The curling blood runs deep in the Schneider family. From Jamie Schneider winning the Canadian Junior Curling Championship in 1983 to Kim Schneider winning the Scotties Tournament of Hearts (with Amber Holland) in 2011, the Schneider name is one of traditional and associated with winning. If you enter any curling club, especially within Saskatchewan, everyone knows the Schneider name. From small humble beginnings in the Kronau area, a community of 250 people (yup that small and I've been there numerous times to know it's true) yet with it's own curling rink, to national prominence whenever you see a curler hit the ice with the name Schneider on the back of the jacket, you know you are in for a good game.
Enter Catlin Schneider. Big curling shoes to fill when your family has Canadian champions around you. But no living in the Schneider family shadow for this 25-year old. Curling athlete? Check! But don't think he is resting on family laurels. How about football stud? Golfer? Yup, Catlin has the athlete genes flowing through him. But don't let the muscles and physique fool you either. University graduate? Engineer? Yup, brains with brawn here folks. Some would say Catlin is the triple threat of brains, brawn and beauty....and he is ready to take the curling world by storm with his Saskatchewan team. Curling as a vice with Team Meachem, Catlin enjoyed a breakthrough season last year and the build-up, anticipation...and expectations...for the future are shining brighter than ever before.
#TwineTime has been a huge fan of the Schneider family since being a young curling fan living in Saskatchewan. Over the past few years, the fan base has extended over to young Catlin and Team Meachem. It is with great pleasure to say I had the chance to sit down and chat with him over the holiday season. We had a lot to talk about rock heads and stoners.
Please help me welcome the newest member of the #TwineTime family...and a fellow Sasky boy...Catlin Schneider!
TwineTime (TT): Thank you for taking some time over the holidays to talk with me. Let's jump right in. Let's start with talking about last season. You guys had your most successful year on tour. You reached the Saskatchewan final. You made your first grand slam at the Champions Cup, where we got to finally meet. How did you feel about last year and what were you able to take out of it, at least for your game, out of the successes from last season?
Catlin Schneider (CS): The funny thing is, that was kind of the first year I really got into curling again in men's. I was playing football so I wasn't really able to curl as much with school as well. To be honest, it was a little bit of an eye opener experience in knowing I still have it to curl with these guys. After taking some time off, not playing as much and not practicing as much, I wasn't doing a whole lot of curling. A lot of our successes were attributed to the fact we didn't have a lot of expectations. It was a complete new team, a mix of guys. I think that is why we played well. We didn't really think too much and just went out there and played. We didn't have things to think about from last year or unresolved issues. Don't get me wrong, we had issues at the beginning in figuring out communication and how each of us works and playing with one another. But out of the first three spiels we played in we won two of them. Shaun (Meachem) hasn't skipped a whole lot. He was playing second a lot and playing third so it was good to give him some experience. I remember there were a few times where he was a bit nervous throwing the brick and I was able to help him out so that was good. We were really looking forward to this year.
TT: Now, for you, you used to skip. You skipped back in your university days, skipping the University of Regina team. What was it like for you to go from skipped to vice last year?
CS: I don't know. I have kind of mixed my positions all around over the years. Back in the day I played with Matt Lang and (Braeden) Moskowy, playing third. I played second for my dad and then skipped my own team. It wasn't too big of a jump. What I really liked and what I was able to bring is I know what it is like to be a skip. I can bring that knowledge from a third's aspect. If you have never played that position and don't know what it is like to throw that last rock and read the ice conditions and understand how to make more shots, you need a good support crew. I try to bring that to the table as a third.
TT: Fast forwarding to this year. Brady (Scharback) has his own team this year. You guys brought in Adam Casey from P.E.I. I think you got a big steal, one not many people were even talking about in the off-season, in grabbing Casey. How did that come about? How did those conversations go and how did you convince him to come play out of Saskatchewan?
