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Male Athlete of the Week: Jack Smart

This week’s male Athlete of the Week is Jack Smart of Calgary, Alberta.

Jack Smart (Photo: Ian Readey)

Birthdate: Oct. 30, 1964
Birthplace: Winnipeg
Hometown: Calgary
Curling Club: Ogden Legion Curling Club
Current Team: Team Smart
Position: Skip
Delivery: Right
Nickname: n/a

Getting to know Jack Smart

When it comes to the wheelchair sports scene in Southern Alberta, Jack Smart often finds himself front and centre.

In addition to winning four straight Alberta wheelchair curling championships, Smart has also represented Alberta at national competitions in wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis.

But curling has become his most recent passion, and he’s embraced it wholeheartedly. Since the discipline was introduced in Alberta in the past decade, Smart has rapidly built up his collection of provincial team jackets, and has come oh-so-close to winning a national title on two occasions.

In 2007, playing vice-skip for Bruno Yizek at the nationals in Ottawa, Smart lost in the gold-medal game to B.C.’s Darryl Neighbour.

Two years later, in the nationals in Lower Sackville, N.S., Smart — now skipping Team Alberta — fell 6-4 to eventual world and Paralympic champion Jim Armstrong of B.C.

In addition to being one of the country’s top wheelchair curlers, Smart is putting in the time to help build the sport. He volunteers and coaches with the growing Calgary Wheelchair Curling Association at the Ogden Legion club.

Quick Hits with Jack Smart

Do you have any superstitions?
“No, but I do try to stick to a routine prior to playing a game.”

Three people, living or not, whom you would invite to a dinner party.
“John Wayne, Roger Federer and Jesus Christ.”

If you could be a star any other sport, what would it be, and why?
“Grand slam tennis; I enjoy the game and marvel at the pace that the professionals hit and control court play.”

If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why?
“I would eliminate the mixed-gender rule (for wheelchair teams); having to field a team with mixed gender can drastically hinder the development of regional grassroots programs that want to take the next competitive level. I do not understand why it is part of the game.”

What music do you like to listen to before a game?
“I like classic rock and roll to get me pumped up prior to a game.”

Favourite:
— Website? “Wikipedia; you can get lost there for hours.”
— Order from Tim Hortons? “Tall decaf with cream and Timbits.”
— Vacation destination? “Australia and New Zealand for the scuba diving and hospitality.”
— Junk food? “Dark chocolate or something savoury, like spicy potato chips.”

Do you have any pet peeves?
“I’m not really one for gossip and gossip columns; occasionally my wife likes reading celebrity magazines, but I could really care less — give me a crossword puzzle or sudoku.”

Three things you always travel with?
“BlackBerry (so I can phone, email and listen to mp3s), Swiss Army knife, chocolate.”

First thing on your Bucket List?
“Scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef and skydive with my kids.”

Favourite pastime between draws at cashspiels?
“Listening to music, reading the newspaper.”

What is the biggest misconception about curlers?
“That curling is boring to watch on TV. Until you experience the complexity in the game with respect to angles, weight control, and strategy, you can’t really appreciate the level of curling we have in Canada.”

Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal:
“Hit and roll to the pin.”