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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

#DunnyIsMoney

#BetweenTheSheets with Matt Dunstone
2x Cdn. Jr. Champ talks #FreeAgentFrenzy, Self-Reflection and....Skittles?


Are you excited #curling fans?  No, not because the warm weather seems to be here and summer is literally right around the corner.  I meant excited for welcoming another member to the #TwineTime family: Matt Dunstone!!  Personally, this one is very exciting.  To be honest, Mr. Dunstone and I have been talking since last summer about doing an interview together.  But timing throughout the season never played to our advantage.  Matt played a full schedule and my work schedule sometimes caused delays.  At the same time, I have always stated I respect the schedule of any athlete, in all sports, and would never request or expect an interview if the schedule didn't allow on their side.  I want the #TwineTime interviews to be fun, relaxed and exciting....hard to do if an athlete is in the middle of an event.

Needless to say, the timing was perfect for Matt and I to finally connect.  I think you will really enjoy this one rock heads.  Matt was very honest and open in our conversation...and we had A LOT to talk about.  Without further adieu, I bring you Mr. #DunnyIsMoney himself, Matt Dunstone:

TwineTime (TT):  It's a pleasure to have you join the #TwineTime blog family, I really appreciate it.  Welcome and thank you!

Matt Dunstone (MD):  I have been waiting to do this for awhile now, it is long overdue.  I am looking forward to it.

TT:  I agree.  Hopefully we can make it fun and exciting.  Let's start off with talking about last season, your last season in juniors.  A successful year with winning Canadians and going to Worlds.  How do you feel about last season and how do you feel about leaving the junior ranks behind?

MD:  Juniors has been nothing but good to me and I have learned so much from it.  I have been given so many great opportunities that a lot of junior's haven't had the opportunity to have.  I am very thankful for the people I got to play with.  I got to play with some, if not the, most successful junior players in Canada for sure.  I played with Canadian Junior Champs left, right and centre and have obviously been very lucky to play with them.  Even up to some of the guys in the men's ranks who gave me the opportunity this year to play in the grand slam.  I cannot thank enough the people around me who made me better and the great competition I have had.  I got to play Braden Calvert, World Junior Champ, 20-plus times in the last three years.  We did nothing but make each other better and that's why, between us, we have four Canadian Junior Championships.  And I know him and my boys will be looking for number 5 next year.  We have done nothing but make each other better and it has been quite the experience.

TT:  Does that maybe add to your legacy, leaving the junior ranks with that Manitoba dominance we have seen over the past few years?  Is that something you were hoping to make happen and something you hope to see continue?

MD:  Yeah, absolutely.  Any time your province can go and dominate like we have the past four years and if it can continue on as long as it possibly can you would like it to.  Even though me and Braden are done, with Braden done next year, there are some pretty good faces coming up.  For those other younger teams that are up and coming, to be able to play guys like me and Braden on a regular basis, will do nothing but make them better too.  We are pretty lucky in Manitoba to have all the competition we do, making us better.  There are a couple of young guys like JT Ryan and Hayden Forrester.  He has beaten Braden a few times, played Carruthers tight too losing to Reid on a last rock in the Viterra (Manitoba Provincial Men's Championship).  That is just another team up and coming that teams are going to have to look out for at the upcoming Canadian Juniors.  Even though it started with me and Braden, I don't think it is going to end that way.

TT:  Now let's talk about Worlds.  It obviously didn't pan out the way you would have liked in winning the gold medal but still always a great experience.  What was it like to go and represent the maple leaf once again?

MD:  Yeah to go wear the maple leaf in itself is a major accomplishment.  You don't really learn to appreciate it until after the fact when you get to reminisce about the times you had at the world juniors, especially when things didn't really go our way on the ice.  I mean to finish with the win and get a bronze obviously is pretty huge.  From day 1 in September our goal was to be world junior champs so it is disappointing on that front, especially after the season we put together and the run we went on between Canadian Juniors and Viterra.  We came up extremely flat at World Juniors is the only way to put it.  It is extremely disappointing.  I think we have come around though and are extremely proud of the bronze we brought home.

TT:  For sure.  Now in speaking about World Juniors, you have a healthy friendship, maybe a tad bit competitive in a friendly way, with USA's Korey Dropkin.  You guys have some great pictures out there, obviously the North American Cup is one of the best things we have seen in curling.  This is great for the sport, especially in juniors.  What is that relationship like and how positive it is to have an American team pushing you guys?

