those two didn't have to go through playdowns.  In Ontario we now have two open qualifiers and you can sign up for either one, one in the East and one in the West, and 2 qualifiers come from those events.  That is 4 more teams.  And then we had a Challenge Round where any team who hadn't qualified yet could compete and we had another 2 teams qualify from there to complete the field.

TT: Ah ok.  And was this year the first time the format was used?

DI: This is the second time we had open regions but we also had a 10-team provincial field the year before.  Because the event is combined with the men and the men have a 10-team field, plus if you look at the ratio of men's teams to women's teams to enter they have more.  We had 28 teams enter in the province so we are seeing less teams enter but the level of competition is still strong.  Teams that may not have had a great shot at reaching provincials are no longer just entering for fun or for practice.  Sometimes we see teams do that.  Maybe they have their senior playdowns or are intermediate level, they enter the Scotties playdowns to get more practice in but that is not happening as much anymore.

TT: Do you find the new format is encouraging stronger play or discouraging the #growthesport model for teams in the middle zone?  There may be no correct answer here but where is the fine line?

DI: There are two ways to approach it.  One, if you take the top CTRS teams out of it that is two less top teams every other team has to compete with.  From that perspective, in theory, that makes it easier to compete.  The other factor that comes in play is fees were raised, which was needed just to sustain the championship.  Because the costs rose, it became another factor where teams were not going to pay more for hotels and travel.  When we had zones, regions, provincials the zonal round pretty much guaranteed you would be playing at home.  Regions were still a pretty good chance with the province divided into four regions.  Of course then provincials.  Now, with two open regions and the locations being anywhere, the chances of playing at home are not always as strong.  Honestly, the Olympics changed everything and makes it where teams are working harder and harder to get to the top.  You cannot just get by with entering a competition and hope to get there.  You need to put in the time and work ethic all season to get there.

TT: As it should be as well.  If you want to get to the elite status you do need to put in the time and work at it.  What's the outlook for next year?  Same team?  New team?

DI: We did have the team chat and we have two of our teammates have jobs next season that will not allow them to curl as much so the other two of us decided we wanted to curl more or take a step back from the game for a year.  It's where we are at right now.  We are sad because we really enjoy curling together and we have lots of fun together.  It's sad to make those decisions but we also understand where each of us is coming from.  If you aren't all on the same page from the beginning, that is where problems arise.  Last season we started all on the same page but through different circumstances and life we couldn't carry out those plans.  We didn't to repeat the same result this year and it is tough when you are putting all the time and effort into it.

TT: That makes sense.  Do you get caught ever looking ahead?  This Olympic cycle is about to come to an end.  Another Olympic cycle is about to start up again.  We often see players jump around and try out different teams.  Is that what you do as a curler individually?  Do you sit down and ask yourself about your level of dedication to make the 2022 Winter Olympics now or what do I do next?

DI: Yeah I think that's how it is with every curler.  The Olympics effects every single competitive curler.  You see it with the top teams making a change and then it filters down to the next level and the next level and so on.  You just wait for the domino's to fall down and it depends which domino you are *laughing*  But teams do look at the four-year cycle now.  Whether you look at it to actively make it to the Olympics or the trials or whether you look at it with different goals to define team options.  For instance, this year with the trials and pre-trials there is not as much movement with teams because teams are staying together to qualify.

TT: Which makes sense.  Now the other side with you is being very active in mixed doubles.  You have been successful in that discipline as well.  You have injected the discipline into your season now.  What do you like about mixed doubles?  Do you like it more than playing team of four?  Do you like it equally?  Is there a preference?

DI: That's a good question.  I like them both for different reasons.  I am really loving mixed doubles.  It's something fresh and new.  I am playing with Mike Anderson, the same teammate I play mixed with.  We have a good chemistry on the ice.  We are always laughing and having fun on the ice but also very serious and competitive.  I enjoy the different dynamic.  It's easier...but that might be because of how we get along on the ice.  I know a lot of couples play together, as you see at the Canadian Mixed Doubles.  That is a completely different experience.  Mike and I sometimes have a laugh when you see two people on the ice who happen to be a couple just going at it.  We don't have that because we aren't a couple.

TT: Is he your curling husband then?  You are his curling wife?  *laughing*

DI: *laughing*  I don't think we have discussed that with our significant others yet.

