Okay, we're now only two players short of forming a pro football players' curling team.
In the past, we've documented the genuine love that San Francisco 49ers' star Vernon Davis has for the game - including a second stint as honourary captain of U.S. Curling for the Sochi Olympics. We know he's up for it.
Now we find that Montreal Alouettes' kicker Sean Whyte has an abiding love and respect for the game of curling. Why not? Attempting a field goal is like having the hammer. Scoring a single is just no good. Any curler or placekicker worth their salt will tell you that a three-spot is a beautiful thing.
Apparently, Whyte's even ready for some work at the 2014 Scotties Tournament Of Hearts, which it just so happens, will be played in Montreal.
Whyte, who was just named the CFL's Special Teams Player Of The Week based on a 6 field goals performance against the Edmonton Eskimos, tells the Canadian Curling Association's Allen Cameron that his devotion to curling is very real:
“I respect it, my parents still play it, and I always watch it when it’s on TV. I’ve always said that you have to play the game to respect the game, and a lot of these guys have never played and don’t understand how tough it can be and how skilled you really need to be.”
Whyte then explained how kicking field goals and throwing a rock have their similarities:
"When you’re in the hack, the more oomph you put on the throw, the more off you’re likely going to be. You have to be smooth and your technique has to be spot on." Just like kicking — you have to rely on your technique. That’s why when you watch guys like Kevin Martin make those big shots consistently, you’re just like, wow! Some of those shots they make are unbelievable, it just blows your mind."
Unlike Davis, who picked up the game relatively recently, Whyte's awareness of curling was cultivated by his surroundings. Raised in White Rock, British Columbia, his parents were avid participants. And Whyte actually became an assistant icemaker at the Peace Arch Curling Club. So, if Scotties officials are looking for another pebbler with some skill, they need only look to the roster of the Montreal Alouettes.
So, as mentioned, we're just two players away from forming a pro football curling team.
How about it, Ricky Ray? With your noted ability for softly dropping passes into receivers' outstretched hands, you might just be a natural for the touch shots and draws to the button.
I'm looking at you, Kory Sheets. You play in curling mad Saskatchewan. Don't tell me you aren't secretly pining to prove you can slip a tap-shot through a tight port the way you deftly negotiate the crease between would-be tacklers. If you have no idea what I just said there, ask a Roughriders fan. They'll fill you in on the curling jargon.
And you, Alex Hall. You hit quarterbacks often. And hard. Can you translate that fearsome energy? Got raise triple-takeout weight? Every team needs a clean-up artist. Get Jon Mead to tutor you.
On the other side of the ledger, if I'm looking to recruit players for a new football team comprised of pro curlers, I'd have to start with the workout-crazy Canadian mens' champions, the Brad Jacobs foursome from Northern Ontario. Blitzing linebackers. All of 'em. With the exception of Ryan Fry. With the velocity he gets coming out of the hack, I'm betting his leg strength is perfect for kicking. Might even be the Sean Whyte of curling. Bet he's never been called that.
Ben Hebert seems a guy who'd be good at bulldozing defensive linemen, so I'd have him and Mark Nichols help pave the way for running back Wayne Middaugh. That might seem a curious choice, but Middaugh once told me he only eats meat and potatoes. Good enough for me. Um, I'll have Niklas Edin standing by as back up.
Quarterback? Nolan Thiessen of Team Koe. I don't have any knowledge of him being a good pivot at all. But, watch him throw out the first pitch at a Blue Jays' game last April. Got a great arm. He'll fire bombs down field and I'll have speed merchants Eve Muirhead and Heather Smith-Dacey go up and get 'em.
My kick returner? Tiny Amy Nixon. It's tough to tackle small. I believe there's some Pinball Clemons/Gizmo Williams ability there.
Curling and football. It's a developing love story. I know there are more secret curlers in the CFL and NFL.
With Sean Whyte and Vernon Davis, we're half way home.