This week, John sits down with Mary Fay, a decorated young curler if there ever was one, who at the age of 17 has a Canadian Junior championship, a Youth Olympics gold medal, and two other podium finishes at the Canada Winter Games and the Canadian Juniors to her name. This conversation took place before Fay led her rink to the gold medal at the World Juniors last week in Taarnby, Denmark.
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?
Mary Fay: That’s a tough call because there’s been a few special ones, but probably a recent one that sticks out was a runback against Switzerland in our Youth Olympic Games semifinal. We were up 2-1 playing the fourth end and I made what was a pretty simple runback, but it stuck behind some guards and put pressure on them, and we ended up stealing three. It was a big turning point and got us into the final, which was something we wanted all week. With all the playoffs being sudden-death games, it puts a lot of pressure on and it was nice to win it.
John Cullen: And for you, I think you were one of the only female skips in the competition. What was that like?
MF: Well it was nice having Sterling and Tyler sweeping, that’s for sure. (laughs) It was a bit different from the trend for sure. Only a couple of teams had the girls throwing last. But I like to throw last, and having to prove myself is something I’m pretty used to, having three brothers at home always pushing me.
2. Who could you take in a fight?
MF: I guess it would depend on the day, but my little brother for sure. He’s not as little as he used to be, but I think I could still take him.
JC: How old is he?
MF: He’s 15, so he has outgrown me a bit, but I think the combination of my fighting ability and the fact I could use some threats about my parents would help me seal the victory. [laughs]
JC: I guess that’s the nice part about being the only girl, you either win the fight and it’s fine, or you start to lose the fight and you yell for your parents’ help.
MF: [laughs] I’m not really one to tattle, but if I have to resort to a little blackmail to win the fight, I’ll do it. It’s either that or I’ll threaten to mess up his video games. That doesn’t physically hurt him but it seems to get him even more upset. [laughs]
3. If a deli named a sandwich after you, what would be on it?
MF: Probably just about every vegetable on the face of the planet. When I go into Pita Pit or Subway they probably think I’m nuts as I sit and list off every vegetable. Except olives, olives are disgusting.
JC: Are you a vegetarian?
MF: I’m not a vegetarian, no, and if I feel like I need some protein I might put some on there, but I’m not a huge meat-eater. When I was little and I found out that meat was animals, I just got sad. I’ve grown out of that stage a bit, but I avoid meat most of the time.
JC: And what about sauce?
MF: Oh, I don’t get sauce. It’s unhealthy.
JC: [laughs] You’re 17, what is wrong with you? Are you the greatest 17-year-old on the face of the planet? You go to Subway, get all veggies, and NO SAUCE?
MF: [laughs] Yeah, I guess I make my parents’ lives pretty easy. I like to play by the rules, but I think my brothers make up for me.
JC: They would have to. What should we call this sandwich?
MF: [pauses] I’m not sure.
JC: Can I offer a suggestion? I always feel that if a deli has a sandwich that’s named after someone, it should be like a bad pun. And since you like to play by the rules, we could call it…the Fay by the Rules.
MF: [laughs] That’s good, I like that.
4. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
MF: Well, I’ve only had summer jobs, and it’s mostly been at the golf course here in Chester. I started off as a dishwasher, which is pretty brutal, but I worked in a good place with good people, which makes up for it. And I have to be honest, it gets really busy in the summer and I think I’ve mastered dishwashing.
JC: You really are a parents’ dream. Very successful, smart, you eat all your veggies and you do the dishes after.
MF: Well, my parents call me a pro, but I’m only a professional dishwasher when it’s paid. [laughs]
JC: [laughs] That’s cold-blooded! So you charge your parents for the extra service?
MF: I’m just joking. I would feel way too guilty taking money from my parents. I pull my weight around the house and clean up after myself, but my brothers are on their own. [laughs]
5. What’s a stupid thing you incorrectly believed was true for a long time?
MF: That’s a tough one. Probably the lyrics to some song. I can never tell what they’re saying. I’m horrible at singing along. I’m trying to think of a specific example but it’s tough. Oh, actually, you know what? I think Taylor Swift is the most recent one I can think of. I was sure in “Blank Space” she was saying, “got a lot of Starbucks lovers”.
JC: Well, to be fair, everyone thought she was saying that and not, “long list of ex-lovers”.
MF: Maybe she takes all her dates to Starbucks?
JC: But she’s rich.
MF: Well, Starbucks is pretty expensive.
