Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Playing on Ice

Sounds echoed off the rafters and I tried to block them well enough to remember what I was supposed to be doing. I looked down at my feet. One was resting on a slider, the other was braced against a piece of plastic wedged into the ice. I thought the hosts had called it a hat, but I wasn't certain.

I drew my weight up some. I wanted my center of balance over my foot and had to ignore the temptation to move it forward, over the curling stone. My right hand gripped the stone's handle, my left wrapped around the balancer, a construct of plastic piping that I was told was far more forgiving and easier to use the than brooms Olympic curlers tend to rely on.

Right... Was there something else I was supposed to be doing? I looked down the ice to where my husband was playing the role of skip. He held a hand out. Oh, yeah. I was supposed to turn the stone so I could give it a spin just before I released it, making it curl.

The ice tried to hold the rock still as I wiggled it from side to side. It broke free with a little pop of suction, suddenly able to move freely. I got the handle right. I looked at my feet again. I looked up at the host, who nodded. I loosened the rock again, because it had already started to re-stick to the ice.

I pushed forward, wiggling and wobbling as I slid on the ice. When the hosts did this, they glided like the people on TV. I was a long way from gliding. Still, I could have been worse, several members of my group splattered onto the ice the first time they tried this. Truth be known, I was a little proud of myself simply for not falling.

I released the rock just before I started slowing down, remembering to turn it but sending it way too far to the right.

My son was waiting to be one of my sweepers, but he wasn't expecting the rock to be as far to the side as it was. It clipped his foot. Which meant several things... 1.) The rock was burned and would be removed from play. 2.) The rock was slowed enough not to make it into play anyway. And 3.) My son may never forgive me for hitting him with a curling rock.

(Eric with a kiddie curling rock.)

So, yeah... I went curling this weekend! (Yes, really and truly!) It was a lot of fun and although I wasn't very good at it, I also didn't seriously hurt anyone or get hurt myself. In addition to the people who went splat trying to the throw the rock, we also had a girl slam face first onto the ice while sweeping. One second, she was scooting along with her broom, the next the impact was sounding through the entire building. Luckily, she seemed more embarrassed than hurt. Still, it helped me understand when the kids' curling teams took the ice and were all wearing helmets.

I was pretty sure before I went that curling is a lot harder than it looks. I was right. It's a little like bowling while standing on one ice skate and leaning forward to touch your toe with your non-throwing hand as someone pushes you.

I'm very glad I went and my family is seriously considering joining the club. (Seattle people: that's the Granite Curling Club in north Seattle. They have another open house next Sunday. =) I learned a lot and get to mark it all down as work because I was honest when I told Twitter I was going to write a curling book. Yes, even though this is crazy. It's not about curling, it's about a curling team, so maybe that makes it less crazy. And it's a lot like PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, just with curlers rather than sisters. I'm excited about it, even though I'm very confused by the fact that no one in it is dead, undead, Fae, or able to change shape. The entire cast being human is just strange...


C.A. Marshall said...

"And it's a lot like PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, just with curlers rather than sisters."

I officially love this sport. Too bad there are no sheets around here.

I'd totally read that book.

Andrea Brokaw said...

I'll let you know when I finish it. :)