Monday, November 1, 2010

Don't Make Me Get My Broom!!!!

Many years ago when I was visiting my new love interest in Vancouver, he took me to the local curling club for a drink and to watch a game.   I have to admit I wasn't a popular customer that day.  I thought it was a joke and started laughing.  The other patrons were not amused.  I never could figure out the weird score board and to this day it still baffles me.

Six years ago, my husband (yup - same guy) decided he was going to start curling again.  As much as I dreaded it, I signed on board.  I didn't want to do one more thing apart.  My only stipulation - if the skip (person running our team) yelled at me, I would quit!  Luckily we were put on a team with someone who couldn't have been nicer, had years of experience and was curling with his daughter.   We're still curling with him today.  Turns out the game is not a joke. I challenge anyone who thinks it's not a sport to try sweeping rocks up and down the ice for eight ends. Curling is like chess in many ways as well.  "Reading" the ice is a huge part and strategy is an endless learning experience.  We can all pity the skip who is calling a great game for a team who is missing all their shots.

There are many things about curling that still make me laugh.  I hate house cleaning at home and yet here I am once a week running up and down the ice sweeping with a "broom" in front of a 42 pound piece of granite while someone yells at me at the top of their lungs, "Sweep, sweep, harder, sweep harder!!!!"  I know it's not correct etiquette, but more than once when I hear, "Harder! Harder!" being yelled around me I snicker.  The scoreboard still cracks me up, too.  Surely there is a simpler way.  It has a horizontal line across the middle with numbers from 1 - ? which indicates the actual score.  Each team throws 8 rocks to complete one end and after counting the score, puts the number of the end above the current score.  That's right - you heard me.  Here is a sample scoreboard with the yellow team having 7 points and the red team having 8 points.  If this makes perfect sense to you and you haven't tried curling - time to call your local rink.  I think it was invented by Douglas Adams myself (read previous post), but that's just my opinion.



On the plus side, at the recreational level curling is an extremely social sport.  If you're on the right team it's really FUN and there is the chance all throughout the game to socialize with those you're playing against. Players range from young juniors up to seniors and the league I play in sports a wide age range - sort of like being in a neighbourhood.  De rigueur is going up to the bar after the game (every club has one) and sharing drinks and laughs with the team you played.  As with every sport, there is always a wind-up dinner and also the requisite wide range of crazy t-shirts to proclaim your love of the game (naturally I don't own a single one!) -

-I sweep but I don't do windows.
-Don't make me get my broom.
-I throw rocks at houses.
-Curlito Ergo Sum (I curl therefore I am).
-If Curling were easy they'd call it Hocky.
-Get stoned.
-Throw like a girl.
-Real women curl (without an iron).
-When hell freezes over, I'll curl there too.

The last Olympics also saw curling fashion take on fad status when the Norwegian team sported crazy multi-coloured pants.  Normally curling uniforms are pretty straight forward and staid, so when the Norwegian's walked on the ice with argyle print pants by Loudmouth Golf (www.loudmouthgolf.com), curling fans everywhere went crazy.  I was not surprised to see a few people wearing them for Halloween this year.  (Note - I don't own a pair of these either!)

Lastly - no sport is complete without being mocked in cartoons.  In closing I leave you with a couple more to enjoy.

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