TT: *laughing*  An off-season conversation perhaps you need to all have together?

DI: *laughing*  I guess so.  We are lucky we both have support partners who are happy to see us go compete in tournaments.  I like both equally though but mixed doubles is just fresh and new and fun and fast.  I am excited to see it played at the Olympics and raise the profile of the sport.  I think the big thing right now is people don't get it outside of those competing....and sometimes even we are looking at the rules *laughing*  It is something you have to learn, like any game.  One of the biggest assumptions is it is just like a regular curling game and it is not.

TT: It is totally different!

DI: One shot can make a huge difference.  And by one shot I also mean one missed shot makes a difference.  You have to make every other shot.  You have one less shot to achieve your goal because now you only have 5 shots and not 8.  With 8 shots you can maybe get away with a half-shot or a missed shot.  With 5 rocks, and if you don't get a half-miss or a complete miss from the other team, you could be giving up a big score.

TT: In mixed doubles we see a lot more perfect ends too.  A lot more 6 point ends on the scoreboard but also "NoLeadIsSafe.  It is not uncommon to have a team score 6 against you but still come back and win the game.

DI: It's true!  Our team got a six when we were down 4 with hammer.  We picked up the 6-ender.  It can happen.  You need a little help sometimes too and a lot of good shots made but that is what is exciting.  For a regular curling game, when you have two great teams competing and you are down by 3 or more, you are in tough without some misses.  But in mixed doubles, hey you are down 7, no big problem!  We will just take 4 and steal 3 and back in the game...which is exciting!

TT: So obviously you are pro-Olympic add for the discipline?

DI: Yes!  Anything that goes into the Olympics is good for the sport.  It can never be a bad thing.  At the grand scheme of trying to grow the sport, having more eyes actually on the sport is always better.

TT: And you touch on the perfect point.  To #growthesport, if you look at this year's World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship there are 40 teams competing and many nations who we would very rarely or never see at a world championship.  Now we are seeing Brazil and Isreal and Qatar and Croatia...the sport is growing around the world.  This has to be a good thing for the sport moving forward?

DI: It really is.  To have those teams be able to compete at a world championship is great.  Going back to our earlier conversation about once you get there, you learn more.  The more opportunities these nations have to compete and become better, the better it is for them and the sport.

TT: I agree.  I cannot wait.  I am excited to see the new discipline in the Olympics field and continue to see the sport grow.

DI: It is exciting!

TT: Ok let's talk about Curling Canada.  You are at the World Championships representing Curling Canada.  How did you get this job and what exactly do you do for Curling Canada?

DI: In a nutshell....

TT: Is it possible to condense everything you do for Curling Canada into a nutshell? *laughing*

DI: *laughing*  I will try.  Let's go with Social Media and Website....Communication!  I have been doing project work for Curling Canada in the past and this job opportunity came up, I applied for it and luckily I was the right fit for the position.  I really love it.  I love the people I work with.  I love the subject matter obviously.  It really comes down to the people you work with.  It is a great team.  I love the communications team.  With my position and working with all the websites, I get to work with a lot of people within the organization.  Of course I also get excited when I get to physically come to an event because I get to see every one and, in some cases, meet them for the first time in person.

TT: You are kind of the face behind Curling Canada social media.  You get to meet a lot of people and chat with athletes and fans of the sport.  You get to feed off the energy of fans who also love the sport, what's not to love about that?  Especially for you as a curler.  You are not just doing this as a job or something you have education or experience in, you are also doing it was a curler.  It has to add a bit to the excitement?

DI: It does.  It is true.  Interacting with people and seeing the energy in St. John's (for the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier) is just crazy and wild.  The energy just drives you!  I love it!  I love being able to see people get excited about the sport.

TT: At events where we have both been at, I have seen you running around all the time taking pictures with fans and people are always excited to talk with you.  It's awesome!

DI: Everybody likes to have the 15 seconds or so of fame. *laughing*  People get excited when Curling Canada takes an interest in a cool story or picture.  Also it's feeling appreciated for taking a picture of a cool costume or a clever sign or just thanking them for coming, like the schools and the kids who come out.  They love it too.

