Matt Galas is the Vice President of Windy City Curling and a founding member. He is about to take his curling game to the next level, joining a competitive team that plays on the World Curling Tour. Starting with the St. Paul Cash Spiel this coming weekend, Matt will be playing lead for Team Bret Jackson. Before he left for St. Paul, I caught up with Matt for an interview.
Most competitive curlers got into the game in childhood, or their teens at the latest. Your experience has been different. Tell us about your background and what got you into curling in the first place?
I got into curling by watching the Olympics. My love started in 2002 when it was on at 3am… which was perfect timing for me coming home from the college bars. My roommates and I were hooked. But it wasn’t until the 2006 Olympics when I moved back to the Chicago area that they were on again. Thats when we setup a group outing for 24 people at Waltham Curling Club. That experience was AWESOME and the feeling of the curling community transformed 3 of us from that group into instant members.
You’ve played in various bonspiels, and twice represented Windy City at Arena Nationals. What made you decide to take it to the next level, competitively?
It’s something I’ve always been interested in but haven’t had the chance until now. Luckily Bret Jackson reached out to me and in all honesty I couldn’t have said yes any faster (after checking with the wife and schedule of course).
Tell us a bit about your team. How did you come to meet/join them?
Bret Jackson is the mastermind… he played last year and was looking for some new team members for a run this year. I played against one of his clubs (Lansing Curling Club) on numerous occasions and got to meet Bret at Arena Nationals. The St Paul Cash Spiel will be the first time we are all playing together so I’m sure there will be some growing pains but I’m definitely excited and can’t wait to get started.
Your first event is coming up this weekend. What else is on your schedule for this year?
We are booked for Curl Mesabi in December and we are looking to add one more event before that. The challenge round is in January and then hopefully if all goes well we’ll be onto Jacksonville for Nationals.
Do you have any personal goals for this season? Any specific team goals?
Honestly, not really. I hope that we play well and enjoy curling together and have fun while doing it. I think past that it’s hard to set goals as a team until we start working and playing together a bit more.
Do you have any pregame rituals/superstitions?
I’m not a superstitious guy at all…so outside of the good curling handshakes I can’t say that I have anything in particular. Now postgame broomstacking is another story…
Best moment on the ice (besides getting to play Phil)? Worst (besides having to play Phil)?
Any day on the ice (with or without Phil) is a great day. I can’t say I have a worst day at all…sure, I’ll always remember the shots I missed or over/under swept on to lose the game, but they’re all experiences that help you become a better curler and teammate.
As for the best moment…honestly, this probably sounds a little cheesy…but there have been a couple times at Windy City when I look across at everyone playing that I get a little emotional. Knowing how our club just started less than two years ago and seeing where it is now having 48 people playing on Sunday nights is just an awesome feeling. And being on the ice and being a part of that is inspiring. Now, don’t get me wrong… I hope to have another “better” moment I can point to in February but for now…I’m sticking with that answer.
Do you watch much curling? Any favorite players/rinks?
I watch it every chance I can, but its not nearly often enough juggling work and three kids schedules. I will say I have about 40 hours of curling DVR’d that my wife continually asks why I keep.
One piece of advice you could give to any curler, what would it be?
Have fun. Just go out there and have fun…learn as you go. And ask a lot of questions every time you play. Fellow curlers love to chat so buy ’em a beer and pick their brains for sure.
Thank you Matt for the interview, and good luck on the season! The St. Paul Cash Spiel runs from October 9 – October 11. Team Jackson’s first game is against Team Workin at 1:30 (Central) on Friday 10/09. Follow along at CurlingZone, and we will post updates via our Twitter and Facebook pages as well.
Phil Darin is Windy City’s resident armchair curler who even plays from time to time. He often loses on the ice, but he always wins at broomstacking. Would you like to hear more about curling, whisky, or gambling? Are you Eve Muirhead?
Want to contact Phil directly? Do you need a restaurant recommendation in Vegas?