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Sunday, 28 March 2010 14:41

It's not all seriousness on the curling sheets

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By Allison Werbowetsky
Swift Current
It looks like it’s all business for most teams competing in this year’s Ford World Women’s Curling Championships, especially while they’re out on the ice. Behind the scenes, however, these curlers are having a blast — dancing, laughing, playing pranks and just enjoying the experience.

"We are supposed to behave," said third Sara Carlsson for Team Sweden, the team with the rumoured party animal reputation.

However, hands down the most colourful — both literally and figuratively — team of the competition is Norway. They grabbed our attention from the first moment they stepped onto the ice wearing those very loud, very neon polka dotted pants.

Since then, they’re playful demeanor and infectious smiles have stolen our hearts. They’re the kind of team who make all of us — fans or not — aching to be their friends.

"We have so much fun. It's been fantastic. Everyone here is so nice," said Norwegian skip Linn Githmark.

Norway stole the spotlight after Thursday night’s loss against the less spontaneous Danish team. The Norwegian foursome ran off the ice to retrieve Saskatchewan Roughrider t-shirts and ‘Rider green Santa hats from their bags.

Dawning big smiles from ear to ear, Githmark, Henriette Lovar, Ingrid Stensrud and Kristin Skaslien showed their ‘Rider pride.

"They (the fans) have been so good to us and we just wanted to give something back," said Githmark, who has family in Medicine Hat and was tipped off to just how CFL-obsessed Saskatchewan fans really are.

"They said, ‘When you go there you have to know about it,’ so I knew about it before I came here,” she admitted.

When asked when her team turns off the fun and turns on the seriousness, Githmark giggled.

"Oh never, really," she said. "Well, we are serious about warm up and eating ... but we always have fun, and it's very hard not to have fun when you have Henriette Lovar on the team. She's so funny."

Lovar, who plays third for Norway, used to be a bit of a practical jokester, but has recently run out of ammo.

"We have seen all the jokes before so it doesn't work anymore," Githmark said.

On the ice, Githmark and her team try to keep the morale as high as it is in the dressing room, and refuse to fret about a flubbed shot.

"We practise a lot together so we know that we're good enough, so what we do is we just try to have fun. It's hard. I mean sometimes you're pissed off but you just have to have fun. If someone has a bad shot we just make a joke out of it," she said.

The interaction between teams during games is usually kept to a minimum. Most times the words “nice shot” is all an opposing team member will hear.

"When we are on the ice we are a team and we act as a team. We're not rude — I think we're nicer at the ice — but we don't talk that much to the other teams," said Anna Domeij, second for Team Sweden.

"I think some teams are more focused on the curling," she added.

The curlers are allowed to drink alcohol while competing at world championships, as long as they’re not curling drunk. Most teams just stay away from the stuff all week, including Sweden.

"We don't drink, we don't go out late,” Domeij said. “We just spend time together at the hotel having a great time.”

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