Tales from the Brier Patch – The final sweep10/03/2014
BCLC is a community partner of the 2014 Tim Hortons Brier, in partnership with Gateway’s Lake City Casino Kamloops. The Brier is an event owned and operated by the Canadian Curling Association.
Fifteen BCLC employees are volunteering at the event on their own time, each contributing approximately 25 hours to be a part of this exciting event in Kamloops.
Our volunteers finished up the Brier with the smiles they started with, having traded pins, made new friends and gotten first-hand experience of what it means to ‘Hurry Hard”… when pulling a pint of course!
Volunteer Susan goes “behind the scenes”
Volunteering at the Brier has been a wonderful experience. We received awesome volunteer gear, admission to the draws and were treated to a fun volunteer appreciation dinner where we also had the opportunity to meet the teams.
But wait! There’s more! I didn’t know it existed until half way through my first volunteer shift. It was special place for volunteers to take a break. A place just for us called the “Volunteer Lounge”. Hidden behind the door was a large amount of Tim Hortons treats including donuts, muffin, cookies and coffee. Sugar and caffeine! The perfect pick me up to keep a sleepy volunteer going.
I really appreciate all of these things which have made volunteering such an enjoyable experience. I have very proudly worn my volunteer Brier gear all week and attended as many draws as possible. What a wonderful way to be introduced to the world of curling and I now totally understand the motto, “You gotta be there!”
Volunteer Curt has earned himself a rest!
By the last weekend of the Brier patrons in the patch were pumped. Manitoba and Quebec were facing each other for the bronze but Manitoba was dominating the game 7-1 and eventually won 9-5. BC and AB were set to face each other that afternoon. The vibe was electric and the Patch was packed like sardines. I was excited for a busy shift!
It was great that I got to work with fellow BCLC volunteer, Dave. We made a great team often sharing the ordered beverages to expedite the delivery to the customer. Now that's putting the player first! I also got the chance to work with bubbly volunteer Susan. Like my other BCLC cohorts we made a great team serving up the ice cold bevvies.
I am really enjoying the Bartending role! From the moment I served my first drink at 8:30pm to last call at 1am I didn't have a single break or gap in our bar lineup. It was steady serving drinks for nearly five hours straight. This was fun but tiring I have to admit! I stayed until 2am to cleanup even though I have another shift in less the 8 hours.
I'd have to say the craziest outfits were worn by the group of BC fans dressed to the nines in the BC flag, including pants, shirts and hats. Provincial pride was rampant with those fans! Judge outfits were worn by "The Sociables", a group of fans from Alberta. Interestingly enough they made two trips to Kamloops because they had to go back to work for a few days. Now those are devoted fans!
I traded pins a little differently by leaving a few out at a time atop my bar. This always generated a few smiles and immediately the question, "Can I have one of these?" The next question after I replied yes was, "How much?" When I told them they were free their faces lit up like it was Christmas morning. Pin traders were very appreciative to add the BCLC Brier pin to their collection.
After providing a pin to a well aged man he explained to me how he was going to personally deliver the pin to a good friend of his in Ontario. His friend is no longer able to travel due to medical conditions. It was inspiring to hear how devoted these pin traders are to their hobby.
I'm amazed at the hard work and long hours without breaks we all worked. This being my sixth and final shift it was great to see the teamwork and enthusiasm from everyone. I'm very grateful for the experience and would do it again in a heartbeat.
After nine days and many shifts at the Patch our volunteers all have tired smiles. The brier may be over but the friendships, memories and pin collections will live on. To summarize the tournament, a poem from one of our hardworking volunteers:
They travelled from far, across this great land.
To play for their province, with a steady hand.
A week here in Kamloops, for a game played on ice.
With rocks made of Granite, and brooms that look nice.
For curling's the focus, and the athletes inspire.
For them nothing compares, for a chance at the Brier.
It opens with style, piped in with tradition.
And the teams parade by, all intent on their mission.
Then the curling begins, with the round robin games.
All that sweeping and yelling, yes it sounds far from tame.
The fans they were treated, they cheered on each match.
When the games were all done, they would go to the Patch.
Entertained by performers, they would down a few beers.
This is where they were served, by some fine volunteers.
They would talk of past winners, like Gushue and Stoughton.
And that team from BC, that no one was a doubtin'.
They all had their favorites, keeping track of their wins.
They played 50/50, and loved trading pins.
We served some nice folks, some hard to understand.
Then I figured it out, they were from Newfoundland.
Then later that week, the excitement it peaked.
With a birth in the playoffs, it’s what all the teams seeked.
They battled on ice, with rocks, brooms and rings.
To the championship game, where they would crown the kings.
Get their names on the Tankard, their fans filled with glee.
And across Canada, people watched on TV.
A team from Alberta, they played with great skill.
Now off to the worlds, for another great thrill.
But now it has ended, the brooms put away.
The arenas returned, to the usual way.
For life it goes on, the event it has passed.
The memories of last week, a lifetime they will last.
Back to our fine office, with its usual light.
And in my simple world, we'll still curl Tuesday night.