This week, John sits down with Krista McCarville, the most recent team to be named to the Roar of the Rings in Ottawa, and a very accomplished skip outside of that. As a three-time Northern Ontario Junior champion, a Canadian University champion and World University silver medallist, and a Scotties silver medallist to go along with six total appearances, Krista has just about done it all.
Welcome to Magical Question Fun Time, the 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. Aside from travel, what’s the coolest opportunity you’ve had as a result of curling?
KM: For me, it’s definitely the friendships that I’ve made. Your team basically becomes your second family. You’re with them all the time, and it’s really special.
JC: Was there a team that really felt the most like a second family to you? Someone that really stuck out as a best friend you made from curling?
KM: That’s tough, I think every team I’ve played on has been great. I’m super close with my current team, and I would say the team I went to the Scotties with in 2007 I was very close with as well. Choosing a “best friend” is a funny answer to give, but my answer is probably Lorraine Lang. She’s 25 years older than me, but we have a great friendship. She’s fun, great to hang out with, and has lots of amazing curling stories. That’s the beauty of curling, that you can become friends with people across generations.
JC: And now you’re the one who is making friends across generations with your current team.
KM: I’m the old lady for sure now, and I’m NOT happy about it. [laughs] The girls bug me all the time. I have a sore back and they’ll ask me if I need a cane, things like that. It’s the first team where I’ve been the oldest player. I was used to being the youngest among a group of older women, and now all of a sudden I’m a super old lady. Sorry, experienced. That’s what you learn to say when you get older. [laughs]
2. If there was an action figure made of you, what non-curling accessory would it come with?
KM: I feel like my answer is a bit boring for this, but in one hand I would have a coffee mug, and in the other, a glass of red wine. I’m a teacher and I have kids at home, so it’s definitely a balance. Coffee all day at work, red wine the second I get home. It’s my whole life right now. [laughs]
JC: Right when you get home? You don’t wait for the kids to go to bed?
KM: Sometimes I do, but some days the kids also understand that mommy needs a glass of wine right away. [laughs]
3. If you were forced to rob a bank, which two curlers—you can’t choose more than one teammate—would you choose to be on your squad, and what role would you play?
KM: The teammate I would choose would be Ashley (Sippala), because she loves her crime shows. That’s all she ever watches, I’m pretty sure the episode count would be in the thousands. So I am assuming she knows how to rob, she’s got that knowledge that comes with watching all those shows. And I think I would need a male curler involved, and I think I’ll keep it Northern Ontario and choose Brad Jacobs. He would intimidate the cops.
JC: [laughs] You think Brad is so intimidating even cops would be afraid of him?
KM: Oh, absolutely. He would just yell, “COME ON!” at the cops and they would run away. [laughs] And then I would be the getaway driver. I just want to be the least involved with the crime, so I feel like being the driver would be the best way to do that.
JC: Are you a risky driver? Do you feel prepared for this role?
KM: Now that we have kids I drive pretty safe, but I think I could do just fine as a getaway driver. They’d be in the bank committing all the crime while I just lay back in the car and waited for them to finish. [laughs]
JC: [laughs] I like your approach. Do you also want to be the driver so you could sort of implicate Ashley and Brad if you were caught?
KM: Oh, no. I would take some of the blame. I’m scared of Brad too. [laughs]
4. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
KM: My very first job was my worst job. I worked at Cotton Ginny when I was 16. [laughs] For the readers who may not know it, it’s not exactly the most trendy store, so it was pretty embarrassing because I had to wear their clothes to work.
JC: I can only imagine as a 16-year-old girl it would be terrifying to potentially be seen wearing clothes you hate.
KM: It was pretty bad. The clothes were all tapered and the job was in a mall, so you’re stuck trying to help people and you’re wearing horrible clothing. It was bad.
JC: Did your friends ever swing by the store to make fun of you for rocking the clothes?
KM: I don’t really remember that happening, but they definitely made fun of me for buying the clothes in the first place. They forced you to wear them while you worked, so I had to spend some of the money I made on these clothes I hated, which wasn’t ideal. They were 50 per cent off, but still. I don’t think I ever wore them outside of the store.
5. What’s a stupid thing you incorrectly believed was true for a long time?
KM: So I’ve read your interviews before, and this was just the one question where I couldn’t think of anything.
JC: You’re just so smart, you never believed anything incorrectly. [laughs]
KM: [laughs] No, that’s not it. I’ve had plenty of blonde moments in my life. Oh, you know what? Here’s one. I’ve always had a raspy voice, even going back to my younger years, and I remember being seven or eight years old and having a sore throat. I remember that I had just heard the expression “I have a frog in my throat”, so I told my parents that, and then my dad said, “You’re right! I can see the frog’s legs coming out of your mouth.” I legitimately ran to the mirror in fear to check that I didn’t actually have a frog in my throat. It was pretty quickly that I figured it out, but still. Not great.
