Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Officer reveals her tweet nothings

But Jones skips the Twitter thing -- she's private, hasn't the time

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SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. -- For starters, we know that Jill Officer left her curling pants back in Winnipeg. The good ones.

We also know the Team Canada second arrived for the Ford World Women's Curling Championship the other day, ate, took a dip in the hot tub and went to bed.

The night before, she slept with the window wide open. It was, as she says, "awesome."

We also know Officer got her hair done on March 9 and slept in with husband Devlin a couple days before. On March 2, she had her glutes massaged. In fact, she lo-o-oves having her glutes massaged. We're just sayin'.

No, I'm not a stalker, thanks for asking.

Truth is, Officer has joined the burgeoning ranks of athletes who Twitter -- from the NBA's Shaquille O'Neal to the NHL's Alex Ovechkin to one-third of the Team USA Olympians at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

It's a phenomenon that's been growing, and amateur and professional athletes alike have embraced social networking for anything from significant personal news to, well, what they ate for supper.

Interestingly, Officer considers herself more of a follower than a tweeter, especially during the Winter Games, when so many Canadian athletes were abuzz on the Net.

"It was kind of neat to see what the other athletes were saying," said the longtime teammate of Canadian skip Jennifer Jones.

"I felt like it was almost a little support network. So many people were posting about the medals everyone was getting. It was kind of neat to be part of that.

"But, honestly, I don't Twitter that much," Officer added.

"I do get on there and make updates. Sometimes it's more than others, but I didn't do it to keep people up to date on our team or me as an athlete. It was more just me. So I don't generally Twitter during the competition. We don't like to reveal too many secrets about our team, so I'm cautious about what I write. I get a kick out of it."

However, it does make you wonder, given the deep interest in curling in this country, what the response would be if prominent rock throwers from teams such as Jones, Kevin Martin or Glenn Howard fired up the Twitters, especially during major events such as the Brier, Scotties, worlds or Olympics.

Or if Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton is looking to rebuild his team, why not post for applications?

If hundreds of thousands of viewers regularly watch TSN curling broadcasts, doesn't it figure there might be some cyber interest in the participants' innermost thoughts, even if they are divulged in spurts of 145 characters or less?

Perhaps it's time curling got over the hog line when it comes to the new media.

In most professional sports, such as the NHL and NFL, players are encouraged to tweet in order to connect with younger fans -- a demographic that the sport of curling should seriously consider courting.

What else costs nothing but time and could help promote the game directly through a social network populated largely by youth?

Yet Officer hasn't tweeted since arriving in Swift Current. So that would be the last place to find out Jones and her foursome -- including third Cathy Overton-Clapham and lead Dawn Askin -- improved to a perfect 4-0 at the worlds after a 12-6 thumping of Latvia, now 1-4, on Monday afternoon. The Canadians went to 5-0 after beating China (1-4) 10-9 in the late draw.

Jones doesn't plan on joining Officer tweeting anytime soon.

"I already have two full-time jobs," the financial lawyer sighed when asked Monday about the prospect. "I can't have another thing to do. Jill does a good job for our team, Twitter-wise."

Then Jones digressed. "I"m pretty private, actually," she said. "I don't even know what I'd put on there."

OK, so maybe Jones isn't Twitter material after all. However, that doesn't mean curling couldn't use a few more Officers out there on the cyber frontier front lines.

Sure, no secrets about the ins and outs of the Jones team. But forgetting your curling pants in Winnipeg is another matter entirely. So is the time last month when Officer proudly tweeted that her skip, who was in Vancouver covering the Games for the Yahoo! website, taught crooner Michael Buble how to curl.

"Little things like that someone might read and be able to make them laugh," Officer chortled. "I like to be able to do that. Or if I come up with something witty to say."

After all, when they talk about less than 145 characters, that shouldn't include curlers, too.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 23, 2010 C3

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About Randy Turner

While attending Boissevain High School in the late 1970’s, Randy Turner one day read an account of a Winnipeg Jets game in the Free Press when it dawned on him: "Really, you can get paid to watch sports?"

Turner later graduated with a spectacularly mediocre 2.3 GPA from Red River Community College’s Creative Communications program. 

After jobs at the Stonewall Argus and Selkirk Journal, he began working on the Rural page for the Free Press in 1987. Several years later, he realized his dream of watching sports for a living covering the Winnipeg Goldeyes and Bombers.

In 2001, Turner became a general sports columnist, where he watched Canada win its first Olympic gold medal in men’s hockey in 50 years at Salt Lake, then watched them win again in Vancouver in 2010.

He also watched everything from high school hockey and volleyball championship to several Grey Cups, NHL finals and World Junior hockey tournaments.

In the fall of 2011, Turner became a general features writer for the paper. But he still watches way too much sports.

Turner has been nominated for three National Newspaper Awards in sports writing.

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