This week, John sits down with the newly-minted Laura Walker (formerly Crocker), a Canadian Junior Champion, World silver and bronze medallist in Juniors and Mixed Doubles, respectively, and the first-ever winner of the Curling World Cup in Mixed Doubles, with her partner Kirk Muyres. Laura’s set to debut a brand-new squad this season, featuring a team of seasoned vets in Cathy Overton-Clapham, Lori Olson-Johns, and Laine Peters, as well as adding events to her Mixed Doubles calendar.
Welcome to Magical Question Fun Time, the Curling Canada feature in which 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 for each curler, two questions specific to the featured curler, and one question provided by the previous curler interviewed.
1. What’s the nicest shot you’ve ever been a part of?
Laura Walker: I have to say that there’s been quite a few, but I think because of the situation, I have to choose a shot from when I played juniors with Rachel Homan. I was the second, and we were playing the Canadian Junior final. It was a tight game, I think the sixth end (Editor’s note: it was), and we were without hammer. Rachel could have thrown a guard and it would’ve been a really easy force, but she decided she wanted to play a runback to lie three.
John Cullen: And usually once Rachel decides something…
LW: She’s doing it. Exactly. It was funny because I remember we call a timeout, and out comes Earle Morris, an absolute legend of a coach, and the first thing he says is, “throw the guard”. Rachel wasn’t having any of that. She’s one of those players, once she gets that utter determination in her eyes, you just know she’s going to make it. It’s what makes her so good. I would have never told Earle I wasn’t gonna do something. [laughs] Needless to say, she made it, we stole three, and that was a huge reason why we won.
2. If there was an action figure made of you, what non-curling accessory would it come with?
LW: I would come with two: a cat under one arm, and a coffee cup in the other hand. Right now with our schedule, Geoff (Walker, lead for Brad Gushue and Laura’s husband) and I can’t have a cat, so we foster them. When we’re home for two weeks at a time, we’ll foster cats, but it’s just so impossible not to have one.
JC: I know some people who foster cats, and they all say it’s impossible not to keep them.
LW: That’s what happened with our last cat who passed away about a year ago. She had no home, and we just fell in love with her. We tried to get her to stay with Geoff’s sister on her farm, but she just wasn’t an outdoor cat and so we kept her. She was so sweet.
JC: And are you a weird coffee person?
LW: Nah, just a straight coffee person. Just give me a cup of whatever you have. Maybe the odd latté, but I’m not going too crazy. And extra hot. Nothing worse than a cup of coffee that cools down too fast.
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?
LW: Well I definitely wouldn’t pick any of my teammates. [laughs] Laine would be way too scared, the other two just wouldn’t be great either. I’m actually gonna take two teammates, just not of mine. I’m going with Ben Hebert and Colton Flasch.
JC: A fearsome duo, to be sure.
LW: Well that’s the thing. They’re both huge and scary but secretly really good guys. I know they would save me if I got in trouble. [laughs]
JC: I like that you say it’s secret that they’re good guys, like most people don’t really think they are. [laughs]
LW: Well, maybe secret was the wrong word, but I think people just think they’re big guys, they’re good at sweeping, maybe they’re a bit scary. And Colton’s really quiet, but he’s a great guy. Maybe not the best dancer, though. [laughs] In China after the World Cup was over, we were dancing and he dropped me. I fell on top of a broom bag. [laughs] We need some work.
4. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
LW: Well, I was reading Kaitlyn Jones’ interview from last season, and I was also a hostess at Boston Pizza, and can confirm we got the short end of the stick. I remember one time I spent an entire shift cleaning crayon off of high chairs.
JC: A whole shift? It doesn’t seem that hard.
LW: Well, I’ll come to your house with some crayons, colour on your stuff, and then we’ll see how you do. [laughs] The thing is, though, I just generally won’t do things I don’t like. So if I ever had a really bad job—Boston Pizza wasn’t that bad—I would just quit and do something else. Or try and find a different position in the company.
JC: Have you quit something because of that?
LW: Not really, but I did work for some fitness centres when I first moved to Edmonton, and realized the centres weren’t as busy in the morning. So I got switched to mornings so I could spend more time looking at Pinterest, you know…doing things I like. [laughs]
5. What’s a stupid thing you incorrectly believed was true for a long time?
LW: So this is really funny because I knew you’d be asking this, and my first thought was, “I’m not gullible, so there’s no answer to this question.” Then I texted my parents.
JC: The parents always bring the goods.
LW: This is crazy. I actually believed this thing was true until this morning when I called my parents. So uhh…until I was 27, I believed my hamster lived for four years and was the same hamster. It turns out my pet hamster when I was kid died, and my parents replaced it without telling me.
JC: [laughs] Wait, what?
