As many of you know or not, last year I wrote a curling story for Curling Canada Day. I didn’t win the big trip but I did win a For the Love of Curling red hoodie. This year, I went to the Points Bet Invitational 2022 in Fredericton and saw 32 teams including Gushue, Jones and Erinson and more. I wore my red hoodie hoping to get autographs on it. I arrived early, was told no autographs because they didn’t want to expose the players to the still lurking Covid virus. A variation of “Shoot” – was my expressive language when I approached the Curling Canada representative. He offered to keep an eye out for me and where was I sitting, if there was an opportunity for an autograph. At that point, I felt like the kid who didn’t get the pony/dog for Christmas or did get coal in my stocking because I was naughty (which I haven’t been since 1984). So, feeling cheated, I sat in an end seat , end row , above home ends where at least I could get a glance of the players during even ends. Into the fourth end, someone beside me murmured “I think that’s Johnny Mo.” I turned around. And yes, behind me stood, curling’s eye candy curler John Morris, aka Johnny Mo. I hesitated. Contemplated. Then shyly, I pulled out my four Sharpie pens from the pouch of my red hoodie. “Ah… Mr. Morris, would you mind signing your autograph on my For the Love of Curling hoodie?” Not a second of hesitation. “Why I’d love to.” I tried to be casual but my gut was churning as if I had just gotten Elvis’ autograph (yes, he’s not dead yet). Johnny Mo was charming, talked to us old timers as if we were best friends. Like all the curlers on and off ice, he was a class act. Eventually, several other elite curlers started to congregate behind me, a gathering of the Canadian Curling Clans so to speak. Ben Herbert, Kevin Koe, Amanda Kelly (N.B.), Brett Gallant. Each one signed and talked to the fans as if we were all of the same family – curling family that is. Up the arena stairs came the entire Erinson team. Kerri was elegant when she responded to my request for autographs. The whole team signed, we giggled together, talked about practicing signing autographs for the curling events as much as practicing curling. What a joyful group. Just confirmed my belief in the reason curling is really Canada’s National sport. No violence; for all ages; and yes, they pay the women’s teams the same $$$ as the men’s. Next morning, I had to pick up groceries at a Fredericton supermarket. And there was Team Lawes at the Superstore checkout. Not only was I not wearing my red hoodie but no Sharpie autograph pens. I turned to them and, again, said “Sh.t, I don’t have my autograph pens.” They politely grinned and I moved on. In the store entrance, I started to push my grocery cart like in the ad for Scotties tissues that aired several years ago at the Tournament of Hearts. I waited, hoping the Lawes team would be leaving and I could ask Kaitlyn to hold the broom while I tried a grocery cart shot. I chickened-out. Thought if I did make the shot, the team might ask me to sub for them. Dream on Kathy!
On Thursday, I arrived quite early to get a close-to-entrance parking space. The parking lot was a flood of water. I was soaking wet when I arrived in the arena. But like a mother bear protecting her cubs, the red hoodie stayed dry. I showed the Curling Canada rep my autographs for which he was happy for me. He did try to seek me out to help get autographs but said he couldn’t find me. That’s his story but probably knowing how crazy the woman with the red hoodie was, he didn’t search too hard. Unfortunately, I had to leave at 8:30pm after 5 ends were played. As a Maritimer I had to have Team Gushue’s autographs. I think if I didn’t get them, I’d lose my passport status to Newfoundland and Labrador. Watching Brad since 2006 on my living room TV, my brother and I have planned a trip to NFL so I could spend time in Brad’s living room! I felt down-hearted that I didn’t get Team Gushue and Reid Carruthers’s (as a coach) but a storm was brewing so a 2-hour drive back to Moncton necessitated a departure. But the Great Curling Autograph Gods were on my side. As I was leaving, a man, Robert, was showing other fans how he was collecting autographs for his three daughters, one of who wore an autographed jacket from Gushue. All I could think of was maybe, just maybe, he might get some more autographs on my red hoodie. I took it off and gave it to him. He was so accommodating. No pause. “Sure.” Left me his card. He would drop it off in Sackville or I could pick it up the next time I’m in Fredericton. I left the arena, picked up my friend and drove slowly home in a downpour. My friend said “Kathy, you might never see the Red Hoodie again. You don’t even know this man.” “I’ll see it – I know he loves curling and the curling community is honest and friendly.”
I’m at home now. Saturday afternoon, Gushue vs. Carruthers. While many lost power in the Maritimes and many of us watched the destruction, thinking of Team Gushue’s family and friends in NFL, many of us were switching between the news and the curling. In overtime, Carruthers won by a draw to the button over Gushue. Oh well, I was about to turn back to the news when? Do you believe in kismet? I do now. The TSN cameras were showing Brad Gushue signing Robert’s daughter’s curling sheet. But in Brad’s hands was a RED HOODIE. MINE. Brad grabbed it and took it to the nearby desk. He was signing MY RED HOODIE (left-handed) on National TSN TV. I tried to yell, phone brothers and the nation. Lost video? Nope. It’s on YOU TUBE – FINAL FOUR -2022 Points Bet Invitational Gushue vs. Carruthers – 2.27.29 on the red clock line. I’m not famous but the RED HOODIE is! It now hangs in a prominent spot in my living room. I had a photo of Brad in the hood but I kissed it and? Poor Brad. He turned into a frog. I’ll wait forever until I get a kiss from him and I’ll turn him back to ‘our’ Brad.