TT: That is an interesting avenue and one you and I have talked about in the past too.  The success of the sport is really built on a combination of three areas: the athletes, the media and the fans!  You are kind of in the middle of all three.  If we aren't seeing those fans getting dressed up, making those signs and coming to the events, where is the sport going, regardless of what we do from an association or business aspect?

DI: You are right.  I do have an unique perspective in being right in between all of those areas.  I am a very logical person where I can switch my brain on and understand different perspectives, which is key.  You see where others are coming from and you try to relate or provide an answer.  There are not always positive comments coming through on social media too.  You do have to sort through the negative one's as well.  My role is maybe also adding on the title of teacher or educator in educating people about the sport.  It is also one of the strengths Curling Canada has in that it is not an organization made up of just curlers but people from all over.  I have seen how important that is from many aspects.  You need people who are involved in the sport but also who have fresh ideas and drive change and keep up with what is going on in the world and bring those ideas forward.

TT: Exactly!  In speaking about the comments, they are not always going to be positive.  Message boards go out, people respond, comments can be positive or negative.  At the end of the day do you look back and think all publicity is good publicity?  We could be in a situation where nobody is talking or taking interest in the sport.  People watching and paying attention and commenting is a win.

DI: Exactly!  We have seen fans watch and pay attention this year, in very close detail even.  *laughing*  Our following continues to grow.  The percentage of positive people outweighs the percentage of negative people.  With more fans also brings more people in both camps so sometimes you may see more negative comments or posts but it can be countered by the positive.  And sometimes, again, it is just education on how the sport works and not understanding what is going on or the rules of the sport.

TT: Right, right.  Human nature is gravitating towards negative comments over positive comments it seems.  Human nature says we are harder on ourselves than we are praising ourselves.  You may get a 50/50 response but the negative seem to stick with you a bit longer.

DI: It's true.  And people can get on a role sometimes.  Negative can breed more negative.  But positive can breed more positive so sometimes you try to steer the conversation to a more positive outlook.  There is nothing wrong with a spirited discussion as long as it is based on fact and sometimes that is lacking.  But that is where sometimes it is our job to provide the information to base opinions on fact and not only perception.

TT: Yup, that is very fair.  You do outstanding work for Curling Canada and hopefully this is a long-term position and we can see you at more events.  I know, personally, I always enjoy sitting next to you on the media bench.  But now lets focus a bit on Danielle the person and not just Danielle the curler or Danielle the social media queen.  Lets go into some rapid fire questions for you.

DI: OK!!  I'm ready!  Hit me with it.

TT: Do you have a nickname?

DI: Dani or D.

TT: Ok pretty standard for Danielle as a first name.

DI: Yeah pretty much.

TT: Do you have a curling rival?

DI: Curling rival?  No I don't so.

TT: Really?  How is that possible?

DI: Well I find every year it changes a little bit.  You have "that" team you find you play against more often than another team.  I feel it changes from year to year but I don't have one direct person.  I pretty much love everyone.  *laughing*

TT: Awww...back to the little notepad with I love the sport of curling!  Who are some of those teams from the past you have noticed as rivals for you during the season?

DI: Team Hastings is the first one that comes to mind.

TT: Julie is also a #TwineTime family member.

DI: Yes she is.  Fun fact, their uncle is my dentist.  I used to hear about his nieces all the time in the chair when I was younger and before I was a competitive curler.  But I didn't know who they were because I was too young.  I remember though when I got to go into the dentist office and say "Hey, I got to play your nieces the other day".  We have played them a lot.  We play everyone all the time in Ontario every weekend though.

TT: Oh that is cool.  And sad news with Team Hastings parting ways this season after the long successful history they have had as a team.  It's kind of sad as a tradition we also don't see really anymore in teams sticking together for the long-term.

DI: It is true.  For them though it was a lot about life circumstances.  Life happens!

TT: Very true...#LifeHappens!  Do you have a curling idol?

DI: Sandra Schmirler's team.

TT: What a great response!  I love it!  Mind as well.

DI: *laughing*  I remember reading their book, "Gold on Ice" and just really respecting the fact they were all friends off the ice and great competitors on the ice and they had such great success.  They were my idols growing up.  I remember the first time I got to meet Joan McCusker and she was so friendly.  It was at junior nations and we were standing in the hotel lobby and she was there doing broadcasting and she saw my last name 'Inglis' which is her maiden name.  She came up and said "You are Danielle Inglis" and I was just in shock.  I almost fell to the ground...she knows who I am? *laughing*

TT: *laughing*  Awww that's awesome!