CS: Well, it's kind of funny how the curling world is an inter-connected group. When we heard Brady was leaving we were a bit upset because we thought we were going to go on a bit of a run and build on last year. It was tough to take. Basically we started throwing out feelers to people....facebook is a wonderful thing! We sent out facebook messages saying we were looking for a guy and seeing if anyone was available. Shaun got a hold of Adam and we heard his team was not making it next year and one thing led to another. We had a few options around here but nothing really panned out. It was a tough time because even we didn't know how much we would be able to do. I was still finishing my school. Now I have a full-time engineering job and I wasn't even sure how much time I was going to get off. It has worked out great but it's tough to grab a guy, preach you want him on your team but then not be able to tell him when you want to play and a schedule. Adam said he wasn't talking to any other team, wanted to join our team, said he would play second for us and we just took the leap of faith and said let's see what happens.
TT: That's a big win. He has been to the Brier before. He brings a wealth of experience to the team. Not many were talking about it. I follow you guys so I knew about it right away with the announcement but it was almost a hidden moment that has been great for your team.
CS: Yeah it's great to get a bit more experience. Neither Shaun and I have had a ton of experience. It was great to get another guy in there to offer his expertise, especially playing at the Brier and curling on the world curling tour lots against many of the top teams. It's great to add a guy like that.
TT: How's the line-up been going? I noticed Shaun is still skipping but throwing second. Adam is throwing fourth stones. Are you guys still playing with the line-up a bit?
CS: We originally started with the same positions with Adam playing second. Shaun struggled a bit at the start of the season and was in a bit of a rough patch. Him and Adam decided to switch it up just a bit and we won a decent amount of games in a row. It was almost a little switch up to just get people's brains functioning at a different pace. Now what we are doing is we found there is a bit of inconsistency with Shaun holding the broom and feeling the rocks coming down the ice and then he throws second and Adam holds the broom and then we switch again. I've always been a huge believer in the skip holding the broom and there have been very few teams who can do it successfully when your skip is not the guy holding the broom. It's huge for the skip to be able to see the rocks and watch how the ice is running and see the shots in order to make the big shot, which of course is the last one. In Minnesota (Curl Mesabi Classic in Duluth) we changed and Shaun is now sweeping full time and Adam is holding the broom. It seemed to work with the flow. Shaun brings such great experience at second, playing with a lot of big names in the past. He can control the front end and really aid the team. I think Adam and I work great together. It worked out great (in Duluth). We had a shot to beat (John) Shuster in the 8th but just rolled out too far and we lost in an extra. We could have been in the final so it's been a success and we are going to try that out for now. We hope to have our line-up fully set for Phoenix (Golden Wrench Classic). I think it is getting there. We want to make sure we nail it down and start preparing for provincials. It is the most important part of the year. We want to get as many points to nail down a pre-trials spot of course but we really want to go to the Brier.
TT: For sure. Are some of those natural growing pains anyway in grabbing a new teammate? This is natural progression of a team?
CS: Absolutely! In having a different lead last year (Aaron Shutra) with Dustin (Kidby) now. Last year we were all new with a new team. We had no expectations. I think Shaun felt a lot of pressure this year after the season we had last year, thinking we have to win. We are bringing a guy in from PEI, a lot of time and a lot money. It was a bit overwhelming. A lot of teams who don't do well early in the year seem to turn it on late and vice versa. Last year we did so well early and then in the middle of the year we didn't really qualify as much as we wanted, stuck in a phase where we weren't as sharp as we wanted. By the end in provincials we turned it on again, won like six straight games and were going hard. I am hoping this year is a bit like last year where our team can have a strong finish.
TT: Big fan of you guys of course.
CS: We appreciate that!
TT: Hopefully the upcoming events go well as you prepare for provincials. It will be an exciting time to watch. Now talking about you personally. You have raised a few of things I wanted to talk to you about already. You did go to the University of Regina. You did go through the engineering program. I have two cousins who went through it at the same time so I know how difficult and time consuming it can be. You also played football. You were curling. How the hell did you pull all that off? That is an intense schedule! *laughing*
CS: *laughing* Anyone who knows me understands how I work. I am always doing something. I never slow down. I think I just work well that way. If I don't have much to do, I swear my mind gets bored. I like being on the go, go, go! It's just how I was born and raised I think. I got lots on the go. I am a very motivated person to be as successful of a person in life, in general, as I can be. Right now I am working full time, 12 hour shifts, as a processing engineer. I am curling all of the place. I am in the middle of starting up a brewery in Regina. I have lots on the go and I enjoy it that way. I like being busy.
