That’s Jeff Isaacson, who was the second on the U.S. Olympic curling team. As you can see, he was overcome by the holiday spirit last night. And yes, he was drinking green Stella (which, trust me, was a lot more green than the photos would suggest).
Jeff was one of several world-class curlers who convened last night in advance of the House of Hearts bonspiel. Others included Jason Smith (U.S. Olympian) and Katja Kiiskinen (Finnish national champion), Hammy MacMillan (former world champion), and, seated from left to right, John Shuster (U.S. Olympic skip), Joelle Sabourin (Quebec provincial champion), and Cathy Derick (Quebec provincial champion). Swell people, one and all.
Earlier in the day, newly crowned U.S. national champion Tyler George helped whip me into shape (sorry, that’s the closest we came to a non-blurry photo of my, uh, technique). The sweater I’m wearing there is not an official curling sweater — just an old cardigan from my vintage collection. But I’ll have a jen-yoo-wine curling sweater when the bonspiel begins on Friday.
Assuming I don’t have alcohol poisoning by then, that is. To hear Tyler tell it, the House of Hearts is basically one long frat party punctuated by occasional spurts of curling. I figured he was exaggerating, but everyone he’s introduced me to out here — and I mean everyone — has had the same reaction upon hearing that I’ll be participating in the HoH: a sort of half-envious, half-pitying smirk, followed by, “You do realize what you’re getting into, don’t you?” After hearing this for the fifth or sixth time, I said, “What, I’m gonna be doing Jell-o shots off the Swedish curler’s belly?” The response: “No, but you’ll definitely be doing them from the barmaid’s cleavage.”
Tyler and I also spent part of the day watching some league curlers, so I could get a feel for anticipating and analyzing shots in various game situations. At one point I took out my camcorder and asked him a few questions about the HoH. Here’s the very dynamic video clip that resulted:
Anyway: New ESPN column
today. Link coming soon. tomorrow, as it turns out.
Meanwhile, here’s Phil with today’s Ticker:
Uni Watch News Ticker: “Not sure of this has been sent your way before or not,” notes UW uni historian Tim Brulia, “but Historical Football Kits from the UK posted a link to the history of the Brazilian National Soccer Kits. It is very nicely done.” … “First Time Long Time” contributer Michael Hart says this new Michigan practice jersey with the adidas 3-stripes is “terrible.” … Jason Hillyer found this nugget in the Colmubus Dispatch showing that Victoria’s Secret is rolling out lines of shirts, sweats and other apparel in a co-branding deal with Major League Baseball. … Pretty neat thing that Clark Ruhland has done: he designed the pocket schedule cards for Virginia Tech football this season and posted the designs on his website. Says Clark, “I don’t work for Tech (yet), but I graduated from there in ’07 and got an opportunity to design them. My only requirement from the athletic department was that each card had to have a different uniform that Tech wore in 2009.” … Jonas Miller’s new mask: Home-and-away concept, “Beginning stages,” notes John Muir. “Notice that the ear holes are not the normal triangles/holes, but duck feet. Here are some comparisons.” … Wayne Koehler notes that the University of Massachusetts-Lowell was wearing nice double striped high stirrups in a game vs. Florida Southern College on March 13th. #14 appeared to be the only one showing both red stripes, however. Wayne noticed the strange numerals as well. … Thomas Langan found this fantastic set of 1969/70 Topps Basketball Rulers on eBay … Good spot by Jameson Costello who noticed something you don’t see much, if ever, anymore: One batting glove! … Last season, you may recall, the Boston Red Sox wore white jerseys with green lettering to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — this year, they went back to full-blown green jerseys and caps. … But the Sawks weren’t alone in the sporting o’the green yesterday, as they were joined by the A’s, Pads, Royals, Dodgers, Bravos, Phillies, and the Mets (note the grapefruit on the side of the cap), as well as the Mariners, in a late starting game. Looks like the caps were adjustable, not fitteds. A photo gallery is here … Tyler Hull checks in with some netminder news: due to damages Brian Elliot of the Ottawa Senators had to wear 3 different masks against the Toronto Maple Leafs the other day. Interesting how the second two were not only blank, but different colors. … Soccer affectionado Steven Wong notes this seems to be the new Arsenal home kit for the 2010-2011 season to celebrate 125th Anniversary kit. Steven’s verdict? “It’s a beaut!!” … Bob Nolte has a question about Siena’s practice jerseys. “Never seen practice jerseys like Siena’s (pics 7-12). Look more like the dazzle fabric than the normal mesh reversible practice jerseys. I’ve also been following them for a long time and dont think its an old game jersey. Any thoughts?” … Our resident Life documentarian Lance “Squiddie” Smith writes, “This is a photo of Oklahoma coach Bud Wilkinson (right) working out a football play using little football figures in 1954.” Great shot. … Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: The St. Louis Cardinals are declaring this season diversity “a cause for celebration at Busch Stadium.” They’re having 6 different “Heritage Days/Nights,” celebrating African-American, Italian, Asian and Irish Heritage Days, and Hispanic and German Nights. Interesting “colors” for the Hispanic Heritage Night, as it looks like they’ve multipurposed the flags of several different nations into their graphic. … Stephen Brookman grabbed two shots of Jim Burt (with the Niners) and has a question for the board: “Do you have any idea why Jim Burt of the 49ers did not have TV numbers or stripes on his jersey during the 1990 NFC Championship game?” Anyone? … Late last evening, as noted, above the Mariners wore green caps for St. Patty’s day. Reader Mitch Goodman was johnny-on-the-spot with a screen grab: “As I’m sure you’re aware of, the Seattle Mariners wore green caps on Wednesday night for St. Patrick’s Day, but what was interesting was the hats were not fitted, but adjustable. Can’t remember ever seeing adjustable caps in a major league game, even spring training.” … Michael Kramer informs us that Liverpool’s new kits have been leaked. … And, of course, the New Jersey Devils turned on the way back machine by returning to their original green and red colorscheme…with the wonderful new Edge cut. Huge Gallery of pics here … Douggie Keklak noticed these excellent photos, “not as cool as that snowy baseball photo Paul ran recently, but I thought these shots of Johnstown High getting ready for the season were pretty cool.” Chad Cate just found something that will help us
waste the entire day enrich our knowledge base: “Popular Science recently worked with Google to index all of their magazines. I came across this article about a helmet with built in glasses worn by Frank Jablonski of Penn.” Wow! … Michael Hardman reports that UGA QB Aaron Murray is experimenting with a glove on his throwing hand. ”¦ Color-on-color alert. That’s Tulsa and Kent State yesterday in the NIT (as noted by Jody Michael).
Thank you, friend: RIP, LX. You’ll be sorely missed. — Paul