MD: *laughing* Oh it's awesome.  Me and Korey have known each other since 2013 in Sochi (World Juniors) and have stayed in contact.  He is a helluva guy and I love him to death.  We chat throughout the season.  Even in the off season, we have been chatting.  I turn 21 in June and he turns 21 in June so we may end up going to Vegas if it works out with work schedules.  We talk to each other throughout the season.  It is a great friendship I have with him and a great rivalry.  I know you love it *laughing*

TT: *laughing* I do love it.  I think it is great!

MD: It is going to be happening for years to come.  I think we are both the up and coming prospective guys in our countries.  It's great to have a guy like that you can talk to and chat with from another country and have a really great friendship with.

TT:  Oh for sure.  So now, who put the cup together and who's idea was that?

MD:  Well Korey came up with the idea of the North American Cup.  I am not too sure where she came from but it works for me because I am winning it right now *laughing*  Mark Fenner, second on Team Dropkin, and his dad actually made that thing.  It is a mix of Canadian beers and American beers, which is awesome.  Obviously the Canadian beer is a little bit better so it is only right that we are winning the cup as well.  It is extremely cool and I wasn't even expecting it.  We were playing a bonspiel in Bemidji, MN in November and that's when they brought it out.  It was extremely cool and something I never expected.

TT:  It is very cool.  Now is it something that is hopefully going to continue on as you guys continue your career into men's?

MD:  Yeah, absolutely.  I have talked to Korey and he has kind of told me what they have planned for next season.  He has big plans, as do I.  We will definitely be playing one another a couple of times next season.

TT:  Excellent.  Well I have gone on the record in saying that I think the 2022 Winter Olympics will see both of you there representing both countries.  Let's hope that is what ends up happening.

MD:  I would hope so.  I think I need a couple guys here in Canada to quit first.  *laughing*  I think Brad, after this next Olympic cycle, needs to hang 'em up and give me a chance.

TT:  *laughing*  Time to let the young guns show how to do it, right?

MD:  Exactly!  But I don't have patience, I don't want to wait.  I need all the guys ahead of me to hang 'em up right now.  *laughing*

TT:  Well now speaking about moving forward, you kind of went into a little #FreeAgentFrenzy this off-season.  Looking for a new team, going into men's.  What is it like being out there?  You are probably one of the highest sought after free agents, perhaps after Pat Simmons.  Everyone was kind of looking and wondering what Matt Dunstone was going to do next.  What is that like?

MD:  It's the first time I have ever been in that situation.  Things behind the scenes didn't kind of work out how I had been lead to believe.  But it happens.  I was kind of in for a rude awakening into the men's scene there.  Guys gotta do what they gotta do to win games though.  So I respect that.  It's ok.  Like I said, I wasn't expecting to be a total free agent with no team.  I had the impression I was leaving a squad to join another squad and that obviously didn't work.  Hopefully it is not a position I'll be in for a little while here.  But to have my name out there and talk to some of the best guys in the game and for me to chat with some of the guys I did is kind of surreal, especially just coming out of juniors.

TT:  Did you get any good words of advice from people you did talk to?  Like you said, you did get to speak to a lot of people in the sport and in men's for awhile I would assume.  Did you get good words of advice on how to handle the situation?  Like you said, it is tough and you are just coming out of juniors.  This was a tough move to go through.

MD:  Yeah, I talked to a few other guys on what my plans are and how I should go about things.  People are well aware that me and Reid Carruthers are quite connected on that level.  Any time an offer would come up or before I would make a plan, I would talk to Reid because I respect his opinion and he has gone through the ropes of the men's.  I think of no better guy to take advice from.  Basically through that whole process I was talking to him almost every day...I probably annoyed him a little bit.  He gave me great advice and his opinions actually had a great deal of effect on me.  It's great to have somebody who has been through it all, been through the free agents, been in my position as a guy right out of juniors...to have a guy who has been through everything I have just gone through is nice to have somebody there for you.

TT:  For sure.  Is that something we maybe need to see a bit more of?  More of the mentor - mentee relationship between men's and juniors?

