So this is a big weekend to me and, in a very geeky way, I've been looking forward to it all week. That being I'm playing in the Furspiel.
Yes, I know, but I didn't name it. Plus, it has some history, although no actual furs will be awarded this weekend, but have been in previous years.
I'm shooting second stones on a curling team that has to be considered one of the favourites so I'm hoping for a fun, and potentially profitable, weekend. First prize is $2,000 for the team, second is $1,300, third place is $800. Peanuts for some of the other bonspiels played in Canada, but pretty serious stuff up here. Plus it's $100 per person to enter (other bonspiels are about $25 per person to enter) so it's mostly the serious and good curlers out in force this weekend.
I just finished playing tonight (we won 12-8, but we were lucky), and we're back at it tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. and again at 12:30 p.m. After that it depends on how we do. The final is Sunday afternoon. There's also a skills competition that I stand virtually no chance at, but ought to be amusing. Finally, there are door prizes of plane tickets to Ottawa and other goodies.
However, this is going to be more "serious" curling. Most of my normal weekly games are six ends. A serious game can go eight ends. This weekend the games are 10 ends and no team can quit, no matter how badly they're being blown out, until the end of six. Also, while my normal weekly games aren't exactly cheating affairs, you do tend to let people get away with some things they shouldn't. Players have specific places they're supposed to be standing when the opposing team is shooting so you don't distract them. Some players cheat a bit on how the sweep a stone. For example they will sweep off to the side hoping it will curl more in that direction rather than across the full face of the stone. Small things, really, but they can make a difference in a game. Lord knows I'm probably guilty of the odd infraction during the run of a game.
But the biggest racket is going to be over hogline violations.
For the non-curlers out there, this is basically the rule. When you're sliding out with the rock you have to release the rock before the front of it touches the blue line (hog line) about 30 feet or so away from your starting point. If your hand is still on the rock once it reaches that line, then it is considered "hogged" and removed from play. A single stone, removed at a critical moment in a game, can be a big deal so people take it seriously.
Let's just say there are a few people in this bonspiel that have been known to cross the hog line with their hand still on the rock. I remember during a bonspiel last year the opposing skip was hogging rocks badly. I didn't want to be a poor loser (he was beating me) so I let it slide, but after the game I told him that he was hogging stones and that he might want to be careful about that in future games.
He ripped my head off. He had been curling for x number of years, and no one have ever accused him of doing this because he didn't do it. I honestly thought he was going to punch me for a moment. To an extent I understand. I basically accused him of cheating, which is a serious accusation in a "gentlemen" sport like curling. Still, he did overreact just a bit.
However, with a decent amount of money at stake in this one and organizers saying we're playing by strict rules, people are going to call these violations if they happen so it ought to be interesting to see how people react. Hopefully bloodshed will be kept to a minimum.
The other thing about this weekend is that Cathy is going to join an illustrious group known as "curling widows". Basically I'm going to be tied up with this all weekend. She can come down and watch and can get access to the private club upstairs, but I don't think she's going to show up that much. She likes curling, but I'm not sure she likes it enough to spend hours in a curling club watching me play.
Besides, she has her porn this weekend.
Yeah, that requires some explanation.
I'm not talking about real porn here, the kind you might find on satellite or late night on Showcase. Nor am I talking about all the Laurell K. Hamilton books she has. Rather, I'm referring to the six hours of coverage on the Outdoor Life Network of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Yes, six hours of dogs parading around on TV. She will be in her glory, glued to the TV set, probably cuddled up with Boo telling him that one day that could be him prancing around in front of the cameras.
Although I don't think Coton de Tulears compete in the show. Small matter as Cathy prefers watching the working class breeds anyway. So I'll be curling, she'll be watching dogs and all will be right in the world. We'll meet up sometime Sunday evening and compare notes on how our weekend went.