JC: And you know Taylor Swift orders like an $11 drink. There’s no chance she’s a dark roast, black type of person. Do you get self-conscious about not knowing the words, or are you a singing-while-driving-type person?
MF: Oh, I don’t care at all, I roll with it. I drive my little brother and his friends to school every morning, and there’s a carload of boys and I’m at the point where I definitely don’t care, I’m a huge car singer. Love belting it out. You can’t miss out on singing along to a great song.
6. Now we’re moving on to the Mary Fay-specific questions, and I have to say, when you won the Canadian Junior title, you had one of the best post-win quotes I’ve ever heard, as you celebrated with your teammates and then said, “Oh my God, I’m dropping out of school.” [laughs] Why were those the first words out of your mouth?
MF: This is going to sound weird, but honestly that was probably the first thing that came to mind. [laughs] I’m the world’s biggest…well, I won’t say nerd, but I’m that kid in school that works really hard and I’m a super perfectionist.
JC: I couldn’t tell. [laughs]
MF: I know, I know. School and curling is all I do, and I knew we were going to be heading to the Youth Olympics, so I was super excited but then I just thought “Oh my gosh, how am I going to do school now?”
JC: So you’re in grade 12, right? Are you dropping out of school? It must be tough in your grad year to miss so much time.
MF: I’m not dropping out, no, but I think I’m missing basically the next month of school. I’m going to find a way to get caught up. I’ve considered becoming a vampire so I never have to sleep again, but hopefully I’ll get caught up by finals. [laughs] I want to go to university next year because I’d like to get into medicine, and that’s a long enough road, I’d rather not graduate when I’m 50.
JC: Of course you want to get into medicine. You are insane, Mary Fay. Speaking of how talented you are…
MF: Oh jeez.
7. You are also a very accomplished piano player, and I’ve heard that you hate being asked about playing piano.
MF: I don’t hate it, it’s fine, I guess it’s just…I’m not as good at it as people seem to portray me as being.
JC: You’re a level 9 Conservatory player. Come on, Mary Fay. Your modesty is getting nowhere with me. But speaking of piano, I did find a pretty amazing video online. Care to comment on that? What’s the deal with this?
MF: [watches] Oh…oh my gosh. [laughs] I’m probably even younger than eight, I’m thinking, since I don’t even have glasses yet. Oh dear. [laughs]
JC: [laughs] Are you blushing right now? I feel like I can feel it over the phone.
MF: I can’t see my face, but probably it’s pretty bright, yeah. I blush a lot. As for the video, I think when I used to play piano my parents and grandparents would want to rewatch it, or just keep it for later on in life or whatever. I don’t know why it’s on YouTube, maybe they thought it would be cool or something? [laughs]
JC: Did you even know this video existed? This is going national.
MF: I knew it existed years ago, but had totally forgot about it to be honest. It’s okay that people are seeing it though, it’s pretty funny. I’m just glad they didn’t have a video camera when I first started, thank God. [laughs]
8. So this last question comes in from my previous interviewee, who also happens to be your World Junior teammate, Matt Dunstone. And he’s putting you on blast. I’m so sorry I have to ask this but, he asks, if you could marry one of the boys on the 2016 Canadian Junior Men’s team, who would it be and why?
MF: Oh my God. [laughs] That’s so mean. I have to pick one? I don’t want to make the other ones hate me.
JC: Do you think they would hate you?
MF: I might ruin their confidence. [laughs] I hate rejecting people, or making people feel bad. I can’t believe he asked that of all the questions he could’ve asked. [laughs]
JC: He did say that if you were interested, they could arrange a wedding for the last day of the World Juniors.
MF: [laughs] So it’s like Curling Bachelorette then? Okay, in that case, I’m in. [laughs] And I guess they’re bringing a fifth too, so I guess I have five options. If that’s the type of question Matt asks, I’m sure we’ll have a great time in Denmark.
JC: I’ll have to see about flying in to host it.
MF: Can I be really super honest though? I don’t think I can marry any of them.
JC: What! We can’t even play Curling Bachelorette?
MF: Well, I really don’t want any of my kids to be toe-tuckers. So they’ll either have to fix that or it’s a no-go.
JC: [laughs] Putting Manitoba on blast, I love it! Well, having interviewed both you and Matt, I’m sure you’ll all have a great time and be phenomenal representatives. And could I please have a question for my next interviewee?
MF: Sure. What is the funniest moment you’ve ever had with your team?
JC: I appreciate that question, as I’m sure the answer will be good. Hopefully we can print it! Thanks Mary, and best of luck at the World Juniors!