LW: Apparently the hamster died while I was at school, and my parents knew I would be devastated. So they went out and got me a new hamster before I got home. But here’s the thing: the new hamster was A DIFFERENT COLOUR. And I believed it. Until now. I’m 27. [laughs]
JC: [laughs] Oh my God. This is unbelievable. How did they convince you it was the same hamster?
LW: They told me that hamsters change colour when they grow up, and so they told me that he just finally changed his colour that day, because he was an adult now. I still can’t believe I’m saying this right now, and I never figured it out once I grew up.
JC: But hamsters just live for like, two years on average. Did you never think like, “wow, I’ve got a super hamster here”?
LW: That’s just it, I would BRAG to my friends about it. “Oh, your hamster died? Well, MY hamster has been alive for four years!” [laughs] Oh man.
6. Now we’re on to the Laura Walker-specific questions, and I think this one is pretty obvious and one that’s on everyone’s mind. You got married this summer. Why not take Geoff’s name but keep your own, and become Laura Crocker-Walker?
LW: Well I feel like you saying that out loud, you just answered your own question. It sounds terrible.
JC: What if I told you that I think you’re wrong, and it sounds amazing?
LW: Well you’re not the person who has to live with it. It’s easy for you to say. I will say that my phone bill says it right now, and so does my Twitter handle. I did think that before I met Geoff, I would probably want to keep my name somehow, but with his last name being Walker, it just wasn’t possible.
JC: What if he did the 21st Century thing and also changed his last name, so you’d be Laura Crocker-Walker and he’d be Geoff Walker-Crocker?
LW: If Geoff did that, I would do it. But he wouldn’t. He’s from Beaverlodge, Alberta. He’d never be able to go back there if he took my name. [laughs]
7. This one is a bit of a weird one. I know one of your closest friends is Dana Ferguson (from Chelsea Carey’s team), and last year, you surprised her with a trip to Las Vegas for her 30th birthday. Now, I’ve heard there’s a bit of a Hangover-esque story where you were lost to the group for a few hours?
LW: [laughs] Oh no. I can’t tell this story on the Internet.
JC: [laughs] Oh, come on. My readers will love it.
LW: Whew. Ok. So we went out one night in Vegas, and coming back, we decided to get some food before bed, so we went to a restaurant. I had to go to the bathroom, so I got in there, and I don’t know exactly what happened, but there was a couch in there. You know how some fancy restaurants will have a couch in the bathroom? Well yeah. I fell asleep on it.
JC: [laughs] In the bathroom?
LW: Yes. In the bathroom. I’m still not sure to this day what made me decide to get on it. I woke up some time later and I guess the girls just assumed I went back to the hotel room, so they left. When I got out of the bathroom, they were gone, the restaurant was closed except for a few employees cleaning up, and my purse was gone. The girls had taken it with them. So I had to go to the hotel, beg the front desk to let me up to my room—I think they had to call Dana to confirm I wasn’t, like, a homeless person trying to find a room for the night—and they finally did it. I think all in all it was about an hour or so I was away, but it was rough. [laughs]
8. Now this question comes in from Kaitlyn Jones, and it’s a weird one.
LW: It’s SO weird.
JC: I’m sorry. I tried to tell her not to do it. But she wanted to, so here we are. Would you rather lick mustard off of a hobo’s foot, or bathe in ketchup for a year?
LW: Ugh. Both options are so bad. Okay. If you could guarantee I wouldn’t get any diseases from the hobo’s foot, I would probably just do that and get it over with. The problem is, I shower a LOT. I can’t nap, so on the road for curling, I tend to shower before every game, just to reset and get ready to play. If I had to shower in ketchup like two or three times a day, I would be depressed for sure.
JC: And smelly. Old ketchup is an awful smell.
LW: It really is so bad. I like that we’re taking this seriously, considering every angle.
JC: We have to!
LW: If the foot was diseased though, I mean, I’d have to go ketchup. Hopefully we can find a healthy hobo so I can get the mustard thing over with.
JC: Maybe a designer hobo, you know like one from a TV show? That seemed like a plotline in every 90s teen sitcom, that one of the teens just befriends a hobo for some reason, and they’re always super good-looking.
LW: [laughs] Yes, exactly. Get me a designer hobo. A 90210 hobo. [laughs]
JC: Thank you Laura. Next on the docket we actually have your mixed doubles partner, Kirk Muyres. Anything you’d like to ask him?
LW: Ooooh. I have some dirt on him you can use for questions 6 and 7, but we can talk about that later. I’ll ask him: if you were forced to only choose one, would you rather play Men’s or Mixed Doubles for the rest of your career? I’m curious to see what he says.
JC: Awesome! Thanks Laura! Best of luck with your new team this season, and with Kirk!