MD:  Yeah.  Sometimes it is tough.  It depends.  I played more of a men's schedule the past two seasons.  I have been able to, not really hang out with the guys but to see how they go about their business.  I have been lucky enough to talk to some of them and pick their brains a little bit.  Probably one of my favourite experiences was getting called by Jeff Stoughton asking to go to Korea with him.  That was the first time I have ever really talked to a big name guy like that and hang out.  I mean it is tough.  Mine and Reid's relationship goes all the way back to when I was 11 years old.  A lot of juniors don't get that opportunity.  But to any junior curlers out there, if you ever have that opportunity you gotta take it.  Just to learn from anybody who has been there, done that.  You have to pick their brain and you will only be better for it.  And then one day you will get to kick their ass like I did to Reid in the Viterra *laughing*

TT:  *laughing*  That's true enough.  And sometimes it is time for the mentee to beat the mentor.

MD:  Absolutely!  He had to take a step back that day.  But he got me the next time after that.  And I am sure he is going to snag me a couple more times this upcoming season.

TT:  Well that's what makes it fun as well, to see how it goes.  Now let's talk about the new team this year, announced fairly recent.  How did that come about?  What are the goals and what are the plans with the new guys?

MD:  After my other plans had fallen through, I thought about how I wanted to stay home now and I wanted to keep skipping.  After reaching the Manitoba final this last season as a skip, I want to build a squad that is able to do the same kind of run because I knew my old guys already had Gunner (Jason Gunnlaugson) coming in as skip.  I had to find something new here and I found some guys who got experience playing at the top level.  Got some guys who have played many events on the world curling tour and have had success on the world curling tour.  It is a great group of guys who are around my age as well.  I am very excited about this new team.  Our goal is pre-trials (for 2018 Olympics).  We are playing a pretty heavy schedule and crack top 15 CTRS and top 25 order of merit and hopefully get into that Tier II (Tour Challenge) slam this year.  That would be huge for us.  I mean you see Team Einarson this year win that event and they just sky rocketed.  They got a Canada Cup spot now.  They are one of the top teams out there now.  That Tier II event is one of the greatest ideas they have had.  It gives these tier II teams a chance to play at that level.  It is tough for teams to crack into that level and it is pretty easy for teams to stay in the grand slam level when you have cracking into it already.  The Tier II gives the one team that gets hot the chance to crack into it and stay there, like Team Einarson.  I mean that is our goal.  Hopefully we can put in a good run at Viterra, obviously some tough competition between my old boys and Willy (Lyburn) and RamaTime (Carruthers) and Mikey (McEwen).  If we can put a run together, it would be nice to be actually playing for something in the final this time around.  Between trying to get to the Brier and making the pre-trials, we are going to do whatever we can to at least accomplish one of those goals.

TT:  Do you find that is difficult, when sitting down with the new team and talking about goals, the way the system is set up it is difficult to start a brand new team in the middle of the four-year Olympic cycle, to put those goals in place when other teams seem so far ahead on the qualification side of things?
MD:  Not necessarily.  I mean when building a new team, you need to get good quick especially this late in the Olympic cycle.  The first two and a half years are years to mesh because most of them are new teams.  They have those two and a half practice years where they can learn as a team and grow as a team.  We are a new team with only two years to go before the trials.  We cannot put too much pressure on ourselves though.  We are going to have some hiccups obviously in being a new squad, not everything is going to be perfect right away.  But we need to try our best to make it work asap so we can have that early season success that will give us those opportunities down the road to maybe crack into the slams and reach those big point events to reach those pre-trials.

TT:  Excellent!  Best of luck to the new team and I am sure everyone will be watching and hoping you guys find success.  Like you said, I think we need to see more up and coming teams push those top teams and make it more exciting for the season.

MD:  Absolutely.  And hopefully it is one of us who breaks out this year.  I know we have some high hopes in what we want to do and we are already starting the process.  We are all pretty excited.  I think this change was good for everybody.  We are ready to go and bring it on from anybody!  I am ready for my first year of men's.

TT:  Excellent and great to hear.  I know fans are excited to see what you can do.  Now you talked about the positive experience of the Tier II and one I agree with you on, I think it is a positive aspect to #growthesport.  Obviously one of the big points with the #TwineTime blog has been the topic of #growthesport all season.  Now, a common question I have asked a lot of people, if we were giving you the power to make a change or adjustment to the sport to elevate it to the next level, what would you do to help #growthesport and make it successful?

