This week, John sits down with Joanne Courtney, two-time Scotties Tournament of Hearts participant who has medalled in both of her appearances, pulling down a silver in 2014 with Val Sweeting, and then a bronze in 2015 with her current team, skipped by Rachel Homan. Courtney made waves when she left Sweeting for Homan’s team, but the move has appeared to pay off as Homan’s rink has been on fire this season, winning three of four Grand Slams (losing the other in the final), and grabbing the first berth in the 2017 Olympic Trials by virtue of their Canada Cup win.
Welcome to Magical Question Fun Time, the new Curling Canada feature where comedian John Cullen sits down with your favourite curlers for interviews like you have never seen. Each interview will feature eight questions: five standard questions that will be asked to each curler, two questions specific to that curler, and one question that the curler interviewed before them asks.
1. What’s the nicest shot you’ve ever been a part of?
Joanne Courtney: Ooh, there’s been a few. The most recent one that comes to mind was Rachel’s draw in the extra end to win the Canada Cup . It’s always a great feeling to win the game by putting it on the button, and I’m always amazed when skips can do it so consistently.
John Cullen: Yeah, me too. That’s why I can’t skip. (laughs) There was another shot that game …
Courtney: Yeah, I thought about that too, I mean, I don’t even know what you call that. It was like a run-ricochet thing…I don’t know. But it was crazy, especially since they called it.
JC: Did you even think it was there? It seems that she and Emma did call that shot but hit it on the opposite side they wanted to.
Courtney: Honestly, I just sweep when I’m told. (laughs) You know where you need to be when you’re sweeping, you get an idea of how hard they’re throwing it, and you go from there.
2. Who could you take in a fight?
Courtney: Ugh, I hate this question. (laughs)
JC: Four interviews in and someone hates me already? (laughs)
Courtney: I mostly don’t like it because the answer is nobody. (laughs) I’m athletic, but I’m terrible at knowing distance in fights, my spatial awareness is terrible.
JC: This will officially be the only time anyone uses the phrase “spatial awareness” in my interviews.
Courtney: (laughs) It’s true. Okay, I saw Kaitlyn (Lawes) said that she would fight anyone, so I guess I’ll fight her. (laughs) She’ll win for sure, but maybe I’ll connect once or twice before I run away. I’m fast. (laughs)
3. If a deli named a sandwich after you, what would be on it?
Courtney: Well, my sandwich would be an ice cream sandwich, because I love dessert.
JC: YES! This is what I’m talking about! I’ve done something like 35 of these interviews going back to last year, and you’re the first person to say ice cream sandwich. That’s amazing. I love it so much.
Courtney: Thank you. Ice cream is the best, right? I would go with cookie dough ice cream in the middle, maybe some chocolate sauce, some caramel…
JC: Are the sauces hot?
Courtney: I think we’ll regulate the temperature so the sauces are warm but they won’t melt the ice cream.
JC: Badass. (laughs)
Courtney: It’s my sandwich, I can do anything, right? (laughs) And it needs to be a Cookies by George cookie.
JC: I don’t know if I’ve had one of those, but it sounds like a great sponsorship opportunity.
Courtney: I don’t think Pinty’s does dessert, so let’s do this. We’ll call their people. (laughs)
4. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
Courtney: To be honest, I haven’t had a job that I hated. I know that sounds bad, but I really haven’t.
JC: You’re a nurse. Surely you’ve done something terrible. (laughs)
Courtney: Well, I guess in school it’s a little tougher because you’ll do clinical placements and you work in every department. And you do it for free. So maybe that’s not great. (laughs) You’re being evaluated all the time. It’s a lot of cleaning, more cleaning than I would prefer…
JC: I’ll be honest, and this isn’t me blowing smoke, I think nurses are the greatest people in the world. I couldn’t do it.
Courtney: It’s truly just part of the job, and it doesn’t bother me at all. When people need your help, you give it to them. I really don’t think about it.
JC: You’re a saint. (laughs)
5. Alright, the elusive fifth question is changing again this episode. If you could get a letterman jacket with anything stitched on it that’s not curling-related, what would be on it?
