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Superhero curling: Glenn Howard cultivates his lighter side

Glenn Howard in partial superhero garb. (Brent Laing twitter photo)

Glenn Howard and his all-star skins team cut a swath through the weekend's Dominion Skins Game to the tune of $51,500.00. While that story was unfolding on the temporary ice of Casino Rama's concert venue, Howard's little known alter-ego was unmasked.

World champion curler. Lawn care superhero. The first fact is well-documented. The second, well, who knew?

While the all-stars of the curling world were spending the weekend trying to earn as much of the $100,000.00 booty as possible, a photo (above) of Howard started to build a re-tweet following on twitter.

Posted by Brent Laing, who usually plays second for Howard but on this weekend was doing that for Kevin Koe, the photo was making the rounds.

What, possibly, could the explanation be?

“I think that’s an outfit that Judy (Howard's wife) bought him and those are his real abs by the way," laughed Craig Savill, another usual teammate of Howard's. "He always wears really loose shirts."

"It’s like lingerie for the old man. It’s a beauty," continued Savill. “Sometimes he wears just the boots.”

John Morris, spending the weekend playing vice for Howard, had a bit of a puzzled look on his face when first shown the photo. “Are those his real abs?! If so, I’ve gotta go on the ‘fit to curl with Glenn Howard’ diet!”

Turns out there's a reasonable explanation for Howard's display and it also offers a glimpse into a veteran curler who is allowing more of his playful side to come out for public consumption.

“That is the Weed Man superhero," said Howard, just after he'd dispatched with Kevin Martin's all-star team on Saturday night, pocketing $14,500.00 in the process (Howard then defeated Koe in Sunday's final, racking up another $37,000.00). "We did a little spoof on the Weed Man. He’s retiring. As it turns out, all these years I was the Weed Man superhero."

Howard in action at the 2013 Skins Game. (TSN)

Weed Man has been a loyal sponsor of the Howard Four, their logo regularly displayed on the team's uniforms at events throughout the season.

“I think I look pretty darn good there. Look at the six-pack," Howard chuckled.

It's been pretty well established within the curling community over the years that Glenn Howard has a pretty good sense of humour. It's just that it might not have been quite so obvious to the viewing public as it is now.

“Maybe that’s true," said Howard of the notion that his more showy side might be a little bit more on display this year.

If so, having nothing left to prove may be an ingredient in that change. Although he'd won The Brier in 2007, Howard had finished second four times, including 2008, 2010 and 2011. Last year, Howard roared through provincials, The Brier and The World Championship, as well as securing a berth in the Canadian Olympic Trials, which will be contested in Winnipeg later this year.

All kinds of pressure is off. Howard concurs.

“I’d have to agree with that. Now it’s a matter of just going and enjoying ourselves," he explained. "When we sort of took that attitude we really started to play well and that’s when we turned it up a notch in December, played well at the Continental Cup and now, at The Skins Game, we’re doing well here.”

There's the Weed Man photo and then there was Howard at last week's Continental Cup, mimicking a western gunslinger in the seconds after his shot clinched the Cup title for Team North America. That's just a little more flair than Howard has been known to demonstrate, generally.

"The little six shooter, honest to God, came out of nowhere. I think what happened is, Wayne (Middaugh) and I watched a movie that morning and there was a whole bunch of guns blazing. Must’ve been in my brain when I did it. I like to have fun.”

You could have a lot of fun racing around town in a superhero costume. But, alas, it looks like Howard was not able to keep the get-up.

“I don’t think they gave it to him," said Savill. "Judy really wants it, but....”

Perhaps with his share of the prize money, Howard can splurge on a knock-off.

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