#BetweenTheSheets: Time For Thanks
Reflect and give thanks this Thanksgiving weekend
Fall is here. Leaves change colours. Nights get colder. Days get a bit darker.
People run out to buy as much pumpkin spice whatever's as possible.
But there is more to Fall than seasonal change and fun flavouring in coffee and food.
This is the time of year for us to truly take time and give thanks for the wonderfulness around us.
COVID-19 is still a thing. It is still here. It is still real. It is still frustrating.
This weekend is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada so lets leave the negativity behind, for at least one weekend, and show appreciation for all that we love and care for.
We "Give Thanks" for Thanksgiving.
Take some time over the upcoming days and make note of what you are truly thankful for.
Family. Friends. Job. Sport. Curling. Pets. Health.
Whatever it is, and as many as you can name, be thankful for what you have.
Let me give thanks to get the rock sliding:
🙏 To my family! Where would we be without supportive family in our lives?
🙏 To my brother! Nick gets his own special shout out because, why the hell wouldn't he?!
🙏 To my friends! Friends who keep us connected even in a world where we are not physically around one another.
🙏 To having a job to go to every day, not everyone has this and I do not take it for granted.
🙏 To have the opportunity to vote! I voted in our municipal election this week and, regardless of feelings towards candidates and parties and the cost of an election, I am always thankful I have the right to vote when so many others around our world do not.
🙏 To live in Canada! I am a proud Canadian. Are we perfect? No. Is any nation? No. But the rights and freedoms we have in Canada make me proud. I hope we can continue to evolve and adapt and grow for the better each day.
🙏 To my health! Yes I am double vaxxed and I am fortunate to never catch COVID as of today. But I am also thankful for being in general good health. Another thing we must never take for granted.
🙏 Sport! Just sport in general. Watching sports, attending games and meeting players/fans are always great for my mental health. Even when sitting under a gloomy dark cloud, sports have always helped re-focus my mind away from negativity.
🙏 #TwineTime! Ok, this may be obvious but I am thankful for this blog. It was started as a method to fix my mental health. It was started to re-focus my energy away from negativity and towards something positive. It has worked.
🙏 #TwineTime Supporters! I am thankful for each and every one of you who reads this blog and who supports this blog. TwineTime has been around for over 8 years and continues to grow. There was a time during the pandemic where I thought it was time to hang up the blog but, thankfully, through the conversations with some great supporters, including a few special #TwineTimeFam members, the blog continues. I only hope all of you enjoy it as much as I do.
🙏 #COVID19 Movie Marathon! Since being sent to work from home in March 2020, I have put forward an effort to watch a different movie every night. From horror to comedy to cartoons to drama and everything in between, the movie marathon gives me a way to decompress from work and the world around me for a few hours each night. I am quickly closing in on 600 movies watched 🎥
🙏 Ozzie! If you follow me on social media channels, you know Ozzie. It may seem small and insignificant, and perhaps a little ridiculous, but when you live alone and cannot see people for days/weeks/months on end, just having something to look at and smile to can be the difference between a good day and a bad day.
🙏 Plants! I am by no means amazing at being a plant parent but I do enjoy the four plants I have in my office. Watching them thrive, watering them when they need it and the aroma/oxygen they give off is a breath of fresh air. Do not take for granted the positive impact plants and gardens can have on your life.
🙏 Social Consciousness! I have talked about this OFTEN in this blog space. It is important. Representation matters. Having a social consciousness matters. Supporting Black Lives Matter. Supporting the LGBTQ2S+ community. Supporting Mental Health Matters and Sick Not Weak. Supporting Every Child Matters. Learning. Growing. Supporting human beings because they are human beings and we are human beings together. I will continue to do this. I will become a stronger ally, always learning. I will continue to call out actions which do not support others. Actions >>> Words.
What would be on your list? Create one. And then give thanks to those you list. Let others know they play an important role in your life.
Who knows, they may say the same to you.
Lets build one another up rather than tear one another apart. #GiveThanks for #Thanksgiving 🦃
Alright, we have some HUGE events hitting the ice this weekend. Bring on the previews and predictions.