MD:  Help #growthesport?  Well I know it would be tough to do but to even make a Tier II tour sort of thing.  Have multiple tier II events.  Already if you win the Tier II you qualify for the next slam.  But have more tier II events.  I know it would be tough to do because you already have a slam event running but across Canada somehow.  Just to have those teams play and be competitive amongst each other.  The only way you are going to get better is to play the best competition out there.  A lot of tier II teams do not have the funds and sponsorship and publicity to play the high level teams all the time.  It is a tough situation.  The sport is dying a little bit sadly enough.  What the grand slams are doing is unbelievable, with the amount of coverage they are providing.  Even the story at the Continental Cup about the lady from Mexico who saw curling on TV and saved up all the money to go to Vegas...things like that are super cool and that is from all the TV coverage from TSN and Sportsnet.  TV has been huge for the game and is growing it in that sense.  It is cool to see the numbers beating some football and hockey games.  I don't think it is far away but I think curling is going to be up there as a professional sport...I think you could already call it that for teams up in the grand slam...but I think it is going to get up there pretty soon overall.

TT:  For sure.  Now do you think there is lessons we can take from other sports?  There is always the tennis angle that people have talked about, I've talked about it as well.  They have tier II, tier III level events to increase your ranking, more points for the different events.  They have a challenger tour which is similar to what you are talking about.  Do you think there is opportunities to not exactly re-invent the wheel for the sport but take advantage of some of the other sports who have gone through these learning processes and really help elevate our sport?

MD:  Oh absolutely.  Learning from sports who have been in the same position as curling, there would be no better way to do it.  For tennis, as an example, seeing how they broke out into one of the most popular sports.  It is really cool to see the evolution even about what has gone in in the last couple of year's even.

TT:  I agree.  One question I have to ask you, and you can take it wherever you want if you want to comment on it, is the #BroomGate situation.  The online survey closed and hopefully they take some of that feedback into moving forward.  What are your thoughts on this going into the off-season and, being a new team, is that something you don't really focus on right now or do you still talk about how that affects your game?

MD:  It does affect our game, for sure.  Even with sponsorship.  We are trying to get a curling sponsor and nobody really knows what kind of broom heads they are coming out with.  It has been a tricky season.  I know last year we changed how we swept five times during the season, whether it be broom heads or technique.  I do think it is a neat evolution of the sport.  I must say I do enjoy this is how the game is played now.  Obviously making shots is fun.  In a way it does reward teams who maybe don't throw the rock as pure and does help you get away with some things, which is upsetting and does take away from the sport a little bit.  I have full faith the World Curling Federation and Curling Canada will come up with something that will make it fair, whether it be everyone using the same fabric or put a rule on technique.  I really do think it is technique that has a lot to do with it and I don't think they have been looking at that enough as they probably should.  What the grand slam tour has done in trying new things, I think that is great.  I think that is the only way you can do it.  You have to take feedback from the players and have them review how the week went with the new rule on sweeping.  I hope they can figure something out, make a gentleman's agreement on something we can stick to and let's have everyone agree on something and not have some guys try to cheat here and take away from the integrity of the game.  This year was a little hectic and tough to learn.  The day before we left for World Juniors we found out we couldn't have hair heads, 24 hours before we were getting on the plane.  Heading to worlds we had to completely change how we were sweeping for the past three or four months.  I think they need to make up the rules and stick with them.  Do a test year out of it and get some feedback at the end.  This thing is not going to go away.  This is just the beginning.  I can see this going on for another 10 or 15 years.  Guys are only going to discover more what we can do with these brooms.  But like I said I know the World Curling Federation and Curling Canada is going to come up with something good and some strict rules on what are able to do with that rock.

TT:  Yup, and hopefully as we have said this started as a negative for the season but hopefully turns into a positive in the long run for the sport to help grow it right?

MD:  Oh for sure.  Every sport evolves.  This is just the first step in curling evolving.  It was a little bit out of hand and evolved quickly.  We need to put control on it but we need it to happen to help the sport evolve.  It might even help with the popularity of it as well.

TT:  Completely I agree with you.  Ok so now let's talk a bit more about you specifically.  You are still a young guy but have had a pretty healthy curling career, one that probably more than most curlers would love to have.  When you look back at everything you have accomplished so far, what is the one highlight that stands out the most in your career so far?

MD:  The Canadian Juniors probably, the first one (2013).  I was a 17 year old kid.  We were 2-2 after game 4.  There was really no expectations.  I mean we were the third seed going into Manitoba provincials.  Everyone thought it was a two-team race at Manitoba provincials and we kind of came out of nowhere, got hot, came out of the Manitoba provincials.  There were no real expectations.  It was kind of just cool to be there as there were no real expectations out of us yet.  But to go there and get on a run and play a very good Alberta (Thomas Scoffin) team in the final and find a way to win it.  I kind of laugh at myself because I go back and look at that game and, compared to how I play now, I even say, "Why the hell would I even call that?"  It is crazy to see how much you learn in a matter of years.  That is definitely the highlight.  It was something we never really expected to do.  And then to go and play in an Olympic venue (Sochi) at the World Juniors at 17 years old...I mean that bronze medal is very cool.  You tell me at the beginning of the season I would get to play at an Olympic venue at the World Juniors and I would be laughing at you.  That whole season was probably the highlight of my junior career no doubt.