TT: Do you find being a USport (formally known as CIS) athlete helps transition you off into everything you are doing with starting a brewery, working full time, curling full time? The time management perspective from being in the engineering program has to be helping you.
CS: Absolutely. You certainly learn how to budget your time. We were practicing, film at 4 p.m. and wouldn't get off the field until around 9 p.m. by the time you stretch out, ice bath, shower, get home, have a little snack because you are hungry and it's 11 p.m. then you start doing some homework. Then you have to be up ready for school again at 8 a.m. It was a lot. Some guys are working small shifts to make some money. It helped me not just in budgeting my time but also team wise. Working with sports psychologists being on a football team. You have to be mentally strong. You have to learn how to work together, be a team. It's not like curling where there is only 4 guys communicating. There is 65 guys and everyone has to know their role. You may not talk to one guy all week because he is on special teams but you still have to know what he is doing and what is happening to be successful. It has really helped with curling and jumping into real life in general. I really enjoyed playing on a team with guys from different places all over the world.
TT: What would be your one piece of advice for up and coming curlers who are thinking of going the USport route? What would you tell them to help them out?
CS: Umm...I would say....hmmm that's a good question. There is quite a few things I would say. I would probably say play a few different positions as much as possible early in life. Some guys play the same position and don't really understand what it's like to play second or how different it is and what you need to bring to the team as a second. Or some guys only play lead and don't understand the back end. You need to understand how to play different roles. It enlightens you to the entire curling team and gives you a perspective on how it needs to work. People say it's about just go out there and make shots but that is just half the battle. You are with these guys all the time. You have to understand them personally, what motivates them, what they are like. I think I learned that also through football and through school. You have to understand how to motivate your teammates and motivate yourself to get a project done when you are so tired at night after football practice. If they are coming up through school, that time management thing and understanding deadlines is important. I think that would be advice to any young one's coming up.
TT: I think that is excellent advice.
CS: I would also say to play as many sports as you can. I like being an athlete and I played everything. Every little thing that I did through my sporting career helps, big time. Even in curling, anything I've done, even as a sweeping aspect. Whatever I have done in other sports has helped in being a more versatile athlete in the curling world.
TT: For sure! In speaking of playing other sports, you also played hockey is that correct?
CS: Not too much. Hockey was one of the times where I was curling so much in juniors I didn't have as much time to play hockey. Other sports I played was a lot of football, obviously, curling, tennis, badminton, a little bit of volleyball earlier in my career. I played a lot of soccer as a young kid. Basketball, we won a city championship when I was younger. I love sports in general. Baseball, golf. Golf I have played forever and have worked on and off for a golf course so I like to golf with the guys over the summer.
TT: Oh nice. So do you have a preference? You are all over the map on sports, contact vs. non-contact. Curling is non-contact. Football is heavy contact. What's the main difference? Which do you like better? *laughing*
CS: *laughing* Well now that I am done and understand how many hits I took to the head, probably non-contact. I probably lost a couple brain cells there, took a couple hits. I like to be fairly physical though so I like either one. Three years ago I would probably say contact because I enjoyed that part, the contact and physicality of it that you can't really use in many other sports. Now that I know how my body is responding to all those hits, I would say non-contact because you need to keep yourself healthy later in life. I have underlying injuries that I sustained in football that are hurting me in curling so I have to keep those in line. I would say non-contact now.
TT: You also mentioned finishing practice and being a little hungry. If I learned anything from my cousin coming home from practice or hearing my aunt complaining about the boys coming over after, you don't eat a little bit...you eat a lot...and often!! What was your go-to meal?
CS: When I was trying to stay healthy it was chicken breasts,
TT: Yup, chicken all the time...I figured. Same as my cousin. *laughing*
CS: *laughing* I know he probably cooks chicken breasts every day at least twice a day.
