Amateur curler Ryan Giddens now has a story he'll be telling for years — how he got to throw rocks at the Canadian Men's Curling Championship.
"It was an opportunity of a lifetime and I'll never trade that for anything else," Giddens told Island Morning one day after his return from Ottawa.
He had never curled in a competitive bonspiel before the Brier and he's only been playing for three years.
But when his buddies from Adam Casey's provincial championship team asked Giddens if he would come along as the fifth player, it was an offer that was hard to refuse, even as he had some initial hesitations.
"Why me? … Why not somebody else a little more skilled from P.E.I.?" Giddens said of his thoughts after getting the offer. "But it all went well."
As the fifth player at the Brier, you usually don't get a chance to play. Aside from illness or injury, the extra player is there to provide support to the four players and work with the team's coach on the sidelines.
"They just wanted a positive influence out there. If things weren't going well someone that could pick them up, someone that could take their mind off curling and talk about anything else," said Giddens.
'Do you want in?'
As P.E.I.'s chances at the Brier began to dwindle, Giddens got the tap to sub into a game from his skip Adam Casey.
"Adam came down and he just looked at me with a death stare, and I kind of looked back and pretended I didn't know what was going on, and he said 'Do you want in?'"
At first Giddens said no, but was told by Casey it would be his only chance to throw two rocks in a national championship.
The once-a-week beer league curler played his first Brier game against four time world champion Glen Howard of Ontario — who holds the record for the most games played at the tournament.
"You know the shot's made, Adam puts his broom up looks down at me acknowledges me, Glen does the same thing you know that's a very special moment."
The trip to the Brier did not come without costs to his amateur status. As he settled in to throw his second rock Giddens realized one of his amateur leagues forbids curlers from playing for five years if they appear in a Brier.
"And then I just stopped, regrouped, and I said this is it for the next five years, this is worth the next 50, and I'm completely fine with it. "
'Twitter never goes crazy for me'
Giddens story caught national attention, including a profile on TSN.
"There I was just in the patch watching with my brothers, my teammates, my wife, and then all of a sudden my phone just doesn't stop vibrating and Twitter's going crazy … Twitter never goes crazy for me."
As the week ended Giddens had even more fun, posting his own video, announcing his retirement from competitive curling.
Now, he's back on the ice Monday nights at the Charlottetown Curling Complex with the Anything Goes league.