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Cold day in Hades when Vic Peters out

Roaring Game still calls out to the 'Old Man'

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The Kid is now 26 and not really, by any definition, much of a kid anymore.

But the Old Man? The Old Man is very definitely an old man and, at age 55, the first to admit that he has probably even crossed over a new threshold.

"I'm too old, man," Vic Peters mused this week, "for this kind of stuff."

"This kind of stuff" is the curling stuff, of course, that Vic Peters used to do better than almost anyone else in the world.

He competed in too many Manitoba mens provincial curling championships to remember -- "17? 19? Something like that." And won three of them in the 1990s, along with a Brier title in 1992.

A charter member of the powerhouse known as the Manitoba Big 3 that dominated Canadian curling for the better part of 15 years, age -- and real life -- has prodded Peters in other directions for the last 10.

There's a financial interest in a golf course to mind now, not to mention full-time duties as a greens superintendent in the summer and icemaker in the winter.

And there's also a grandson in the family now that needs the doting only a grandfather can properly bestow.

Other stuff, in other words. More important stuff, surely.

And yet the original stuff keeps calling to Peters.

Never stopped, really. "I still really enjoy it," Peters says. "And I still get mad out there on the ice when I miss a shot."

And so it is, then, that Peters cobbled together a team of men half his age this year -- son Daley (The Kid) Peters, throwing skip rocks, second Kyle Werenich and lead Cory Naharnie -- and set out to take another shot.

Expectations

The foursome, with Peters skipping but throwing third, curled an ambitious schedule -- six bonspiels in all. Alas, expectations were high -- "We really felt we could make some dough" -- and results were meagre.

"We won a little funspiel to start the season at West Kildonan, then we were finalists in Brandon and then we didn't qualify three times in a row in Portage, Swan River and Stonewall. Those were really frustrating.

"And then the last one, in Dauphin, we lost the semifinals. We played decently there, but it was still frustrating.

"We thought we could do well, especially on the Manitoba tour, and we just didn't do that good.

"So we need to regroup and take it to the next season here."

That "next season" is the playdowns and it began in earnest for Peters this week, as he pursues -- maybe for the last time -- a berth in the provincial men's curling championship through this week's zone playdowns.

A big extra end win over Mark Franklin Wednesday night at Heather Curling Club vaulted Peters to the A-side final Friday night against Fort Rouge's Andrew Atkinson.

A win this weekend would send Peters back to the provincials for an umpteenth time. But while he says the fires still burn bright, he talks more of a man who no longer competes for himself.

"I mostly, probably do it to play with my son," Peters says.

"At the end of the day, that's what it boils down to."

Indeed, their partnership on the ice is only a continuation of the Father and Son relationship they enjoy off of it. The two men also work together all year long, the younger Peters serving as the elder's assistant both in growing grass and making ice.

It's a lot of time spent together. "Probably too much time," laughs the younger Peters.

After a lifetime of being out-driven, out-putted and outscored on the golf course, Daley Peters says he has finally, in just the last couple of years, finally caught and passed his father on the links.

On the ice, however, the younger Peters -- a prodigious curler with two Manitoba junior titles on his resume -- says the elder has still had the better game this winter.

"He's been pretty good for the most part," says Daley Peters. "It's the rest of us who haven't been consistent enough to put together a good year."

An old man, sure. But Too Old Man? The Kid -- his kid -- says not quite yet.

paul.wiecek@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 18, 2010 D3

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