TT: Yup, every day, all day, all the time.
CS: He loves it. I eat that alot. I did a student exchange in the off-season in Hawaii and my goal was to put weight on. I was there for about five and a half months and put on 25lbs. I would eat pork chops and rice for breakfast, lunch and supper and worked out in between. *laughing*
TT: *laughing* Wow!
CS: That was probably my go-to. If I was going to be unhealthy I would go for a nice burger and fries. You just can't go wrong with that.
TT: Interesting that my next question was about your trip to Hawaii. See I did my homework on you my friend to prepare for this interview.
CS: Yeah apparently...that's awesome!
TT: You went to the University of Hawaii. What was that like? How was that experience? Being a guy who went to school in the US as well, I know what that world is like and how totally different it is compared to up here. How was your experience?
TT: I totally feel ya on that. I had the same experience in going to Oregon, joining a fraternity and just having an experience. Sitting and talking and meeting people. It's exactly what you were saying earlier with sports in trying different things out and different positions is the same with travelling and meeting people. You can get more out of that than sitting in a classroom sometimes.
CS: It is more interesting. You aren't being told what to learn, it's what you want to learn. You are interested. It has really opened myself up to like travelling. I went to South East Asia. We went to India for a wedding and that was a cool experience. I went to Thailand and Vietnam. I really enjoyed doing that, travelling around and exploring other cultures. I can bring that back and pick and choose how I can apply that to my life.
TT: Right on! The token for you is I guess it's not just a pretty face over there. You have the education. The travel experience. It's very cool.
CS: Yeah, I'd like to think I have made a few good decisions. I know there have been some bad one's as well *laughing*
TT: *laughing* No doubt. Now going back to the curling world, mixed doubles! You are taking it by storm, you and Nancy (Martin). How did that happen? What's the plan for the mixed doubles career?
CS: You know, mixed doubles have been nothing but great to me. I was supposed to play with my cousin Kim (Schneider), who made a good run with Amber Holland.
TT: A Canadian champion!
CS: Yeah, exactly. I was supposed to play with her. She brought it up to me. I had no idea what it was at the time. I was still playing college football and I think that is why she thought it would work out. I could kind of play mixed doubles in between football. We missed the deadline with Kim and then I started playing it a bit more. Kim was in school and had a final during mixed provincials. She wanted to play but also said she would hate to win and then not get to go to nationals with me. So I was like whatever, it's all good. I wasn't too worried about it. She went to her women's provincials and then I got a call from Nancy. She asked if I wanted to play mixed doubles. She convinced me and I love it. We literally walked into the Tartan Curling Club, shook each others hand, met for the first time right before we walked onto the ice for provincials. The whole weekend I was just learning how to play and she was teaching me. We ended up making the final, losing a tough one to Sherry Anderson. That was enough to get us into nationals. We played nationals and did well. We had a super tight game against Ryan Fry and Emma Miskew. We were one win away from possibly going to world's because a few teams couldn't go who made it further. We have just continued playing. Mixed doubles is such a different dynamic. It's like travelling. You sit down after the games, buy a few drinks and chat with different people. I really like that aspect of it. We played a few events this year. We played in Seattle and won the entire event. Nancy is great, I love her. She is just a beautiful person, inside and out. She takes care of me and keeps me in line *laughing* We get along well. We are ranked high right now. We have some funding from Curling Canada. We are making a bit of money from it. We are hoping to make the Olympic trials if we continue to do well. You never know what can happen once you get in there.
TT: Exactly. Mixed doubles seems to be like a normal relationship for most of us. At the end of the day, she is taking care of us? It's how most of us get through life sometimes. *laughing*
CS: *laughing* Exactly!
TT: We kind of count on them to take care of us and it works out well. *laughing*
CS: *laughing* Yeah, exactly. Our deal is she books the flight and the hotels and tells me where I need to be and what time I need to be there. And I do all the sweeping.
