You know the really awesome thing about events like this? You learn things about yourself. I haven't really gone to an event with lots of people like this in a long, long time. I'm really quite pleased with it all. It's astonishing how well I'm getting along with most of the people (well, one of the guys from BC is a drunken asshole), how much curling I'm learning and how much fun I'm having.
I've also learned one other thing...I can't zone out the sound of snoring.
Funny thing that. Cathy snores from time to time, but I nudge her and that's that. I'm not having any luck with my teammates. It's funny how things escalated. Night one involved putting a pillow over my head. Didn't work. Night 2 involved ear plugs. Didn't work. Night 3 involved headphones and an iPod. Some success, but very weird dreams. Night 4 saw the iPod option give up the ghost so I went out and slept in the hall. It was decided that was not good (people in the locker room were wondering who it was sleeping in the hall. I was not on the long list of candidates), so I should switch roommates. But nope, can't zone him out either.
Yes, I know, smothering them with a pillow is an option I've deeply considered. But then we'd have to dip into the spare pool at the Dominion and that's always a pain in the ass.
But here I find myself, 3:45 in the morning, in the business centre writing. My original plan had been to read in the corridor for a bit (I have a copy of Super Freakonomics), but the aforemented idiot from BC put a kibosh on the plan by turning me into a tourist attraction. "Wow, sleeping out here dude is fucked up." Yes, and being drunk 24 hours a day, including while you're curling is, in some circles, also considered deeply fucked up. But at least I was, up until now, polite enough not to say anything. However, now, I cordially invite you to go fuck yourself with a broom handle. Don't forget the lube!
Anyway, here I am in the business centre writing. Might as well do something constructive. Fortunately I managed to take pants with me before I left. I am clever like that when massively sleep deprived. Also, they frown on people wandering the lobby without pants.
However, no sense griping (all right, a little griping). Clearly I've been deeply remiss in my blogging. My apologies, but we really have been quite busy here the last few days. So let's see if we can get caught up.
A pretty spectacular opening night banquet. Sometimes these things can get boring, but they kept things right along and wisely served food while people were giving their speeches. Why is that something so hard to master?
We sat with the Manitoba's women's team (arranged seating, honey, honest) who were so clearly over the moon to be there. Plus, they got to meet Glenn Howard. For non-curlers, Howard is a former world champion and one of the favourites to represent Canada in the Olympics. You would have sworn a God was in the room. If Bono had entered the room with the rest of U2, I think they might have been ignored. One of the women gushed loud enough for him to hear "You're my favourite!" But honestly, it was said in such a way you couldn't help but be charmed by it. She loves curling. Good for her.
Anyway, it was a great speech ("remember the pride you feel wearing your province's coat of arms on your back. It doesn't get much better than that." Damn right), lots of good stories, and a good welcome to things. The best part, after meeting and getting our picture taken with Howard, was that several of the speakers mentioned how this was the first tournament to ever represent all 14 curling jurisdictions in Canada. That got a nice round of applause. Here's hoping the Canadian Curling Association is listening. We'd like to come and play at more events like this. Please let us.
Everybody is very impressed with the organizers. Whether or not the number is true, I can't say, but people have been saying Dominion spent anywhere from $1 million to $2 million on this event. I can believe it.
So, our first games. Let's just say there was a bit of adrenaline flowing through the system. Game #1 was against Ontario. I think we shot pretty good and we were really happy with the first six ends of the game. At that point it was Ontario 3, Nunavut 2.
That would be the point where we gave up four in the 7th end. Oooops. And at this tournament these are only eight end games. So that was pretty much that. However, I think we acquitted ourselves quite well and people seemed impressed we did that good against a team widely considered one of the favourites.
Game two was against Saskatchewan.
Oh holy fuck.
You know, I think I'm not a bad curler. Obviously there is considerable room for improvement, but I'm not bad. These guys play on another plane of existence. I'm not blowing smoke up their ass either. I told them after the game they are, by a mile, the toughest team I've ever faced. They had precise, nuclear take-out weight and just bombed themselves out of any trouble they got into once they had a lead. So we lost that one 9-0 after six ends.
However, we take some comfort in that other teams have faced similar horrors from this team. I think they're the odds on favourites to win this right now. Plus, they're really nice guys.