Curlers Corner Autumn Gold Curling Classic
2020 Champion: Not Held (2019 Champion - Team Einarson)
Format: 32 team triple knockout with 8 qualifiers
Top Teams Entered: Team Einarson, Team Homan, Team J. Jones, Team Scheidegger, Team Fujisawa, Team Muirhead, Team Fleury, Team Brown, Team Walker, Team Silvernagle, Team Rocque, Team Peterson
Can you really pick a favourite when you are looking at this many top contenders?
Team Einarson is the two-time defending champion, having won the title in 2018 and 2019.
Team Homan is a two-time champ as well, winning the title in 2015 and 2017.
Jennifer Jones has found tremendous success on the Calgary Curling Club ice as well, taking home championship glory in 2007, 2009 and 2014.
Team Scheidegger won the title in 2016 and reached the final in 2019 without their skipper, playing with super spare Cheryl Bernard (who returns in 2021 to skip her own team btw).
Scotland's Eve Muirhead is another former champ in the field, winning the title in 2013.
LOTS of former champs in this field. #HERstory would show tabbing one of them as your fav and picking them to win the title is a wise choice.
We want a dark horse to cheer for, right?
How about Scotland's Team Aitken? Gina Aitken, throwing third stones, is joined by Rebecca Morrison (throwing fourth stones), Sophie Sinclair and Hailey Duff.
Eve Muirhead may grab all the attention out of Scotland and representing Great Britain but do not underestimate Team Aitken.
With Scotland failing to make the playoffs at the 2021 world championship, Team GB will be forced to contend at the upcoming Olympic Qualification Event in December.
This season Scottish Curling has been playing around with the lineups of their top female athletes. We have seen GB Red, GB Blue and GB White teams entered in tour events this season.
We have seen changing lineups. Players joining up with past rivals now teammates. Some players switching positions.
It is all a test system from Scottish Curling to try and find the "perfect" line up to represent GB at #OQE2021 and earn the "nation" a ticket to Beijing.
Morrison/Aitken are coming off a strong showing at the Womens Masters Basel last weekend, reaching the QF round before falling to Scottish rival Muirhead.
Could we see another round in the Morrison/Aitken vs. Muirhead rivaly in Calgary? Both are trying to make cases for selection to the team heading to Netherlands at the end of calendar year.
Pressure may be on Aitken but they have shown they are ready for it. A strong result this weekend may help their case even more.
This is without question one of the marquee tour events every season. 32 teams. Top teams from Canada but also from around the world, including Japan, Scotland, Korea, USA and Germany.
Some could argue this event is more entertaining, and harder to win, than a #GSOC event.
Just look at the names listed above under "Top Teams Entered" folks. There are 12 championship caliber teams listed right there.
Not to mention other main challengers like Team Sinclair, Team Jentsch, Team U. Gim and Team Christensen.
Or what about the other Canadian contenders like Team Anderson, Team Carey, Team Holland, Team Sturmay and Team Skrlik.
This is one of the most stacked competitive fields we will see on tour this season.
Many challengers. Many contenders. Only 8 qualifiers. One one champion.
And #TwineTime will be at Calgary Curling Club LIVE throughout the weekend bringing you updates, scores and who knows what else.
Qualifiers: Team J. Jones, Team Einarson, Team Muirhead, Team Homan, Team Scheidegger, Team Fleury, Team Walker, Team Fujisawa
Championship: Team Einarson def. Team Muirhead
Stu Sells Toronto Tankard
2020 Champion: Team Mann
Format: 16 team triple knockout with 8 qualifiers
Top Teams Entered: Team E. Kim, Team Zacharias, Team Duncan
If there was any question on whether Korea's Team E. Kim were back and ready to make a push towards another Olympic podium finish in 2022, put those questions to rest and move on.
This team seems to be on the fast track to greatness once again. They went 6-0 back in June to win the Korean Curling Championship. A win which, in turn, earned them a spot in the 2021 PACC, 2022 Women's Worlds and, most importantly, the Olympic Qualification Event.
This season they have won a tour event in Edmonton and reached the SF in Sherwood Park.