TT: *laughing* That seems to be a fair trade off. I'm assuming you are a big fan of it being added to the Olympics. I've talked to a few different players. How do you focus on your foursome, your men's team, but also now you have a very legit shot at making an Olympics run here? How do you balance this?
CS: Well it's not easy. You kind of have to not think the way you do in mixed doubles when you go play men's and vice versa. You have to change the way you think curling works and how to play. Both are just as important. I wouldn't say one is more important than the other. And I take them both just as seriously as the other. I think there is a bit of an underlying issue where they want some of these guys who are playing every weekend and in these slam events but then they are sacrificing time from their men's teams. It is hurting me playing men's because I am so tired after playing another event with mixed. I think it is important to be in the Olympics. It is huge for Europe, they take it seriously over there. I think it is great. It brings out more of the athletes to do well. It brings a new dynamic, especially in the new way we sweep in men's with one sweeper sometimes sweeping. With mixed, I am sweeping all the time. You get to see different people. Some of the girls teams you normally don't to see, you get to meet them and hang with them. It's pretty cool and it's important to be part of the Olympics. I think there just has to be some kind of common ground for when these spiels are played for some of these bigger teams to play in, if they want to, or open it up for some of these teams who aren't curling as much in men's and women's and start curling mixed and make it their dedicated sport. I am pretty pumped. People enjoy it. And it has really elevated the mixed doubles (being in the Olympics). Other than Canadian's, there isn't really that much for the sport. There isn't really a tour aspect. I don't think I would ever play with a girl I was in a relationship with, I don't think that would be the best idea *laughing* But it does open the door for people who are married. Rather than spend time separate or across the world with their teams, they can spend that time together and curl together.
TT: Yeah, for sure. It does seem to work for some players too. The McEwen's have been playing. Jones and Laing. It seems to work for their relationships as well.
CS: Absolutely. You have to be very positive. It would actually be a good relationship test *laughing*
TT: *laughing* If you survive it....
CS: *laughing* Yeah! I think councillors should be using it as a relationship tester, go play mixed doubles curling.
TT: Like you mentioned though too, it is helping to #growthesport. We are seeing teams from Hungry, Estonia, Spain...these non-traditional curling nations. The world championship for mixed doubles has around 32 nations competing now. The #growthesport mentality for mixed doubles is obviously working world-wide.
CS: Absolutely. In speaking with curling in general, the sport needs to grow with young people and getting those numbers up and I think mixed doubles is helping with that. We went to Toronto to play in a spiel before nationals and it was at the cricket club. We played one team from Brazil. It was super cool. You don't need to find four people of the same sex to curl either. You can play a few events all over during the year with just one partner and make it work. It does open doors.
TT: It is a great addition. Now speaking on #growthesport, let's say we give you the power to be in charge of the sport of curling, worldwide or nationally whichever you prefer, what one change would you make?
CS: Hmm to grow the sport?
TT: Wow. You might be one of the first to say that.
CS: I'm not really sure how to do it but I think the first rock of the end in the guard zone should not be moved at all. It is getting to the point where these teams are getting so good at it and practicing it, it is getting very hard to steal now. I'm not taking away from the fact that only some leads are super good at it and that's a big part of the team. Last year in the provincial final Dallan (Muyres, lead Team Laycock) made two perfect one's and you kind of just think that's game. You aren't going to miss a draw in a provincial final, or not often. I think what it does is it takes the game to a more exciting stand point where the shots needed to win are being made at the end and not by the leads at the start of the end. That's just how I feel about it. Like I said, not everyone makes the ticks but these top teams are making it all the time. It is very hard to steal. It could make the game more exciting. Just a little something I have thought about and I doubt many people would agree with me but that's what I would do if I was the commissioner. *laughing*
TT: *laughing* That's the fun part though. We don't just want everyone to agree all the time. That's boring. We want cool ideas. You do raise a good point though. Even if it's not the end of a game, the middle ends, the fifth or sixth, we are seeing a lot more blank ends played it feels like. I was at a few grand slams this year and I heard a few of the booo-bird calls coming from the stands seeing two or three ends in a row being blanked. Fans don't want to see that.
