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Matt Molloy
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Gander curler in Japan representing Canada at curling event

When speaking to The Beacon last week, Gander's Chris Ford was in Edmonton preparing for the Karuizawa International Curling Event, which takes place at the SCAP Karuizawa Arena in Karuizawa, Japan.

CANADIAN PRIDE — Gander’s Chris Ford is currently representing Canada at the Karuizawa International Curling Event, taking place at the SCAP Karuizawa Arena in Karuizawa, Japan.

Today, Ford is competing in day two of the international sporting extravaganza with the Colin Thomas rink, who's representing Canada at the event.

The team qualified for the event by winning the Dominion Insurance Canadian Interuniversity Sport National Men's Curling Championships in March of last year, where they represented Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Following that event, Ford told The Beacon he thought the achievement wouldn't kick in until he saw the Canadian team jacket with his name engraved in the sleeve.

He now has that jacket, and just a week before the team left for Japan, Ford said the moment was finally starting to sink in.

"We received our jackets about a week ago and they look pretty sharp. It made the wait to get them worth it," said Ford. "It's starting to sink in now that the trip has started."

Ford, who's throwing second stone, is joined by skip Thomas, third Cory Schuh, lead Spencer Wicks and fifth Stephen Ryan.

Team Canada opened the tournament with a game against Norway yesterday, and play Korea, Nagano Selection and Japan Selection today.

The squad plays Japan tomorrow, and finishes the round robin against China and Germany on Saturday.

Playoffs begin on Sunday.

Ford said he believes the Thomas rink has put in the time, and is ready to compete for a world title.

"We have been practicing a lot, as a team and individually. Some weeks we would be on the ice upwards of six and seven times," said Ford. "We also played a couple of tournaments together as well this year."

Ford has competed in enough events to know what it takes to win on the big stage. During last year's Dominion Insurance Canadian Interuniversity Sport National Men's Curling Championship final against the University of Manitoba Bisons, Ford said his entire body started to shake after MUN scored three points in the fifth end to take a big lead on the scoreboard.

He was able to maintain his composure late in the game, however, and MUN held off a late Bisons' charge to win the national title.

After going through that emotional rollercoaster ride, Ford knows what the team has to do to put itself in a position to come home with a medal.

“You always take these events one game at a time, but our first goal is to make playoffs. Then, of course, the big picture is to come home with the gold.” Chris Ford

"First off, we just have to stay positive. When we are positive we play our best. Other then that, we just have to sleep and eat well," said Ford. "You always take these events one game at a time, but our first goal is to make playoffs. Then, of course, the big picture is to come home with the gold."

For the Canadian team, something as pedestrian as eating right may not be as simple as it seems. When it comes to eating in Japan, there's a plethora of rules that should be followed. For example, when eating with other people, it is impolite to pour your own drink. You pour your companion's drink and your companion pours yours.

Also, it's customary to say "Itadakimasu" before eating and "Gochisosama deshita" after eating, especially if you're being treated, as well as "Kanpai" for "cheers."

Ford said he did a bunch of his own research before flying into Japan, and although he doesn't have many plans other than competing at the international curling event, there is a place he would like to visit if time permits.

"I have never been to Japan before, but I have been reading some do's and don'ts so I don't do anything that I shouldn't be doing," said Ford. "I haven't really looked into any other activities. I feel like we will have a pretty jam-packed schedule while we are there. It would be cool to see what it is like to be in Hong Kong, though."

Ford and Team Canada left for Japan on Sunday and will return home Monday. Although he'll probably land in St. John's, where he's working on his Bachelor of Commerce at MUN, Ford will be thinking of the Gander Curling Club and those who continue to support him.

"The Gander Curling Club has been behind me all the way through, sending me cards and best wishes; it all means so much to me," said Ford. "All of my memories from there are great memories, no doubt. It's where it all started. From the after school junior league to Wednesday night men's night."

mmolloy@ganderbeacon.ca

Organizations: Memorial University of Newfoundland, Dominion Insurance, University of Manitoba Bisons Gander Curling Club Team Canada

Geographic location: Japan, Canada, Norway Korea China Germany Hong Kong St. John's

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