TT:  That is very cool!  Are you ever going to live down the reaction and the picture of you hoping down the ice?  Do you live that down or even want to live that down?  Do you like that moment?

MD:  *laughing*  I love that moment.  I have to live through it through pictures again because I have no recollection of it happening.  It is funny how you don't really remember moments like that.  But you can't teach those hops there, that's just natural instinct.  Obviously a very cool celebration.  I never planned on doing something like that.  People know I am kind of an emotional player and that is me wearing my heart on my sleeve and that is a dream coming true.  I love looking at those pictures because that is the first time one of my dreams really came true in the sport.

TT:  Well I know in watching this year's Canadian Junior final, there was all the talk on twitter about, if you did win, what kind of celebration we would see.  It was a lot more tame in comparison this year.  Does that mean you are maturing?  *laughing*

MD:  *laughing*  I mean it is a more controlled intensity, a more positive intensity.  When I was younger there was time I would throw a couple temper tantrums and give a couple broom slams.  I mean I still do that but I pick my spots and I am more controlled.  The intensity is still there, no doubt, and the emotions are still there.  But it is always for the positive.  It is a part I love about the games.  In seeing Brad Jacobs, I know some people don't like it but I think it is great.  These guys put so much into the game and wear their hearts on their sleeves.  We are all playing for something here.  It's not like curling back in the day where guys weren't playing for a whole lot of money.  Guys are taking time off, not working, and following their dreams and making money on tour.  You put your heart on the sleeve and make sacrifices for that stuff.  I think it is great to see, especially after doing something great.  I obviously love that stuff...as long as it is positive.

TT:  I agree with you.  I think it is something the sport needs more of, that personality on the ice.  Your win was a perfect example.  You mention Jacobs, obviously a great example.  Like it or hate it, I don't think it really matters.  I think it is something we could see more of.  Do you think that is something we will see more of with curlers?  We are slowly starting to see a little more personality on the ice from guys.  Can we get there where we see more of it, like we see in other sports?

MD:  I wouldn't be surprised about it, especially as the money purse keeps rising and the sponsorship keeps rising.  Every year guys are playing for more and more.  We are spending more and more time away from our families.  It is never going to change in me, I am too competitive.  Whether I was playing for nothing you would still see that from me.  It is that competitive side of me.  As long as I can keep those emotions more positive rather than negative out there.

TT:  For sure.  In speaking about the emotions being more positive over the negative, what about the one career mulligan you would like to redo?  A shot or a game where you are not happy with the result and would like to do over again if you could.

MD:  Ummm....probably in the 2015 Manitoba junior final.  We had a pretty good lead on Calvert with the hammer up 2 playing the 9th end.  I have a shot I make probably 8 out of 10 times.  That was just another huge maturing thing for me.  That is kind of when I figured out I needed to work here.  I kind of took for granted the success I had recently.  I still had stuff to learn.  I let that moment get the best of me.  I started thinking about the outcome more, especially two up in a big game.  Up 2 with (hammer) playing the 9th end, that's a game I win probably 98 out of 100 times.  That is just part of the maturing process.  It was a third of a rock double and I wasn't even close, gave up a steal of 2 and then disaster in the 10th.  That game right there has helped me come so far.  I know it is cliche but you learn so much more from your losses and that just proved it to me right there.  I think that is why we had the success we had this year, just because of the heartbreak and robbery we felt of the year before.  We worked really hard and it showed in the dominating season we had.  We had only 1 loss to a Canadian junior team all season and that was against (Tanner) Horgan (Team Northern Ontario) at the Canadian Juniors.  I think we went 49-1 against Canadian junior teams this year.  We really geared up from that loss and learning so much from it.  

TT:  Oh for sure.  You have spoke a few times on the maturity level.  Like I mentioned, you are still a really young guy.  Is it interesting to look back?  Where does this self-reflection come from?  We don't see this very often with people.  Even, to be honest with you, in thinking about myself at your age to have so much self-reflection and understand what that means.  I know you are close with your family, is that something you get from your family?  Your friends?  Your colleagues?  Your fellow curlers?  Where do you get that from because self-reflection is very difficult for some people to grasp and you seem to have a good handle on that?