CS: Absolutely! No, they don't. The rocks and houses are so lively now. I played in the provincials with Brock Virtue, Chris Schille, Braeden Moskowy when D.J. Kidby was injured. I can't remember what it was but I think in our first three games we played 16 or 17 blank ends...in our first 3 games! It was something like that. It was boring to watch. Never mind watch, it was boring to play in. I like the five rock rule. I think it brings a change in strategy and that's good. But I think the tick shot could be interesting if it was switched.
TT: Excellent. I am excited to see what people will say about it.
CS: *laughing* Yeah, I'll probably take some heat for it but whatever.
TT: *laughing* That's more fun. All publicity is good publicity in the long run my friend.
CS: *laughing* Exactly, exactly!
TT: Speaking of your provincials. You mentioned playing with Brock. You reached the final last year. You played U-Sport. You played a grand slam. From all your experiences, what is the one shot that stands out the most? The one shot you are most proud of or brings back the most memories?
CS: In a certain game?
TT: Sure, yeah.
CS: Oh, hmmm. That's got me thinking. I remember we were playing a Sask Tour spiel at the Tartan Curling Club. We were playing the Marsh twins, now playing with Team Korte. I was skipping at the time. I think we were tied up with hammer. I don't know how my team managed this but I was absolutely screwed. There were six guards up and they had three buried on the four foot. I made a triple peel kind of run-in to squirt things around and then manufacture through a port to tick off one and sit for one. The other team was so mad. They didn't think it would be possible to score. I am good friends with them. The Marsh boys are great guys so it was kind of something fun to laugh about after as well.
TT: Nice! Circus shots are always fun...when you make them.
CS: Yeah exactly, when you make them.
TT: What about the opposite? Any shot you wish you could have back that you missed?
TT: It's crazy how a second end shot can be a game changer.
CS: Yeah. Just the way the ice is running, not a ton of scoring and usually the teams that were able to score early were the teams that were winning. They were able to control the dynamic of the game so that is one I would like to take back.
TT: Very fair and good call on a shot wanting to have back. Ok now let's do a little rapid fire and give the fans an opportunity to get to know you a little bit better. Do you have a nickname? I'm assuming with all the sports you play you must have some.
CS: Oh yeah, I have a bunch. Don't ask how or why but 'Litterbox'. It is such a long story. It happened when I was playing football. Or 'Kitty". I've been called 'Kitty' alot. It's embarrassing but whatever. *laughing*
TT: *laughing* Interesting nicknames you have! Do you have a sports idol or curling mentor?
CS: I have a couple, sports in general. I was always a huge Kobe Bryant fan. I'm a Michael Jordan fan as well but I was able to watch more of Kobe. And Tiger Woods. I loved watching them play.
TT: What about your curling rival?
CS: Hmm a curling rival? I am going to go ahead and say the people I played with and against in juniors. Braeden Moskowy. Josh Heidt. The Hartung brothers. I kind of played with and against them my whole junior career. Those are pretty big rivals for me I would say.
TT: That's a good answer. Makes sense too. We talked about your mixed doubles career. Now let's say you were putting together a mixed four's super team. Who would be on your team and would you put yourself on it?
CS: *laughing* Well of course I would!
TT: *laughing* Of course. Everyone says that usually.
CS: Ummm....a super team? Hmmm. I am going to keep it in the family. I am going to bring my dad in holding the broom and skipping, bring some of his knowledge from back in his Canadian championship days. I am going to bring my sister in, Lorraine, and throw her in lead. I would be second. And I would probably bring in Kim and bring her in as the last punch. I think we could keep the Schneider legacy alive. My dad went to the Brier with three of his brothers so maybe the family blood is the way to go.
TT: If you are curling with family does that mean you can have those little team fights and not take it so personal?
CS: Well we do that on a a daily basis. We are always in each other's grill so it wouldn't change a thing. *laughing*
TT: *laughing* It would just be normal life then.
CS: That's right!
TT: Now here is a big question I have been asking everyone. People seem to love it. Of the 7 dwarfs, which one would you relate most to and which would each of your teammates be?
