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Featured Curling Athlete: Brad Jacobs

Sault Ste. Marie’s Brad Jacobs has already managed to put together a solid curling resume as a skip at the relatively tender age of 26.

Northern Ontario skip Brad Jacobs at the 2011 Tim Hortons Brier (Photo Michael Burns)

Three Tim Hortons Brier Purple Hearts, and a fourth trip to the Brier as an alternate, speak volumes of his skills, as does his trip to the 2005 Canadian junior men’s championship, where he put together a solid 8-4 record.

But Jacobs’ biggest accomplishment these days has to be his silencing of the nay-sayers — those folks who make their annual claim that Northern Ontario doesn’t deserve to have its own team playing for the Canadian men’s championship.

When Jacobs made his Brier debut as a skip in 2007, he compiled a very respectable 5-6 round-robin performance in Hamilton despite his tender age of 21 at the time.

Three years later, though, Jacobs and his team from the Soo turned the curling world on its ear; they posted a terrific 9-2 record in the round-robin to qualify for the Page playoff one-two game — the first Northern Ontario squad to make the Brier playoffs since Rick Lang in 1993.

Jacobs and Co. lost two straight in the playoffs to take home a bronze medal, but it was still a performance that earned praise from peers and fans alike.

They proved it was no fluke last season, when, in a stacked Brier field that included the biggest names of the past decade, Jacobs skipped Northern Ontario to a 7-4 record, just barely missing the playoffs.

Jacobs has given back to the sport as well. In high school, he worked at the Soo Curlers Association club, helping manager Ian Fisher keep   things in order. He’s also volunteered as a coach at the club, working with youngsters learning the sport.

Birthplace: Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
Hometown: The Soo
Curling Club: Soo Curlers Association
Current Team: Team Jacobs
Position: Skip
Delivery: Right
Nickname(s): Cups, Spuc, T-Cups, Tee, Pappa TT, Mon, Mhun, Mun . . .The list goes on and on, all made up by (vice-skip) E.J. Harnden.

Quick Hits with Brad Jacobs

Do you have any superstitions?

“This is something myself, as well as our team, is trying to get out of. It’s pure nonsense if you ask me. Something we do is sit in the same seats on the way to and from the rink if we’re winning consecutive games in a row. Sometimes we’ll play a favourite song on the ride as well (techno or rap). I like to use the same broom from the broom bag until it breaks or needs the head replaced. That’s pretty much it, I’d say.”

Three people, living or not, whom you would invite to a dinner party.

“Charlie Sheen and two of his goddesses.”

If you could be a star any other sport, what would it be, and why?

“NFL quarterback. I just love the sport and love what quarterbacks do these days. The position is very demanding in so many ways, and a good quarterback can really bring his team a long way and be a leader, kind of like a good skip in curling (I’m still trying to figure out how to do this with our team).”

If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why?

“I’m not sure if the rule was changed after last season or not (it was modified, actually), but the timeout rule in playdowns was ridiculous.”

What music, if any, do you like to listen to before a game?

“Other then the music in the vehicle (techno or rap) I really don’t like to listen to anything. Our team does not like having a song in our heads during the game but we usually do anyway; I do, at least.”

Favourite:

— Website? “www.teambradjacobs.com, Team Jacobs on facebook, @TeamBradJacobs on Twitter.”

— Order from Tim Hortons? “Breakfast sandwich with ham on an English muffin; chocolate chip muffin and a large coffee with two cream.”

— Vacation destination? “Anywhere hot; have never been and need to go soon.”

— Junk food? “Chips and salsa, ice cream, fuzzy peaches.”

 Do you have any pet peeves?

“People who drive slow in the left lane. People who pass you on the highway and slow down (drives all of us bonkers because we drive to many ‘spiels). When Ryan, E.J. and Scott ask me stupid, pointless questions. Having to explain things over and over again to customers at my work.”

Person who had the most influence on your curling career? And why?

“Tom Coulterman; he taught me the basics in curling at a young age.  Eric Harnden (uncle); he was inspiring to Ryan, E.J. and myself. He really taught us strategy at a young age and helped build us into strong curlers. Ian Fisher; he taught me a lot about curling, the club, ice making and believing in myself. Al Harnden (uncle); he taught me how to be a skip, how to be a good teammate, believing in myself, never give up, how to curl with the men and that curling is just a game at the end of the day.”

First thing on your Bucket List?

“Take a nice vacation to a hot location, relax, have good drinks/food with friends.”

Favourite pastime between draws at cashspiels?

“My team knows I love to relax and nap. I try to get naps in when E.J. and Ryan don’t hop into my bed in their underwear before I enter the room. For some stupid reason (another pet peeve) they head straight for my bed all the time even though they have a separate room with their own beds; it’s ridiculous. They like to pick on me the most because I’m a good sport. But really, anything that involves relaxing between draws and shutting my mind off for a little while is what I like to do, but always leave myself enough time to get the blood pumping before the next game.”

Mixed doubles in the Olympics — thumbs up? Thumbs down? And why?

“Mixed curling really has zero appeal to me at this point in my life, and mixed doubles sounds even worse. If I tried to watch an end of that on TV, I’d be asleep halfway through the first end, sorry. Although, if given a chance to play mixed doubles in a Continental Cup one day I would be all for it.”

One thing most people don’t know about you?

“Get to know me really well and you’ll find out something about me most people don’t know about, that’s my answer.”

Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal:

“Extending my throwing arm with an open palm as the opposing team has just conceded the game. But in all seriousness, the same shot Kevin Martin had in Vancouver 2010 would be perfect — out-turn firm weight outside in, middle of the eight-foot.”