A fun team to watch. A great team to cheer for. A tough team to play against and defeat.
Anything short of a playoff run this weekend would be a set-back for this team.
Can Lauren Mann #DefendTheIce in Toronto?
Mann is coming off a tough loss at the Pre-Trials Direct-Entry event, coming up short in the hopes of earning a ticket to the Pre-Trials in Nova Scotia.
Time to shift focus and look towards defending a tour title and, perhaps, extracting some revenge on a few teams.
And, for the record, sorry Team Galusha. You no longer qualify for #TeamUpset consideration after the season you have put together thus far. Winning tour events and qualifying for the Pre-Trials in Ottawa a few weeks ago moves you from #TeamUpset challenger to tour event contender.
Watch out for Switzerland's Team Schori.
People may be focused on Team Tirinzoni as "Team Switzerland" but Irene Schori is ready to remind everyone she is a two-time world champion (with now-retired #TwineTimeFam member Binia Feltscher), a European champion and a two-time world mixed doubles champion.
Team Schori has put together some outstanding results as of late, including a finals appearance at The Challenger in Basel and a QF appearance at the Masters Basel. The team also competed alongside many top European men's teams at the Baden Masters to start their season, finishing with a 1-3 record.
Those results also earned Team Schori an invite to the #GSOC National event at the beginning of November in Chestermere, AB. I would not sleep on this team this weekend.
Of course also keep your eyes on the #PolarPower vortex coming at you from up North. Team Galusha has the hot hands this season. Will they still have energy to boot this weekend or will they have the dreaded post-event success hangover we often see in teams?
And speaking of those Pre-Trials, there are a few teams competing in Toronto looking for some positive momentum. Keep a close eye on Team Duncan, Team Inglis, Team Murphy, Team Zacharias and Team Harrison this weekend.
Qualifiers: Team E. Kim, Team Schori, Team Galusha, Team Duncan, Team Inglis, Team Zacharias, Team Mann, Team Harrison
Championship: Team E. Kim def. Team Schori
IG Wealth Management Western Showdown
Swift Current, SK
2020 Champion: New Event
Format: 24 team triple knockout with 8 qualifiers
Top Teams Entered: Team Dunstone, Team Jacobs, Team Koe, Team Bottcher
Tough to pick a fav here.
Do we go with the defending Canadian champ Team Bottcher? Or maybe Alberta rivals fresh off a tour win in Team Koe? Team Jacobs is the #1 ranked team in the world according to the World Curling Federation/CurlingZone rankings. Hard to bet against any of them.
Or do we go with local fav Team Dunstone, fresh off punching their ticket to the Olympic trials in Saskatoon from the Direct-Entry event in Ottawa a few weeks ago?
Frankly if any of these four teams took home the title this weekend in Speedy Creek it would not be too much of a surprise.
My head says Koe is the favourite. My heart goes with Dunstone.
Can one of the "underdog" teams in this field find a hot hand and take down the bigger names to claim the title?
We know regular #NextGen flag bearers Team Harty and Team Sturmay are always dangerous and have proven in the past opposition ranking and name means nothing when you step on the ice to face them. Both teams play fearless and have a belief in knocking off anyone they face.
Similar can be said for Team Tardi and Team Kleiter. These similar #NextGen teams are looking to make the move from junior champions to Brier champions as soon as possible. Many could argue Tardi is the favourite out of B.C. right now and Kleiter is one of the main challengers to Dunstone.
But there are some Sasky teams who could make a name for themselves on home ice here.
Kody Hartung, Ryan Deis, Michael Carss and Jason Jacobson have all proven they can make deep runs at Saskatchewan Curling Tour events. Can they finally take the slide down the sheet and knock off those higher ranked "elite" opposition?
Dunstone, Colton Flasch and Kleiter may generate more media talk but Hartung/Deis/Carss/Jacobson should not be underestimated here.
This is a very strong field for the debut event and will serve, for some, as a perfect tune-up for the upcoming Pre-Trials event in Nova Scotia at the end of the month.