TT: I can try. Sleepy, Doc, Happy, Dopey, Bashful, Grumpy, Sneezy.
CS: Hmm. My men's team?
TT: Yeah. Well you can add Nancy if you want...you have 7 to go through.
CS: *laughing* Ok I would say I'm Bashful. You can take that in whatever context you want.
TT: We will leave that open for people. *laughing*
CS: That or Sleepy. I never get enough sleep so when I do I am in a coma. I am going to say I'd make Dustin Happy because he has the funniest little giggle laugh you have ever seen. I'm going to go Shaun is Doc...he is the old guy on the team. I'm going to go with Adam as Grumpy. I'm sure he will really love that one. He always has an opinion of something in his own way so that will be funny.
TT: *laughing* Nice. Every team seems to have a Grumpy. A Sleepy.
CS: Absolutely. You need all of them!
TT: Who is the smelliest guy on tour?
CS: Hmmm...smelliest guy? Wow! I'm going to go ahead and say Chris Schille because he smells of fireball whiskey, no idea why?! *laughing*
TT: *laughing* Nice. In speaking of smelly things, you have experience a few lockerrooms. Which is the worst: curling, hockey, football?
CS: Ohh...definitely football or hockey. There are way more guys and I have seen some guys with some pretty gross gear they don't wash or some pretty dirty lockers.
TT: Considering the other sports you have played, the curling lockerroom has to be a much cleaner and relaxing environment.
CS: Definitely!! A lot different!
TT: Now I have been talking with my cousin, mentioned you and I would be sitting down to chat. He gave me many, many things to talk to you about...none of which I could actually print. *laughing*
CS: *laughing* Oh I hope so.
TT: But he did mention a bit of info in saying you and cheerleaders seem to get along really well.
CS: Oh my god! *laughing*
TT: I will save all the details he gave me. Obviously you already know them, it is your life. But which has the better cheerleaders: curling or football? You can interpret that however you like. *laughing*
CS: *laughing* I am going to say football because I have a lot better success.
TT: That's very fair. But hey maybe that's a #growthesport mentality you can personally help with, getting more cheerleaders for curling!
CS: Absolutely. 100%!!
TT: He did ask me to ask you about Underground Parking Police...and coming to your door?
CS: *laughing* Oh those Underground Parking Police are very dedicated to their job, let's just say. We had a few run-in's with them.
TT: Anything bad you had to deal with on your end?
CS: Oh no never. I would never do anything like that. I was probably just in the car with him.
TT: Knowing my cousin as I do, that would not surprise me at all. If you could have any sponsor in the world sponsor your team, who would it be?
CS: Hmmm, it would be....hmmmm....I'm going to say Molson Coors. We would get free pints on the road at games wherever we go. It would probably be more fun.
TT: *laughing* You would probably also be the most popular team on tour.
CS: *laughing* Everyone would like us a little more.
TT: That's a good way to buy some friends.
CS: That's right. Hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
TT: Exactly. My last interview was with Nik Edin and I asked him to do an #AskACurler question for you. His question was very specific. His question was, "What would you want to see out of yourself and your team to really break out, get to the next level and become a consistent slam team." He gave a great compliment in saying you guys are very close to taking that next step and had very positive things to say about you and your team.
CS: That is a great question. I would say the first thing we need to do is become a little more consistent in what we do, week in and week out on tour, with the details. We need to win the province and establish our team in competing at the Brier. I would also say we need to find a way with where we are all over Canada to take some time and practice together. We need to do that more often. We are flying all over the place to play but we aren't living beside one another to schedule those practices as a team. Other than that, I think we are slowly making the right steps to get there.
TT: For sure. Actually speaking about that, you raise a good point. How is the team building going?
CS: It's not ideal but it just has to happen on the road. For example, when we qualified in Medicine Hat out of the A, we had a day off so we just went out and played some tennis for three hours. Stuff like that, some team building. We don't see each other until the weekend and you can't really practice while you are playing. We kind of have to take it as much as we can get it.