Courtney: Oh jeez. This one is so hard! I guess I’ll go with the Scotties logo. Can I do that?
JC: That’s a curling tournament.
Courtney: But it’s my favorite 10 days of the year! I mean, anytime you get to play there, it’s just an amazing experience, and it’s something I really love. Come on!
JC: Fine. I’ll make an exception for you. But don’t you think that would be kinda braggy? Everyone already gets a necklace, now you’re gonna go get a leather jacket made and parade that around? Maybe that’ll be the reason you and Kaitlyn fight.
Courtney: (laughs) If she wants it, she can have it. It’ll be like a 90s cop drama where I get jumped for my jacket. (laughs) I’ll throw it down and just run away. And here, take my money too.
JC: (laughs) She didn’t even ask for your money!
Courtney: I don’t care, she can have it. (laughs)
6. Alright, now we are onto the Joanne Courtney-specific questions. Christmas just passed, and I saw Team Homan celebrated just beforehand with a trip to Cancun. I’m assuming you exchanged gifts. Did the team get you a GPS for Christmas?
Courtney: (laughs) Okay, so they probably told you that I get us lost all the time, but I’ll tell you something, I secretly think they enjoy getting lost and laughing at me. Because honestly, if you put all the time we’ve been lost together, it would add up to hours. And still, they keep putting me shotgun.
JC: What were some of the worst times?
Courtney: Hm. Well, once we were travelling to St. Catharines, Ont., and we went the wrong way for an hour. (laughs)
JC: That’s horrible. How does that even happen? It’s not like it’s a remote area. There are cities all around you that should indicate you’re going the wrong way.
Courtney: I just have terrible instincts. Even if I think I’m 100 per cent right, I’ll still be wrong. Once we were in St. John’s and we were looking for a Starbucks, and my iPhone told me it was in this spot in sort of the middle of nowhere. It didn’t look right, but I trusted it…turned out it was a senior citizens’ centre. (laughs)
JC: (laughs) Are you bad with walking too, or is this just in the car?
Courtney: Oh, I’m even worse walking! I try to take a buddy with me, like it’s elementary school or something. (laughs)
7. How weird was it to be filmed while you ate ?
Courtney: Oh gosh, it’s super weird. You start to become very, very aware of how you eat, how you hold your fork and stuff, it’s horrible. You start thinking, “Okay, Joanne, no one eats like this.” (laughs)
JC: I have to admit, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a commercial where people are eating and thought, “That’s accurate.”
Courtney: Well, a lot of people comment on how in the commercial, I take the entire chicken bite in my mouth. That’s maybe a bit too real. I guess I was eating pretty bad or something, (laughs) or too dainty, and so they couldn’t get a good take. They told me the cameras were off, and have you had the chicken bites? They’re so good. I just started shoving them in my mouth thinking they weren’t filming. Turns out they were. That’s on television now. Me shoving a hunk of chicken in my mouth. What can you do?
8. Alright, the last question comes in from Marc Kennedy. What would be your all-time, all-star mixed team?
Courtney: Okay, I think I would just go all broadcasters. I’d put Russ Howard at skip, Cheryl Bernard at third, then head over to Sportsnet and get Mike Harris at second and Joan McCusker at lead. And then I’d take Ben Hebert off the ice and put him in the booth. He’s hilarious.
JC: I like it, but I worry that Russ and Cheryl would butt heads.
Courtney: Really? I think they’d be a great combo. Cheryl is a great teammate, I think she would pick her spots and let Russ do Russ.
JC: Okay, I could see it. The only issue there, then, is that you have Mike Harris sweeping. That’s probably not gonna go well. Does he have a Hammer he can use?
Courtney: (laughs) That’s why I put him there! To watch him sweep. (laughs)
JC: Thanks Joanne! Amazing. And can I please have a question for my next interviewee?
Courtney: Okay. I’m really bad at this, it’s gonna be lame, I’m sorry. If you could change one rule in curling, what would it be?
JC: Come on, that’s a great question! I’ll be sure to get a guest that gives me a good answer. Thanks so much Joanne, best of luck the rest of the season!
Be sure to follow Joanne on Twitter @JoanneMCourtney, and as always, you can follow John @cullenthecurler.