MD:  I'm not sure.  With the curling thing, I feel there is always something you can learn, especially from past experiences.  Especially negative past experiences.  You kind of look back and I want to figure things out, whether it be in curling or in life.  I just want to figure things out, what went wrong, how can I avoid it next time.  I mean, I like to self-reflect but I also like to put the past in the past and just move forward with it.  You can't change what's happened but you can learn from it.  That is why I self-reflect.  Try to make a better future.

TT:  For sure and that is something hopefully everyone, regardless of how old you are, can take back and everyone can work on that.  Great job on you though for that level of maturity and something we do not see very often, nor something we see often in sports.

MD:  Thank you!

TT:  Ok let's do a little bit of rapid fire for you and continue helping people get to know more about Matt Dunstone and what makes you tick.  What would be your walk-up song?

MD:  My walk up song for curling?  Oh boy...ummm...."Jumpman" by Drake.

TT:  Ah going with a little Canadian boy too, which is great.

MD:  Big Raptors win too so I am sure Drake was pumped about that.  *laughing*

TT:  Very true, huge Raptors win.  I am sure he will be pumped for Game 1 going into Cleveland too.

MD:  Yeah well it will be a 5 game series too so he better enjoy it.

TT:  *laughing* Whoa...I am going to put that in this interview too you know.

MD:  Absolutely.  Cavs in 5!  *laughing*

TT:  *laughing* Ok deal.  I will send everyone to Matt Dunstone twitter account if they are not happy with that prediction.

MD:  *laughing*  You betcha...

TT:  Who is your biggest curling rival?

MD:  Hmm biggest curling rival?  Oh boy.  I don't know.  Obviously I played Braden many times, a couple big games many times.  If it was going to be anyone I would say it is going to be him just because we have played each other so many times over the years.  I am not sure.  I have played Mikey four times this year and split with them.  That's a rivalry I would like to see bloom.  All four of those guys are great and our games are fairly competitive.  That's a rivalry I want to see bloom here, especially after he got me in the (Manitoba) final this year.  I kind of want to get back at him for that one.  But probably Braden just because I have played him so many times.  No real rivalries quite yet though.

TT:  Ok right.  Well my next question to you was going to be if you can pick someone to start a rivalry with, who would it be?  Would it be McEwen?

MD:  *laughing*  Mikey.  You got it.  Nothing personal, I just love playing against those guys.  They are just a bunch of hard throwing tuckers.  We play the same kind of game.  Three of the four games have come down to last shot.  Every game there is exciting shots to be made.  I just love playing them.  And there is no better feeling than beating them too.

TT:  Excellent!  Now we saw a lot of hashtags going around about you during the Canadian Juniors all over twitter.  If you could give yourself any hashtag, what would you hashtag be for your curling career?

MD:  #DunnyIsMoney

TT:  *laughing*  #DunnyIsMoney I kind of assumed that is what it would be.

MD:  *laughing*  #DunnyIsMoney  You know it man.  You bought a shirt yet?

TT:  *laughing*  There are shirts now?

MD:  DynastyCurling.com....#DunnyIsMoney....go and get it!

TT:  Look at you, even throwing out a little sponsor love right there too?

MD:  Oh of course, you got it!  Not one of them has sold yet so you could be the first.

TT:  *laughing*  Does it come with a personal autograph on it at least or something?

MD:  *laughing*  I can do whatever you like, just be the first to buy the shirt.  I want somebody to buy it.

TT:  *laughing*  That's awesome!  I will look into that one for ya.

MD:  It has been on the market for 6 months already and nobody has touched it yet.

TT:  Not one?  Are you serious?

MD:  Not one!

TT:  You have a girlfriend.  You have family.  None of them are buying into it?

MD:  Even the girlfriend refuses to buy a shirt!

TT:  *laughing*  Life is tough over in Manitoba!

MD:  *laughing*  Nobody thinks Dunny is money apparently!

TT:  *laughing*  Well you are just going to have go on the grand slam tour this year and win one, then at least you can literally be making money.

MD:  Hey, that is the plan.  I will take those winnings, go buy 100 #DunnyIsMoney shirts and give them to the first 100 people I see.

TT:  *laughing*  Throw them in the crowd after games now.