DI: But that is what's so cool about the curling world, people are so friendly.  That team has always been one of my idols.

TT: That's very cool.  Joan and entire team are awesome and great people.  But of course they are, they are from Saskatchewan, like I am.  We are Saskatchewan....we are pretty awesome.

DI: *laughing*  I suppose so.  No bias at all.

TT: *laughing*  Nope, not at all.  What's an embarrassing song on your ipod?  I have set next to you for a countless number of hours and I have heard you sing and rap on a regular basis.  There has be some embarrassing song you have.

DI: You know what?  I don't get embarrassed.

TT: *laughing*  I have noticed that as well.

DI: *laughing* No shame over here.

TT: If anyone ever gets to meet you in person they should ask you to rap a little Eminem...you are very good.

DI: *laughing*  Only one song though.  I don't know.  Honestly though I really have an eclectic taste in music.  I like everything, from musicals to Backstreet Boys.  Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" is probably my favourite song of all time.

TT: And you probably belt that out every single time you hear it? *laughing*

DI: *laughing*  Of course.  Is it even an option not to do that?  I like the Foo Fighters.  I really am all over the map.  I am a sucker for music.  If you can sing or play an instrument, I want to hear it.

TT: That's very cool.  Something new we have all learned about you now.  If we could give you any company in the world as a curling sponsor for next season, who would you choose?

DI: Anyone that wants to pay me? *laughing*

TT: *laughing*  You are in control here.  You get to pick them.

DI: *laughing*  Oh I am in control?  Oh ok.  I don't know.  That is a good question.  I don't think I have ever been in a big position to be able to think about this.  If I was Team Homan or Team Jones or Team Jacobs maybe.

TT: The #TwineTime blog is giving you the equivalent of them right now.  You have all the power. *laughing*

DI: *laughing*  It would have to be a Canadian company because I like supporting local.

TT: That's a good answer.  Ok, Canadian companies and businesses out there....if you want to get into the curling sponsorship world, Danielle Inglis is waiting for your phone call!

DI: *laughing*

TT: Ok you are making a sandwich at home, is it turkey or ham?

DI: *laughing*  Both!  I had a turkey wrap last night actually.

TT: *laughing*  So are you siding on the turkey train a bit now?

DI: *laughing*  I suppose I am.

TT: Also, a little media bench side tidbit....what is your favourite timbit flavour?

DI: *laughing*  My favourite timbit flavour?

TT: I have seen you pop a few every once in awhile.

DI: It's true, I do.  You know I don't actually eat any timbits or doughnuts at any point other than when I am at an event because Tim Horton graciously provides them for us and sometimes when you are so busy they are the only option you have is to go over and pop a timbit.  If I was to grab a timbit it would be the little Honey Crueller one because they are light and airy *laughing*  Is that the healthy one?

TT: If it makes you feel better, yes, yes it is.  *laughing*

DI: *laughing* Yes it does.  Thanks!

TT: Nice.  Out of the 7 dwarfs, which one would you be?

DI: Happy!

TT: Really?  I can see that.  A very fair assessment.  Perhaps near the end of an event though, Sleepy?

DI: *laughing*  Depends on the event.  In St. John's it was a huge adrenaline rush of 10 days ever.  I didn't crash until the following Tuesday morning but then I did crash hard.  I woke up in the morning and realized my adrenaline was gone and my body was confused.

TT: One thing people may also not know about you is you are in the middle of preparing for your upcoming wedding.  Congratulations!!

DI: Thank you!

TT: The happy day is this year correct?

DI: It is.

TT: Which is more difficult: planning a wedding or curling 3 or 4 games in a day?

DI: 4 games in a day is more difficult.  I love event planning.  It is fun for me.  4 game days are rough!  I will easily say 4 games in a day.

TT: That is fair.  With mixed doubles, it could be a normal day.

DI: And mixed doubles is different because it is only an hour and a half game with less rocks to throw.  But full on, 4 8 or 10 end games is just ridiculous.