Those Pre-Trials teams competing in Swift Current include: Team Flasch, Team Harty, Team Simmons, Team Sturmay and Team Tardi. Keep your eyes on how these teams perform. A positive result this weekend could be a difference maker a few weeks down the road.
On the flip, will teams who failed to advance to the Pre-Trials from the Pre-Trials Direct-Entry event be left with a sour taste in their mouth and looking for revenge this weekend? Team Meachem, Team Lyburn, Team Wiebe and Team Gauthier came up short in Ottawa. How will they rebound knowing their Olympic dreams are over?
And speaking of the Olympics, how about South Korea's Team S. Kim and Japan's Team Matsumura? Both will be in Swift Current competing as well looking to get ready for the Olympic Qualification Event in December.
The teams who make the playoffs and the team who emerges victorious this weekend will gain a lot of momentum either towards continuing their Olympic hopes or earning revenge on past slip ups.
Qualifiers: Team Jacobs, Team Bottcher, Team Dunstone, Team Koe, Team Harty, Team Matsumura, Team Tardi, Team Kleiter
Championship: Team Jacobs def. Team Koe
Stu Sells Toronto Tankard
2020 Champion: Team Epping
Format: 18 team triple knockout with 8 qualifiers
Top Teams Entered: Team Gushue, Team Epping, Team Howard, Team Gunnlaugson, Team Shuster, Team Dropkin
Ready for the first look? This weekend marks the return to the ice for Team Gushue, marking their event debut for the 2021/22 season.
Sure other teams have stepped on the ice, quite a few times actually, but can anyone ever bet against Brad Gushue?
It will be interesting to see how the team responds but we say this every year with Team Gushue. They always have a later start to their season and we wonder if there will be any ice rust on the sliders. Usually the answer is quickly revealed to be a resounding "No!".
While other top contenders were fighting for Olympic trials spots and tour wins, Team Gushue laid low in September. We did see a few members of the team hit the ice for mixed doubles events mind you so the boys are not arriving in Toronto completely void of competitive ice time.
Lets #FeedTheHorses this season folks! Quebec's Mike Fournier made an announcement this will be his final competitive season on tour. It will be sad to see one of the traditional "curlers" leave the game.
Fournier has been quite vocal through his blog on the balancing act some curlers still have between wanting to be competitive and elite in the sport but also having regular daily careers and responsibilities to take care of.
Everyone makes a decision that is best for them and there is no right answer or blueprint for success. The loss of Fournier on tour will still be a sad one. Can he and his boys from Quebec make one final run around the race track and pick up some big Ws (and pay cheques)?
He draws another challenger for #TeamUpset flag bearer Team Beuk in the opening game for both.
Also keep your eye on the newest member to the Curling Cares calendar club Greg Smith. We love seeing Smith leave the Rock a few times during the season to gain some experience against top competition. The NL champ will also be preparing to defend his provincial title against main rival Gushue at the beginning of 2022 in hopes of returning to the Brier.
The rebound life. How will Team Gunnlaugson and Team Howard respond to the disappointing finish at the Direct-Entry event a few weeks ago in Ottawa?
Sure both still have Olympic aspirations going through the Pre-Trials in a few weeks but the miss of earning the Olympic ticket through Ottawa has to sting a bit. Can either team, or both, rebound here and start gaining the positive momentum needed heading to Nova Scotia in a few weeks?
They are not the only ones looking for momentum before the Pre-Trials. Other Pre-Trials teams competing in Toronto are: Team Beuk, Team Ferris, Team Flemming and Team Fournier.
And always be weary of the USA contingent. We saw last weekend with two American teams reaching the finals in Winnipeg. Could we see similar here with Team Shuster and/or Team Dropkin come across the border and "steal" a title on Canadian ice?
Qualifiers: Team Epping, Team Gushue, Team Howard, Team Shuster, Team Gunnlaugson, Team Dropkin, Team Fournier, Team Beuk
Championship: Team Gushue def. Team Shuster
Swiss Cup Basel
2020 Champion: Not Held (2019 Champion - Team De Cruz)
Format: 24 team triple knockout with 8 qualifiers.