MD:  *laughing*  You got it.  Whatever it takes.

TT:  Win over the fans at the same time.

MD:  Yup, I'll try to.

TT:  Nicely done!  Ok so now if you had to form your perfect All-Star team, non-curlers, who would be on your team?  And you can put yourself on the team if you want...I know how much you love to skip.

MD:  Oh absolutely.  I'll skip the boys.  I'll take Giancarlo Stanton.  He is going to play second for me because he can bang 'em.  He hit 490ft. bombs so I'll have him throw some double peels for me.  I'll take Chris Sale as my lead.  I'm going with an all-MLB team here...

TT:  I kind of assumed you would given that is kind of your secondary sport.

MD:  Chris Sale as my lead, being the crafty left-hander.  He will be good at tossing up guards and making the freeze.  He will be my lead man.  Who the heck will I have play third?

TT:  It is a pivotal role.

MD:  It is a very pivotal role.  I need to be careful who I choose here.

TT:  Has to be someone who can stand in the house next to you all game and talk with you.

MD:  Jose Altuve.  The guy can do it all out there.  He is a winner.

TT:  What would you name your team?

MD:  Oh boy...Team That Won't Win Much *laughing*

TT:  *laughing*  There won't be a lot of Dunny making money on that one.

MD:  *laughing*  Nope, the #DunnyIsMoney shirts will be extinct if that team ever got together.

TT:  *laughing*  But at least you would have fun.

MD:  *laughing*  Exactly.  And I would learn a little bit about ball.

TT:  There ya go.  Now I am going to steal an earlier #AskTheCurler question, if you were one of the 7 dwarfs, which one would you be?  And, with a brand new team, which dwarfs would they be as well?

MD:  I need to google the 7 drawfs quickly right here...

TT:  Nobody ever knows the 7 dwarfs...how do you guys not know these things?

MD:  I know Dopey...

TT:  Everybody knows Dopey...

MD:  Actually I am going to give Dopey to my second Ian McMillan.  Ok let me google them here.  Is there a muscles dwarf?

TT:  *laughing*  There is no muscles.  Doc is pretty big and strong.  Doc is probably the strongest.

MD:  Alright I will give that to the lead Connor Njegovan.  He is a beast in the gym.  Ok so I have Dopey....

TT:  And you have Doc so far.

MD:  I need to find one for myself and Alex here hey?

TT:  Yup.  You have Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Grumpy and Sneezy.

MD:  I'll take Bashful.  Alex looks like a guy who just likes to sleep.  I can see him putting some good hours into the late afternoon, especially after putting in a good night of drinking.  I can see him waking up for supper time.

TT:  *laughing*  So put him down as Sleepy?

MD:  Yup, put him down as Sleepy.

TT:  Nice.  It seems every team has at least one Sleepy.

MD:  *laughing*  I guess so yup.  Everyone has a sleeper.

TT:  What is your most embarrassing song on your ipod right now?

MD:  Oh boy....that I listen to?  There is a new one I just started listening to...it's kind of girly.  Ummmm...what is it here...I'll find something good for you here.

TT:  *laughing*  Ok, good!

MD:  I used to be big into Adele and "Hello"

TT:  Oh yeah, most people were.

MD:  Yeah that one got me really good.  It hit my heart nicely.

TT:  Yeah that one will hit your feels pretty hard.

MD:  Oh yeah, it got me.  Some pretty emotional days listening to that one.  That or "Love Yourself" by the Biebsmeister!

TT:  Oh that was going to be my next question.  A little Belieber in you?

MD:  You know what?  I am starting to come around with this Belieber shit.  He is coming out with some tunes that I cannot help but listen to.  Not a big fan of the 12 year old Biebs here.  But he got a haircut.  And if he could ever learn to hike his pants up a wee bit...he would be a guy I would be able to have a beer with.  *laughing*

TT:  *laughing*  Oh yeah, for sure.  Ok we are going to go with a little Belieber in you.

MD:  A little bit....just a wee bit.

TT:  Ok, just a wee bit.  We see during the season the boys will be out having a few drinks and karaoke seems to be a common thing that happens.  If you are up there singing a little song, what are you up there belting out?

MD:  "Sweet Caroline"

TT:  Are ya?

MD:  Oh "Sweet Caroline" absolutely!

TT:  How many times have you sang that in public?

MD:  Too many!  Too many!  "Sweet Caroline" is my go-to.  Trust me I sound like Beethoven when I go.  It's a wonderful thing.

