Getting out of the office to cover an event is a special treat for the Telegram sports department. Not only does it make for more colourful stories for our loyal readership, it allows us the opportunity to get our faces out there and meet some very interesting and intrepid individuals in the sports world. Just such an opportunity presented itself to me at the Tylenol Players' Championship at Mile One recently. I was down covering Brad Gushue's evening game for the Saturday paper and collecting the day's results. With the tournament public relations official burdened with the flu and quarantined to his hotel room, I asked the first person I saw in the Bob Cole Media booth if the day's results were on hand. As it turns out the first person was 21-year-old Chris Ballard, co-founder of CurlingScoops.com along with his friend 21-year-old Brad Norman, both graduates of Bishops and current Memorial University Students. I have to admit, I'd never heard of their website, and at first I wondered how these two amateurs came to join the ranks of the Telegram, the CBC, and all the other national media outlets covering the last stop on the Capital One Grand Slam of Curling circuit. It didnt take much prodding to get Chris and Brad to open up. Apparently the guys werent satisfied with the curling websites already establish and found themselves looking for more detail and colour from tournaments and spiels. So they started their own. By following other websites and hooking into as many live feeds as they could muster, the pair started with the Scotties, followed it up with the Brier, and before settling in at Mile One, spent a week watching Kevin Martin at the World's in North Dakota. During the Worlds alone, their websites hit-counter climbed over 14,000. I was starting to get impressed. During the event last week at Mile One, their site had quick updates and recaps, coupled with something that isnt out there: a feel for how the games were played as opposed to just scores and stats though they aren't afraid to throw those in to appease the curling purists. Having access to the players this time around, the guys even went so far as to interview teams following their games then hurried back upstairs to complete their voice-overs, produce a short segment and set up a podcast on their site. Impressed yet? I know I was an still am. Not so much with their computer wizardry, more by their enthusiasm and gusto to cover a sport where the average fan is 40 plus years of age. Moreover, rather than join with their peers who were celebrating the end of exams at MUN this weekend, these two kids were more included to hound Glenn Howard and Kevin Martin for interviews. When you meet two enterprising young gents like Chris and Brad, it's refreshing. If they keep it up, no matter what path they choose to travel in life, they've got bright futures ahead. Hats off to you lads, keep up the good work. Check out Chris and Brad's site @ www.curlingscoops.com
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