The Whole Spiel

14 Episodes

By: USA Curling

Conversations with the people who are playing, promoting, and building the sport of curling in the United States. Ideas for growth, best practices for facilities, and thoughts on competing. Hosted by Dean Gemmell, Director of Curling Development at USA Curling.

Palmetto Curler and Twitter Voice—Brian Champion-Westcott

The Palmetto Curling Club has an active Twitter feed. We had a conversation with the person who runs it following the USA Curling announcement on the status of the GNCC within the national organization.

To find out more about USA Curling initiatives and events, visit our website. And you can always connect with me at

So they're curling in Oakland...

It's been a long and sometimes complicated journey, but there is a curling-specific facility in the Bay Area. On this episode, we're joined by two of the people who led the charge—Kate Garfinkel and Adriana Camarena—to talk about how things are going, their upcoming grand opening, and how they are working to weave the curling club into the fabric of the community.

To find out more about USA Curling initiatives and events, visit our website. And you can always connect with me at

First in a Series—Quick Clips from the Five-and-Under Nationals

A conversation with a curler who has been playing for less than five years and a curler who has played in five Olympics. It all comes together at the USA Curling Five-and-Under Nationals.

Second in a Series—Quick Clips from the Five-and-Under

It's a five-person team of people who have been curling for five years or less. Meet the Detroit-area team that competed at the USA Curling Five-and-Under Nationals.

Fourth in a Series—Quick Clips from the Five-and-Under Nationals

He curls in Nashville, Knoxville, and Atlanta, sometimes in a jacket without sleeves. It's Josh Newborn from the USA Curling Five-and-Under National Championship.

Third in a Series—Quick Clips from the Five-and-Under National Championship

A quick conversation with Justin Canfield of Nashville, TN, who talks about his journey in the sport and competing at the USA Curling Five-and-Under Nationals.

The Drayton Curling Club Gets a Reboot

A few years ago, Tom Grzadzielski, Tom Halcrow, and a crew of dedicated curlers in Drayton decided it was time to overhaul their aging, decaying facility. They wanted a great place to play and a club that would be a source of pride. It was no easy task, but their story should inspire any club facing the need to take on a serious renovation or move from skating ice to a curling-specific facility.

To find out more about USA Curling initiatives and events, visit our website. And you can always connect with me at dean.gemmell@usacurling...

Five-Time Olympian John Shuster

John Shuster and his team of Chris Plys, Matt Hamilton, John Landsteiner, and Colin Hufman will represent the United States on the curling ice at the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing. This will be Shuster's fifth trip to the Olympics, and I caught up with him for a conversation a few weeks after he earned it by winning the best two-of-three final against Team Dropkin at the Olympic Team Trials in Omaha.

Mixed Doubles Trials Winner Vicky Persinger and Chris Plys

Vicki Persinger and Chris Plys won the recent USA Olympic Team Trials for Mixed Doubles Curling, and will represent the United States at the Olympic Qualifying Event in The Netherlands in early December. I caught up with them during the short break they had between capturing the Mixed Doubles title and competing with their Men's and Women's teams at the Team Trials in Omaha.

Remember that you can watch round-robin and tiebreaker games from the USA Olympic Team Trials for Curling on and the NBC Sports app. The playoffs will move to the NBC Sports...

Two-Time All Pro Marc Bulger and Curling Director Carl Biltz from Tee Line of Nashville

A few years ago, Marc Bulger teamed up with other ex-NFL players Jared Allen, Michael Roos, and Keith Bulluck to form a curling team. While the results on the ice were mixed, Marc grew to love the game. So much so that he built a brand-new curling facility, Tee Line, in Nashville.

We spoke to Marc and his Director of Curling Carl Biltz about the vision, the plans for curling, and why the facility will be a first-rate sports and entertainment destination in the city. By the end of the interview, curlers will probably be planning their...

Craig Fischer on Building a Dedicated Ice Facility—He's Done it Twice

Since 2010, Craig Fischer has led the efforts to bring our sport and curling-only ice to Fort Wayne, Indiana. The first facility in the city, a conversion of a former bakery into a three-sheet club, opened in 2014. Just five years later, Craig and his team in Fort Wayne did it again, and moved into a new four-sheet home in September of 2019.

Craig and his curling colleagues in Fort Wayne aren't crazy—just incredibly focused on the details of the build-out and how to grow a new club. Craig has also introduced a model program for people with disabilities—it p...

Jenna Burchesky Talks Mixed Doubles Trials and Shares Thoughts on Youth Curling

Jenna Burchesky, playing with Ben Richardson, qualified for the upcoming Mixed Doubles Olympic Trials by finishing in the Top Four at the Mixed Doubles National Championship. Jenna grew up curling at Broomstones in Massachusetts, a club that has had a thriving junior program for a number of years. She is also working with USA Curling as a Club Relationship Manager.

Look for Jenna and Ben at the Mixed Doubles Trials. or watch a replay of their games on the USA Curling YouTube channel. Here's their semi-final game against Madison Bear and Andrew Stopera last May in Wausau...

Shane Ryan (Golf Digest) and Charles Star (Superfan)—Two Writers Talk Curling

What can two writers who aren't regular curlers teach us about our sport? A lot, actually. In this episode, we talk to writers and curling super fans Shane Ryan and Charles Star.

Shane Ryan writes about golf, sports, and culture. He is a regular contributor to Golf Digest, and you'll find his fresh takes in countless other outlets including Paste and the sorely missed Grantland. Ryan became a dedicated curling viewer during the pandemic, and shared his thoughts on the sport in Golf Digest.

Charles Star is a New York City attorney who says he w...

The Whole Spiel Launches—Cam Rittenour and Evan Workin from Team Brundidge

Here at USA Curling, we're launching a new podcast. It's The Whole Spiel, and it will feature conversations with, "...people who play the game, people who are building the sport, and people who just flat-out love it."

More episodes will be released this month but we're starting things off with an interview between host Dean Gemmell and Team Brundidge members Cam Rittenour and Evan Workin. It's an interesting conversation with two players who nabbed Olympic Trials spots last May when Team Brundidge finished second at the USA Curling Men's Nationals. You can find out more about Team...