I think the thing that's surprised me the most about this championship is just how flat out its been. I've really not had much in the way of downtime since I arrived here. I had all these plans to go and eat at some restaurants, catch a few movies and do a few other things. But that hasn't happened. Zero movies seen. And a quick trip to Burger King is about the only fast food chain I've hit.
Anyway, let's give you a quick update on what's happened Friday and Saturday here in the land where asking how to get around via public transit is still viewed with suspicion.
So after the disappointing loss to Newfoundland on Thursday it took a bit to get back into the game early the next morning. Then again, most of the men's teams find seem to find it hard to get going for a morning draw given the volume of drinking going on. I'm not being critical, by the way. It's just the way curling rolls. If there's no drinking happening, then something deeply weird is going on.
Anyway, we had the 10 am game against Quebec. We wanted to do well, but we started off kind of flat and missed some chances to get points. We were down 5-3 after six ends and things were looking a touch bleak, especially since we weren't getting many breaks. I was joking that if I had a dollar for every time one of my rocks "picked" (did something weird because it hit a piece of debris on the ice) I could afford to buy a pitcher of beer at St. George's. However, the breaks started to go our way and we got two in the 7th to tie and then stole two in the 8th when the Quebec skip's draw was heavy. So we won 7-5, which felt pretty good.
The last game was against Nova Scotia. It might seem crazy, but sometimes the worst thing you can have happen is get a lot of points in the first end. It can make you cocky and throw you off your game plan. Once we took four on them in the first, we kind of laid back. Plus, they were in trouble a lot in the first few ends. We had a chance for five and only got two. We had two chances for six and came out with one point and they stole one point.
Still, we were up 6-1 at one point, so we figured we had it well in hand. However, they kept nibbling back, getting some points and next thing we knew it was the last end, we were up 7-5 and they were lying two. Ooops. Ed's last shot was a draw which was a touch heavy (or we might have over-swept), but managed to stop about with about two inches to spare. Final score, 7-6 for Nunavut.
Our record for the week was 3-3, good for fourth out of seven teams in our pool. And we could have easily been 4-2, which is what Newfoundland ended up finishing. Everyone is impressed with how well we did. The women's team ended up finishing 2-4, tied for fifth in their pool.
And, I point this out not to rub in their faces, because they're nice people and we've enjoyed chatting with them, but both Nunavut teams did better than the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Another fact that may have been mentioned at some point to Canadian Curling Association officials during the last day or so.
Outside of curling, there was the "gentleman's night" on Friday. No strippers, as I think St. George's frowns on that sort of thing. But a ton of free, and really quite good, food, plus a local brewery did a free beer tasting. Much to the horror of my cousin in Calgary, I didn't drink any because, as I have stated, I hate the taste of beer. I think poor Randy, when he read that I passed on free beer, is preparing to excommunicate me from the family.
We had a bye on Saturday, so I was up at 8:30 and headed to a mall. I had a list of things that needed to be picked up, plus to try and do some Christmas shopping. Oh, and after that to go to the other side of Toronto to see some friends. The shopping was about what you expect. Take a huge mall, which includes a Wal-Mart, and go there with less than a month until Christmas. It was terrible, although not as terrible as I thought it would be, actually. Also, I didn't buy as much as I thought. Certainly having only two hands and no car helped.
Although the best part was when I went to Bell looking to buy a couple of receivers for the satellite dish on the house. The store in this huge mall and none left. Classic.
Then after sadly underestimating once again how long it takes to get anywhere in this city, I arrived a mere 40 minutes late to meet my friends. I got to see Steph again, twice in less than a week after going 17 years without, Hans, who is here doing his Phd, and Tara. I can't recall the last time I saw Tara, but it's been a few years. She's doing make-up and special effects stuff. I was looking at some of her stuff on her iPod Touch. Frankly, if the police ever arrest her, they're going to think she's a serial killer. But her work is awesome, in both a cute (she makes puppets for kids shows) and terrifying (half rotted corpses for zombie movies) way.
However, I really do want to see that short film she worked on about curling zombies. It looks like fun.
So what's left now? The finals are Sunday, followed by the closing ceremonies, the final banquet, a dance and then I'm up at 5 am to fly back to Iqaluit, where I land and get ready to move into the new house on Tuesday.
Oh yes, the house came through. Down to the wire, but on Tuesday, it's apparently all ours. What a deeply strange last few weeks. But more on that later.
Hopefully I'll have some pictures of the week to put up online in the next day or so. For those of you curious to see what Team Nunavut looks like in our team jackets. We're quite stylish.