Monday, 7 May 2018

Team Hasselborg

#BetweenTheSheets With Team Hasselborg
We discuss "A Goal to A Gold", #growthesport, family, 
funding pressures, #SwedishVikings origins and Game of Thrones?!

So the 2017/18 curling season is over and all the rock heads and stoners are left with moments of reflection on the season that was while thinking about how to pass the time until the first rock slides down the house for the 2018/19 season.

Do not fade away into curling withdraw quite yet curling fans.  The #TwineTime blog has a few more spins of the rock for you to keep your curling mouth salivating.

This is a VERY special moment for the #TwineTime blog as we welcome Olympic champions into the fam.

Are you ready to meet the ladies behind the gold?  The #SwedishVikings themselves?

Welcome to the #TwineTime blog: Team Hasselborg!

Ok so you may have noticed from the headline picture not all 4 members of Team Hasselborg were able to join me for a sit down and chat.  I was fortunate enough to catch up with the team while they were in Calgary for the season-ending Champions Cup.  After a practice session on the ice, skipper Anna Hasselborg, vice Sara McManus and lead Sofia Mabergs invited me to join them for a little "lunch meeting" to talk all things curling....and even a few non-curling related topics.

Now unfortunately second Agnes Knochenhauer was unable to join us but we grant her a special invite into the fam with the entire team right #TwineTime fans?  We were all thinking about Knochenhauer in conjunction with the team conversation.

This is also a first for the blog!  Technically Joan McCusker was the first Olympic champ to join the blog family remember.  So the historical aspect is not solely based on the Olympic champion title.  Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy looking and holding that PyeongChang 2018 gold medal though folks.  Damn are those things heavy!  It almost seems like the ribbon will not be strong enough to support the actual medal.

But here is where history comes into play for this interview and the blog.  Often this blog sits down with one player and we have a player profile interview but not in this instance.  Rules books out the window and time to shake it up a bit with a different approach.  How could we not sit down with the 2018 Winter Olympic champions as a team collective?  It is with great pleasure we welcome Team Hasselborg to the #TwineTime blog family:

This was a special interview for many reasons but perhaps one of my favourite reasons is because, well frankly, I didn't have to do alot of talking.  This team enjoys talking and I enjoyed listening.  It was great to just be in the room listening to the team recount stories from PyeongChang or experiences of life on the road and travel and competition.  Plus, who can argue with the wise words of Anna stating "a goal became a gold!"  What a quote!!

I won't lie folks.  At times I would almost forget I had to get ready for a next question because I was so caught up in the conversation.  But isn't that also what makes for a great interview?  When the interviewee, or interviewees in this case, have the conversation just flow naturally where you, or in this case me as the interviewer, almost forget we are recording an interview.

Team Hasselborg will always have a special place in the heart of this blog.  They were one of a few teams who took time out at the beginning of the season in Regina to stop and talk with my brother Nick at the Tour Challenge.  And it wasn't just stopping to talk for a picture and autograph either.  The entire team took time to ask him how he was enjoying live curling.  They took time to ask him if he had been to many curling events and engaged in conversation.  Of course my brother left the Tour Challenge with many great memories and many teams and players he now cheers for when he watches curling on TV, many teams/players were very engaging with him I should point out.  But you can best believe during the 2018 Winter Olympics he was cruising the halls talking about how he was friends with the Sweden curling teams (yup of course he is a fan of Niklas Edin.  Remember Nick meet Nik after all!).  It is pretty cool when Olympic champions remember your name too right?  After the interview wrapped up the team even asked me how Nick was doing and if he would be in Calgary for the Champions Cup event.  And yes, they did ask for him by name.  The time has arrived folks, this blog has now become second star in the fame game....Nick is #1! LOL

And just to play off this point.  After their Champions Cup event ended, and their season, I had a conversation with Hasselborg thanking her for this interview once again but also for taking the time to meet Nick and sharing what it meant for him.  We tried to record a quick message from her to Nick but of course my phone was not cooperating and the message did not record.  But that would not stop Hasselborg.  She sent me a quick video message she recorded herself just for me to show my brother when I see him next.  How cool is that folks!?  This is your 2018 Olympic Champion!!

I want to thank Team Hasselborg for sitting down and chatting with me after practice as they prepared for the Champions Cup grand slam event.  It was a great conversation.  Lots of honest and real answers with tons of laughs.  Welcome to the #TwineTime blog family!

And, as you heard, #StayTuned because we have one final member to induct into the family for this season: Scotland's Bruce Mouat!  And yes we will find out how to properly pronounce his last name.....

Plus there just might be a few more tricks up this bloggers sleeve before we get to officially put the rocks to bed for the season.  Just sayin'......

But this blog is also about YOU the curling fan having a say on the season.  As you, hopefully, read in the FINAL #PowerRankings blog post, the #TwineTime blog declared the top teams of the 2017/18 year but what do you think?  Who is the TOP team as voted by the fans?  Head over to the #TwineTime Home Page and #VOTEToday on which team you would crown overall champion for the 2017/18 season.

The #FormatFrustrations have been a key topic of discussion during the second half of the season.  This very blog has even tried to tackle the issue while providing an opportunity for YOU the fan share your thoughts.  The last #TwineTime poll wanted to know which playoff format you prefer and it was an overwhelming result:

  • 58% of votes cast want to see the Page Playoff brought back
  • 25% side with the new proposed Top 6 Hybrid  
  • 8% voted for the Top 5 format
  • 4% elected the Stepladder and Elite Eight options  

To perhaps the surprise of nobody, the Olympic Format, current WCF format and Double Elimination format received no votes.  I feel like this topic of discussion is not going to go away anytime soon however.  Continue to talk though rock heads and stoners and share your thoughts with your local club and member association.  Voice your opinion on social media.  All conversation, even friendly debate, is always great for the #growthesport movement.

A final shout out to all of you loyal readers.  The #TwineTime blog eclipsed a major milestone recently surpassing the 100K page views mark.  As of press time for this blog post we are now over 101K!!  For some those numbers may not look as impressive, sure I am no TSN or ESPN.  But for the "little blog that could" the numbers continue to grow and I continue to be both humbled and thankful.  We may not always agree but I appreciate being allowed to have a viewpoint and for the curling community to continue to embrace a fan's perspective on the sport. 

Bring on 200K!!!

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