Tuesday, 13 March 2012

From the Hogline

My second season of curling is wrapping up soon.

Winter was kind of non-existant this year, and my curling league didn't have any snow days. Since we aren't trying to make-up any games, we can fit another round of curling in before our end of year banquet at the begining of April.

I went into curling to get to know people in my new town and to get me out of the house during the winter. Having watched a little curling on television, I thought it'd be a pretty straightforward sport to try out. Boy, did I get a surprise.

I think curling is a lot like golf. They have pretty basic concepts, but the devil is in the details. In golf, the goal is to knock your little white ball in the hole hitting it as few times as possible. In curling, the goal is to make sure your coloured rock is closest to the button. Simple, right? I thought so, until I tried to do it.

You'd think that with growing up in Canadian winters I'd be a pro at being at home on ice. I have to admit, I'm not too bad since I don't fall too often. However, equipment has a lot to do with it. I intentionally don't buy winter boots that don't grip and avoid wearing regular shoes outdoors during the winter. Then comes curling where you wear a pair of shoes - one shoe has a gripper on the bottom and one shoe has a slider on the bottom. The slider is generally made of teflon, you know that stuff that makes frying pans non-stick? Did you know the thicker the teflon on your shoe, the more slippery the shoe and the faster you can go?

Can't say that I look as sophisticated as the picture of Jennifer Jones, but I don't feel that I'm the disaster on ice that I use to be.
Manitoba's Jennifer Jones at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts tournament in Red Deer, Alberta
I have to admit, for a long time I felt like this.

I feel much more comfortable on the ice this year, but still have so much trouble with the details of the game. You'd think that it'd be pretty simple to be on the broom and get the weight right consistently, but no such luck. I definitely have my good nights and my bad nights. I'm getting better and people comment about how much I've improved, so atleast I have that going for me.

The one thing I've loved about the game is changing positions. There are only four on a team: skip, vice, second and lead. When I started last year I always played lead, but this year I signed up to play second and occassionally play vice when someone is away. I cannot believe how much the game changes when you move from one position to another. The strategy changes immensely and the types of shots you need to make regularly are drastically different.

I love how each position gives me an entirely new perspective, now if only my curling would improve.

What sport have you tried out that you ended up liking?

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