TT:  *laughing*  And everyone is wishing they were Beethoven with a little deaf ear?

MD:  *laughing*  Yup, probably.  Singing that song, I could join Frank Sinatra.

TT:  *laughing*  Nice.  I love the confidence.

MD:  *laughing*  Oh yeah...

TT:  And my final #RapidFire question.  When I was talking with Chris Plys about his new sponsorship deal with RedBull, if you could ask any company in the world to be your main sponsor, who would it be?

MD:  Skittles!

TT:  Really?  I would not have assumed that.

MD:  Yup, skittles!  I love my skittles man.  Me and Marshawn Lynch doing a dual partnership there.

TT:  *laughing*  I can imagine what your grand slam jerseys would look like if skittles were your sponsor.

MD:  *laughing*  Can you imagine man?  It would be a rainbow out there.

TT:  *laughing*  There would a rainbow of colour all over you man.

MD:  Crush a pack of skittles before a game, you will be making about 6 triples during the game.

TT:  *laughing*  Very good.  I have to admit I am quite surprised by that answer.  I was not expecting that one.  I would have never guessed skittles.

MD:  What were you thinking?

TT:  Honestly I have no idea.  But I know that would be nowhere close to where I would have been going.

MD:  Fantastic!  Skittles it is.

TT:  Nice answer...I love that one.  Now, in speaking of Chris, he had the opportunity to play a little #AskTheCurler to you and his question was "Who is your favourite Manitoba legend in curling and who has given you the most advice to get you to where you are?"

MD:  Hmmmm.  Growing up it would have been Jeff Stoughton no doubt.  I mean that was almost everyone's favourite growing up.  It just made that experience in Korea that much cooler because he was someone I had been watching and trying to represent my game after.  That's obviously the best Manitoba curler to ever play.  Without a doubt he is my favourite curler.  The guy who has had the most effect on my game would be Reid Carruthers, no doubt!  I have worked with him for half my life here.  I talk to him before big games.  When I am not feeling it sometimes, he finds a way to pump me up and gets me going again.  With how I have matured over even the past two years, it has all been Reid.  You see how he skips.  He is a great leader out there and manages his guys really well.  He has been trying to teach me to do the same.  It obviously has worked for him this year.  Three slam finals, winner of one.  The guy does nothing but win out there.  To have him on my side is pretty cool.

TT:  No doubt.  That is awesome.  Now it is your opportunity to #AskACurler.  I have a special *surprise* guest joining me for the year-end blog.  He has interviewed you before so this is an opportunity to get a little revenge on him if you want.

<Editor's Note:  Matt did know who the special guest would be prior to the interview.  I am just keeping it as a surprise for all of you....but I am sure you can figure it out ;) >

MD:  Umm....how often do you make jokes with curlers on the ice and have you ever actually made any of them laugh?

TT:  *laughing*  Nice, nice.  You know he does have the stand up comedy background.

MD:  *laughing*  I heard he was just a backstage director for all those things.  I didn't know he actually got to go and speak.

TT:  *laughing*  I will definitely ask him about that as well and see what he has to say!

MD:  *laughing*  I'm just bugging him...he is a funny guy.

TT:  He is hilarious and is a great guy.  Well that is everything I have for you Matt.

MD:  Fantastic!

TT:  Thank you so much for doing this.  I appreciate you taking the time out late at night here to do this.

MD:  You are welcome, most definitely.  We will have to do this again.   

TT:  Once you crack that Tour Challenge Tier II win, we will have to do a follow-up.

MD:  Fantastic.  That is what the boys are looking for this year!

TT:  Ok deal!

MD:  Take it easy...cheers!

Ok rock heads, did any of you read this interview and forget that Matt is only 20 years old?  20????  Absolutely crazy to think of how young he is yet how mature he is as well.  The topic of self-reflection really hit home the most with me in our conversation.  Even at my age now I struggle at times with the idea of self-reflection....and Matt in his wise old age of 20 seems to have mastered the art form.  I honestly left the interview with a new found respect for him....and I think I already had a huge amount of respect for him coming into the interview.  Toss Matt and his new team a follow on twitter if you do not already follow them.  And be on the look out this upcoming season for his continued success...mark my words, this is a future Brier and World Champion here folks!!

Now, looking forward, stay tuned for the year-end review blog.  My very special guest and I will be breaking down our hits and misses of the season as well as handing out a few #TwineTime awards.  You won't want to miss this....

#StayTuned