But the best part of Wednesday came after we left the club. The Nunavut women's team went on the ice at 8 pm. They also had to play Saskatchewan. I think you would have been hard pressed to find anyone in the club who would have given you odds on Nunavut winning.
They won 6-5. They took two in the last end for the win. We were already back at the hotel at the bar. I popped upstairs to chat with Cathy on Skype before she went to bed and checked the score online. When I saw how well they were doing I was running scores back and forth between the bar. When they finally showed up at the hotel they got a massive cheer and, I suspect, many free drinks.
It is, for the record, the first time a Nunavut team has won a national level curling game. So a bit of history there and keep that fact in your trivia pocket. For the record, give it up for Kristy Frampton - Skip, Geneva Chislett - Third, Penny Dominix-Nadeau - Second, and Robyn Mackey - Lead. They deserve it.
The morning began, probably entirely too early for the women's team, with a game against PEI. Which they promptly went ahead and won. This meant two things. First, at 2-1 they were in a tie for second place and in play-off contention. Secondly, it meant when we hit the club, we were getting it from all angles about how they were certainly setting the bar high and it was time for us to step up.
All right, fair enough. All said in good humour, but time to do just that. So our game was against PEI. It was touch and go for a few ends, but we pulled it off, 6-3. So we had our first ever win at a national event. I got to say, that was a pretty good feeling. We didn't do any big celebration on the ice, but it felt good. We'd won a game. I know some people didn't think we would even do that much, but we had. So we have that much.
The women's bid at going 3-1 kind of crashed. Good start with a steal of four in the first against Newfoundland, but things went AWOL and they ended up losing 11-5. Considering three of the members of the team are originally from Newfoundland, I think they kind of wanted that one.
So then it was our turn. Now, since I saw the schedule of games I had this one circled. We were all disappointed not to get a chance at the other two territories, but we were getting a shot at Newfoundland and I wanted to beat them. Badly. Nothing personal, they're good guys. It's just a thing.
It was a good, clean and very low scoring game. We had our chances, they had theirs. After seven ends it was 3-2 Nunavut. They had last rock. The plan at this point was to force them to take one in the eighth, we'd get last rock back and try to take it in nine.
However, as such things are, it went a bit off the rails. Our skip, who is probably upstairs beating himself up in his dreams, through on his first rock a hit on a stone in the top 12. The plan was to roll away, but he stayed there, leaving a guard. Newfoundland drew behind it, but it was still partially open. So all we had to do was hit and go into an extra end.
He through it inside. It wrecked on the guard, Newfoundland drew for two and won 4-3. I couldn't even watch the last rock be thrown. I actually did something that was probably a touch rude. I went and sat by myself for about 20 minutes until I was in a good head space, waited until all the other guys had changed (it gets crowded in the change rooms anyways) and then went upstairs.
Yeah, that sucked. So we're 1-3. It's not bad, but my goal was to go 4-2. We still have a chance to go 3-3. We have Quebec and Nova Scotia tomorrow. Well, in a few hours now, I guess. Hmmmm.
So how am I playing? Oddly, I was happier with my shooting yesterday. I thought I had pretty good draw weight and I was on target for my hits. Today was shakier. Plus I hated the way I played against Newfoundland. Missed too many shots and had to depend on others to bail me out. Kind of frustrating, but there you go.
Is there more? I'm sure, but seeing as how it's now nearly five in the morning and the lobby music is Christmas songs being introduced by John fucking Tesh (I am Clever, I remembered pants. However, I am not a Genius, as I did not remember the iPod). What is getting essentially no sleep for an entire evening going to do to my game play today? Well, that's going to be fascinating to watch, isn't it?
There's actually a "gentlemen's evening" at the club Friday night. It sounds slightly taudry, but given St. George's nature, I doubt it. Although the joke was that there will be strippers who will be wearing denim. And since denim is not allowed in the club, well....
I suspect, however, that I will be missing it and instead in a coma. I may consider sleeping pills tomorrow night, just to make sure any external sound sources do not impact me when I'm trying to sleep.
Hmmm, forgotten how much I ramble when I'm tired. Anyway, more later.
Christmas music. It's less than a month away and I understand that by social contract that it's allow now, but I'm clearly still not ready for it.