TT: Yeah, for sure. And playing off that, the grand slams are great and you guys are in the next level of being close. What do you think of the grand slam structure? We are seeing many of the same teams week in and week out. What do you think of the structure, being a team close to being there but not quite there yet?
CS: I see both sides. Those teams are the best in the world. Even at the non-grand slam events on tour those are the teams that are winning. I think it is weighted a bit heavily towards them because whenever they curl in the grand slam they are getting so many points for being there where other events you have to basically go deep and win to get similar points to teams that are getting points just to qualify to be in a grand slam. Then again, I hear their side where you have to earn it. You can't just expect to jump in, win one or two spiel events and then expect to play in a grand slam. It is an earning thing. We lost a few points from last year because we don't have three of the four playing again this year. But I think another year, getting to play together and get to know one another a bit better and playing well as a team, I think we can get there. I think it is not out of reach. We know it is there. We can get there and play. And once you get there, it is kind of hard to play out of it. It could be a bit better make it so it's not as easy to stay there once you get there but those teams also do play enough to deserve to be there.
TT: For sure. Do you like the Tour Challenge idea? The Tier II?
CS: Yeah, I think that is great. I think it needs to happen more often. I think giving teams the chance to move up, earn more points and get the experience of playing in the slams is great.
TT: I should have asked this earlier but with Adam, is the plan to ride out the remainder of the Olympic cycle together? Taking it year by year?
CS: Our goal is to keep playing together and gain points for the Olympics. We are hoping to gain enough points this year to qualify for the pre-trials and go from there. The more we play the better we will get every weekend. It is definitely one of the main goals we set when we started together.
TT: Excellent! Well now we turn the tables and you get to do an #AskACurler question. My next interview will be with Korey Dropkin, who I believe you know and curled against in Minnesota.
CS: Yeah me and Korey are great friends. He is a great guy and I enjoy curling against him.
TT: Excellent! Well that is who I will be talking to next. Since you know him so well, what question would you like me to ask him on your behalf?
CS: I want to know...this will be good! I want to know if he could pick one girl on tour to take on a date, a nice candlelit, seafood dinner date, who would he take?
TT: Oh nice. That is a good question. Ok that's what I will ask him. So what would be your answer?
CS: *laughing* Oh you aren't allowed to do that.
TT: *laughing* Oh I can do whatever I want in this scenario my friend. I have full power here.
CS: Oh man! Hahaha Maybe another date with Jamie Sinclair....I'm sure she'll like that one!
TT: Oh nice. Hmmm perhaps another story there as well...but for another time of course. Well that is all I have for you. Thank you for taking time during the holidays to sit down and talk with me. Best of luck to you and the team for the remainder of the season as well. I am a huge fan of you guys for a couple years now and I am excited to see what you guys do next.
CS: Absolutely. I appreciate all the support you give our team.
TT: Well you and Brady actually gave me a special moment last year at the grand slam when you walked up to me and introduced yourselves to me and not the other way around. It was humbling.
CS: Hey, you have to support who supports you or else you will have no supporters!
TT: Good call. I appreciate the support in return. I am excited to see what happens with you guys the rest of the season.
CS: Absolutely, we appreciate it. We will give it all we got and we hope to see you around in the crowds too.
TT: Well I hope you guys qualify for Champions Cup again this year. It's in Calgary and I'll be there.
CS: Perfect! See you there then!
TT: Excellent. Thank you man.
CS: Take care buddy!
See? What did I tell you rock heads and stoners? Not just a pretty face right? Catlin Schneider and Team Meachem are a team to watch out for over the next few years. Of course stay tuned to #TwineTime for updates but, more importantly, toss a follow to Catlin and Team Meachem on twitter to stay up to date on all the excitement on both men's and mixed doubles Olympic trials progress.
Now for a little update on #TwineTime. The blog will be taking a short hiatus for a few weeks as I venture off to the land down under for a few weeks. I have groomsmen/emcee duties to do for a good buddy's wedding. In addition to a few personal bucket list items of my own of course, like attending the Australian Open and snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef.
Enjoy the balmy Canadian weather while I soak in the sun, sports, beaches, drinks....you get the picture....in Australia!