So I spent all day yesterday taking part in the last curling bonspiel of the year. Hopefully I still have two regular season play-off games left, but regardless the ice is coming up this Saturday. Which might seem a bit early, but after yesterday's conditions, perhaps not.
For the record, I didn't win anything. Our team didn't do that well, but I played lots and was appropriately tired but in a pretty good mood when I got home last night. Nor did I win any of the four plane tickets that were up for grabs. Ah well. I will never win plane ticket up here. Some win plane tickets all the time. I am destined to not be one of these people.
No, the Extreme Curling came from the conditions inside the rink. The wall and ceiling are all metal and along each are hundreds of rivets. Ice and frost tends to collect along those rivets. Normally, it's not a problem. Most games are played in the evening or it's too cold for anything too happen.
But yesterday we played in the daytime. And while the temperature outside didn't go much higher than -15, there was some strength to the sun. Add in the extra warmth of a couple of dozen bodies curling and, well, we had an extra challenge on our hands.
Basically, the ice started to fall off the ceiling. Now, we're not talking CN Tower kind of ice with enough momentum to kill people. I only heard or saw of two people getting hit by falling ice at the rink. Which, considering the amount that was falling, borders on the miraculous.
But the ice presented other challenges. It shattered when it landed on the curling surface, meaning there was all kinds of grainy bits of ice. This occasionally made the rocks do weird things. Not to mention it got under the grip of your shoes, making it a bit slippery out there.
Then the ice was refreeze to the curling surface, adding extra bumps. I had one rock look like it was hitting speed bumps all the way down the ice. A couple of games we had to stop in-between ends, break out a scraper to take out the bumps, and then reclean the ice to remove all the debris.
Let's just say it made for an interesting day. I'm not complaining (ok, after one game I was complaining, but I got over it). But it was certainly a wild way to bring the curling season to a close.
An no, I haven't forgotten the Express. That will be up this evening.