Sunday, April 03, 2011

Not dead, just curling

First of all, no Republic of Doyle review again this week. Sorry. My curling game got shuffled from Thursday to Wednesday. By the time I got home, there was 20 minutes left, which I watched and seemed fine. But I certainly didn't see enough to review or comment on. However, I will make sure to catch the finale this Wednesday. Can hardly miss the last episode of the season, can I?

But yes, I've actually been busy with curling this week. I haven't written about it much this season because it was a fairly frustrating year. Teams I tried to put together for the mixed championship and the Dominion both collapsed. Every year there is a team that always seems to be caught on the wrong end of the stick when it comes to having games cancelled because teams folded or people are away on duty travel. This year, it was our team.

And then, to put one final kick in the groin, we suffered what was, no kidding, my single worst loss since junior high. We were blown out 12-0 in five ends on the second last game of the season. So when we headed into the play-offs, I was not that optimistic.

And yet, strange things started to happen. Getting regular games gelled us as a team. We won the first game pretty easily. Despite blowing a 6-1 lead, we won the second game. The third game was against the second seed who had smacked us around pretty good early in the season, and we held on against them. Then we faced the #1 seeded team who beat us 12-0 and got a measure of revenge by knocking them out. And then we managed to win the final. We won our league night.

Six years I've been curling at the club and I've made it to the final twice before, but it was nice to finally win one. But what was even nicer was to get one for the rest of the team. Mark, who kept laughing and shaking his head in disbelief that we pulled it out. Troy, who has only been curling for two years. And Ashley, my rock at Third, who ran home to boast to her husband that she's now a curling champion.

I figured that was pretty much going to be the end of it. But we had the Canadian North bonspiel this weekend and we agreed to put a team in weeks ago. But after winning the league championship, this was for giggles. I think we were all hoping to be lucky enough to win a plane ticket (plane tickets are offered up as door prizes. This prevents stacked teams and keeps things a lot more fun) rather than winning the thing.

We won the first game pretty easily, but the second game was against two of the best players in the club, so I figured that was going to be the end of that streak. But we won (secret strategy, make sure they get drunk the night before, have to get up early to work on the ice and play still feeling hungover. I recommend it). The third game went to something ugly called Skip Stones. It's the equivilent of a shoot-out in hockey. Each Skip gets to throw one rock to break the tie. Closest to the button wins. I managed to get my shot about 6 inches further (I nearly killed my sweepers) than the other skip.

And then in the final, we got in trouble in the early ends. I gave the team a motivational speech (I won't say what it was, but it got them to laugh and it got them to kick it up a gear.) And next thing you know, we won the bloody thing. Two championships in less than a week. Unreal.

(And yes, that is a big ass and unsubtle trophy that Ashley is hoisting up there.)

I think if you have to end a curling season, that's not a bad note to go out on at all. Alas, none of us won any of the plane tickets, although we all got nice prizes for winning. I grabbed a $120 gift card for the Frobisher, where I will take my lovely, curling widow wife out to supper when she next wants.

I'll add two other things. First, the Canadian North is an awesome curling event. We can take 16 teams and the spots filled up pretty quick (although we had one drop out last minute due to an emergency). Canadian North provided, no kidding, six plane tickets. Five were door prizes and one was for the infamous frozen foot draw (slide on your bare foot on the ice. Closest shot to the button wins. $5 a shot, all money goes to the food bank). Plus there were tons of other door prizes. I also managed to get a cool 2010 Winter Olympics jacket. I will bet there is no event in Iqaluit where you have better odds of winning a plane ticket (by the time you discount the team who had to drop out, Canadian North employees and a few people who do not show up for the draw, the odds are about 1 in 13 of winning), plus be able to have an absolute blast.

The second thing is that I'd forgotten how superstitious I can get over curling. I haven't written about curling in recent weeks because, well, I was winning and not mentioning it on the blog, so let's keep that going. One of the play-off games happened on St. Patrick's Day so I wore a green shirt. And we won. So I kept wearing that shirt. I wore it for every game except one down the stretch.

For that matter, I had a nice Olympic fleece Cathy bought at a house sale (for 50 cents. Insane) that I wore to a game early in the play-offs. The opposing team stole two points early, then I took the fleece off because I was warm. Next end, we took five. It was never worn at the club again.

And so wraps up curling. I was at the club this morning helping to clean up and put things away. The City brought in the zamboni to try and get the ice off as they need the club for a banquet on Thursday (good luck with that). A rough start, but an excellent finish. Last year when the season wrapped up, I was done and looking forward to the break. This year, well, I'm looking forward to next season.

Last Five
1. Cry on demand - Ryan Adams
2. Alfie - Lily Allen
3. Do what you want, be what you are - Hall & Oates
4. Tick tick boom - The Hives*
5. The red light - Joel Plaskett Emergency


Weather Girl said...

Congrats! :)

In Iqaluit said...

Must! Resist! Making! Fun! Of! Your! Blog! Title!

Congratulations on another season of curling and for the win! And your superstition saved some of us non-curling readers. Ha.