Top Teams Entered: Team Edin, Team Mouat, Team De Cruz, Team Schwaller, Team Walstad, Team Retornaz
The defending champs come in on a high and look ready to #DefendTheIce at home. With COVID wiping out the 2020 edition of this event, Switzerland's Team De Cruz will walk into Basel with the defending champs moniker attached to them.
Could they be any more confident?
Team De Cruz is coming off a crushing, if not surprising, 4-0 sweep of rivals Team Schwaller to capture the Swiss Olympic Curling Trials. The defending Olympic bronze medal winners will return to the Olympic ice next February looking to collect more hardware.
Were the games vs. Schwaller easy? Of course not. They never are. But was the 4-0 sweep surprising? Most definitely. Perhaps for both teams.
The question will be how De Cruz and company respond. Can they still get fired up for this event after the emotional high of winning an Olympic ticket? Or will they suffer an emotional hangover from the victory?
There are a few roadblocks on the path to championship glory for the notable top name contenders.
Eyes may be on #NextGen Team Ramsfjell from Norway. Are they ready to make the big push towards European curling elite status? A win this weekend would be a slide in the right direction.
Speaking of #NextGen, watch out for Scotland's Team Whyte. The blog has been talking up this team for a few years now and this could be the breakthrough. Whyte and the boys have already clinched spots in upcoming #GSOC events so this is a great chance to build more momentum.
Imagine being Bruce Mouat right now. Still young. Scotland's top contender. And already another young buck team is taking a charge to knock them off the throne. Amazing to see Scottish Curling have so many contenders right now.
And never count out Germany's Team Totzek. Sixten has world junior and world men's championship experience under his belt. The German boys will be looking to gain some momentum themselves this season, preparing for the upcoming Olympic Qualification Event in December.
As for a few home nation challengers to become #TeamUpset flag bearers? Keep your eyes on Team Stocker (formerly known as Team Hess) and Team Schnider. Both have produced upsets over higher ranked teams in the past and quite capable of going on a run and reaching the playoff bracket.
How will Russian Curling Federation (otherwise known as #TeamVoldemort) respond this season?
When we last saw Team Glukhov at the world championship inside the #IceBubble they were shocking the world with their 11-2 RR record and reaching the SF before falling in the bronze medal game to finish 4th overall.
They punched a ticket to the Olympics for RCF with the result but can they regain lightning in a bottle this season and keep last year's momentum going towards the Olympics in 2022?
On the flip side, what about Italy's Team Retornaz? Just missing out on the auto berth to the Olympics at the world championships, Retornaz has become a "oh so close" type of team when it comes to making the leap from challenger to contender.
They will head to the Netherlands in December for the #OQE2021 but will be looking for positive results between now and then to gain back confidence and momentum. They did recently win the Italian Curling Championship of course so they will arrive in Basel with positivity.
Qualifiers: Team Edin, Team Schwaller, Team De Cruz, Team Mouat, Team Whyte, Team Glukhov, Team Retornaz, Team Paterson
Championship: Team Edin def. Team Mouat
Ed. Note: Team Glukhov did not compete in Basel. The blog preview/predictions were written prior to this info and no edits will be made.
Also, do not forget the Pre-Olympic Qualification Event is still taking place in Turkey. The mixed doubles competition wraps up on Friday, handing out 3 tickets to the Olympic Qualification Event this December in the Netherlands.
The men's and women's team competition hits the ice starting Sunday.
For a full preview, with predictions, of the event in Erzurum, Turkey, check out the #TwineTime blog post HERE.
The blog will be at the Calgary Curling Club all weekend to provide updates and coverage of the Curlers Corner Autumn Gold Curling Classic.
Check out the twitter account @twinetime14 for all the curling content from Calgary, perhaps even a few surprises along the way.
And, most importantly, whether you are curling on the ice, watching curling off the ice, spending time with loved ones or just taking time to hit the reset button on your own positive mental health, this is a weekend of thanks in Canada.
Take the time to give thanks. We are in a world full of divisiveness, anger, hate and frustration. This is not the weekend for those actions.
Flip the script. Change your narrative. Surround yourself with positivity and thankfulness this weekend.
Happy Thanksgiving 🙏🦃