TT: So planning a wedding is more exciting?  I think that is fair.

DI: Well both can be equally exciting I suppose.  *laughing*  I might be sleepy by the end of 4 games though.

TT: That is fair.  And wedding planning is going well?

DI: It is.  Everything is going great.  I just hit the big pause button during the curling season but it's alright.  I got enough done during the summer.

TT: Plus it sounds like you have a very supporting fiance at home who knows what you do and supports the season.

DI: I do.  He is a firefighter so I support his passion for firefighting as he supports my passion for curling.  He has his passions and I have mine.  I remember when we were first dating and one of the first things I am up front about is I am married to curling.  This is something I do and I am going to be busy with it until about August to end of April.  It was funny because he had the same concern in that someone he is with would be the same with him working shift work and being away a lot.  I understand it *laughing*  I am probably going to be away more than you are.

TT: That's fair though.  A good point too.  My last question is a little thing we do called #AskACurler.  I spoke with Ryan Sherrard at the World Championships and asked him to come up with a question for you.  He wanted to know, "since you are the social media queen with Curling Canada, if you could have any #curling hashtag trend worldwide #1, what's a great curling hashtag?"  And you cannot say #curling as your response....you need to be more original *laughing*

DI: *laughing*  Well from my Curling Canada perspective I always want to see every event hashtag trending of course.  So pick whichever event I am attending at the time, I want that hashtag to trend worldwide.

TT: Ah of course.  What about for your season?

DI: If it's my season?  Hmmm....

TT: What about even a team hashtag you would like to see get traction and go forward for you?

DI: I would need to have a team for next season in order to have a team hashtag.  Lets start there *laughing*

TT: *laughing*  So your team hashtag right now would be #Unknown?

DI: *laughing*  Sure, let's go with that.  #UnknownCurling

TT: *laughing*  #TeamWanted or #WantedSkip

DI: Oh it would be #OpenToAnyPosition

TT: Oh nice!

DI: I am not stuck on skipping that's for sure.  I play for whatever works best for the team and the four players.

TT: Wow...ok #PerfectTeammate

DI: *laughing*  Perfect?  No!

TT: Wow that was a lot of hashtags for you though all of a sudden.  Now, finally for you, you get to turn the tables and #AskACurler.  I am going to be doing the year-end #GraniteAwards with Special Guest John Cullen.  What is the one question you would like me to ask Mr. John Cullen?  I know you know him well.

DI: Well Mr. John Cullen writes for Curling Canada and does a fantastic blog post called "Magical Question Fun Time".  My question for him would be "What do you think has been the funniest answer on MQFT?"

TT: Oh that is a good one.  I will ask him that and see what he has to say.  Thank you for sitting down with me Danielle.  I know we have a gold medal world championship final to get back on the bench and watch here.  We have to get back to work.  Who are you cheering for in this final?

DI: Canada!

TT: Shocking!!

DI: *laughing*  Curling Canada cheers for Canada.  But always nice to see a good game.  I actually was at the World University Games back in 2009 with Niklas (Edin, Team Sweden) and it is fun to see him grow and develop.  I will be happy to see a good game but, as Curling Canada, it is no secret who I will be cheering for.

TT: Oh wow that's awesome.  Well let's hope we have a good game.  Back to the bench we go and thank you once again Danielle.  Welcome to the #TwineTime family!

DI: You are welcome...and thank you!

Worth noting, since our interview Danielle has announced the formation of her team for the 2017/18 curling season.  Danielle will return to the house as skip and will be joined by vice Jess Corrado, second Steph Corrado and lead Cassandra de Groot.  The #TwineTime blog wishes the new #TeamInglis all the best in the upcoming season.

I'll admit I have had many laughs with Danielle, whether on the media bench at a curling event or during this interview.  I cannot thank her enough for being so open, accepting and helpful to me as a "New Media" blogger at major events.  Welcome to the #TwineTime family Danielle!

And #StayTuned rock heads and stoners, as mentioned in this interview the 2nd Annual #GoldenGranite Awards are coming your way VERY soon.  Who takes home the award as Suprise Team of the Year?  Underachiever of the Year?  What are some of the season's hits and misses?  And of course the big one, Team of the Year?  Join me and Mr. CullenTheCurler himself for a special blog heading into your house shortly.