JC: That’s true that I think anytime your parents tell you something at that age, it’s hard not to believe it.
KM: Exactly. And when you’re a kid I think you feel like anything is possible, so it didn’t seem too crazy that I might have a frog in my throat and mouth.
6. Okay, now for the Krista McCarville-specific questions. I interview a lot of people, and while I know most of the people I interview, I don’t always have inside info on them. But you’re one of the few people I do, so I’m very excited to be a part of this interview. Last year in the Tier II Slam, your team kidnapped my broom and used it for a game. What gives? Did Ashley watch a crime show before the game or what?
KM: [laughs] I can tell you right now, our team will never forget this. It’s an epic story so I’m glad we’re getting a chance to talk about it. So the three of us are from Thunder Bay and Kendra is from Sudbury, so typically when we fly to events, she brings her own broom. For whatever reason, she assumed we were bringing her one to the Slam, so we show up to the event and we only have three brooms, and we don’t have one for Kendra. And this is pre-game practice right before our first game of the event, so panic sets in.
JC: And then you decided to rob me.
KM: [laughs] Well, the men’s and ladies’ teams played separate draws, so Sarah (Potts) decides that it’s pretty likely the men will have some brooms available and lying around. And Sarah also doesn’t care what anyone else thinks, so she just ran right into the men’s locker room, and your team just happened to have the first Hardline broom bag she saw. The broom had to be Hardline since they’re our sponsors, so Sarah just opened it up, grabbed a broom, and it happened to be yours.
JC: Now, did Sarah know who I was? Did she think, “Oh, this guy is a comedian, he probably won’t care.” Because our teams didn’t really know each other at that point.
KM: No, she had no idea. We were trying to make it so that during the game no one would see your name on the broom in case word got back to you. [laughs] It ended up being great because then we got to know you guys, and we thought you were cool and had lots of fun jokes through the week with you and your team. Thankfully we won the game and then after, we took a picture with the broom, and then asked your forgiveness. Always better to ask forgiveness than permission, right? [laughs] It’s become a longstanding joke on our team that we’re broom thieves, and we’ll never forget it.
7. The only way I could think to follow that up is with one of the weirdest pieces of recon I’ve ever gotten on someone, and that’s that I was told to ask you about your thumbs. Yes, your thumbs. Why are they so weird?
KM: [laughs] Oh my God, well I know that was definitely Sarah or Rick (Lang) who told you about that. I don’t have weird thumbs, I have special thumbs. They are the best thumbs in the whole world. Maybe next time I see you, I’ll let you touch them. [laughs] I’ve never lost a thumb war, I’ll tell you that. They’re so special I was hoping my son or daughter would be born with them, but unfortunately they weren’t.
JC: So what’s so special about them? When did you realize you had “special thumbs”?
KM: Well, they are a little bit longer than the average thumb, and definitely a bit larger. I was probably in Grade three when I realized my thumbs were maybe a bit different than everyone else’s. My parents apparently knew before that, they said I sucked my thumbs a lot when I was a kid and they thought it might be from that. I found out later that it’s a genetic trait. My best friend’s aunt has them, and I used to curl with someone who actually had one “normal” thumb and one thumb like mine. So I guess somewhere down the line in my family had them, and I inherited them.
JC: Did you ever have any issues curling? Did your thumbs ever get stuck on the rock when you were trying to apply a turn? [laughs]
KM: Well sometimes my thumb does get caught and I crank my in-turn, so I had to adjust with extra special thumb practices to overpower the rocks. [laughs] I can’t believe you asked me about this.
8. It’s my job to bring the knowledge to the people. Last question is from John Morris, and I have to say, he let you off pretty easy. He asks who you most looked up to in curling growing up?
KM: Wow, that is easy. I was expecting something a lot tougher from Johnny Mo. My curling idol was Sandra Schmirler. I played in the 1998 junior nationals, and I remember she was there doing commentary even though she was sick at the time, and it meant a lot to me to see her there at an event I was at. Of course she won that huge game at the Olympic Trials and I remember wanting to be in that position, wanting to make big shots to win big games. I bought all of her books and thought she was just amazing. And now that I’m older, I still look up to what she did. She did it all with kids and a job, and I’m trying to do that now, so it means a lot for me to remember that’s possible and that my dreams can still come true.
JC: Fantastic. I think you’re probably not alone in having Sandra for a curling idol. Now, if I could have a question for my next interviewee, who will be fellow Road to the Roar winner Brendan Bottcher.
KM: Okay, ask Brendan how he got his nickname “The Bottcher Express”.
JC: I actually have no idea how he got that either, so that’s wonderful. I feel an inside joke being revealed here and I love it! Thanks Krista and best of luck at the Trials!