Saturday, April 10, 2010

On the Ice Again...

My wrist turned, taking the rock's handle to exactly ten o'clock. I concentrated hard as I pulled the stone back and then moved it forward again. It had taken several ends for someone to spot the reason I kept getting my spin wrong. It had to do with turning my wrist a second time before my lunge. Well... Except for the quarter of the time or so when it had to do with me getting the skip's signal backwards.

I got the direction right this time. But as my knee came down on the ice, something I couldn't seem to stop doing despite the massive bruise that had sprung up there, I realized I'd been so concerned with the handle I hadn't put any thought at all into the weight I was throwing with. Had I used too much? Too little? Had I gotten it right by sheer chance?

The rock went down the ice... Too far to the side. Misaimed. And, yes, the weight was wrong too. It sailed right through the house. It was supposed to have been a guard. You know, one of those rocks that stop before the big circles?

In my defense, at the start the weight may have been fine. But the ice conditions had changed. It was something that I knew happens through the course of a game, but until I played my first one I had no idea exactly how strong the effect is. It's massive. A serious bowler will tell you bowling lanes change as you play on them too, but you have to be a good bowler to notice it. You do not need to be a good curler to notice the changes in the ice.

Of course, I'd had trouble with guards from the beginning. I kept hitting high in the house rather than stopping shy of it. Which is actually the way I call games when I play on my DS, not being aggressive enough to want to use the free guard rule most of the time, but isn't what my skipper wanted to do and thus not what I was trying for that night.

On my second throw, I got my weight closer to where I wanted it. And my aim was better. But I forgot about making sure my wrist stayed still so my curl was all wrong. I hit one of the other team's guards and groaned.

There was a brief discussion between the skips while I shook my head and wondered what was going to happen now. On the first two throws, you aren't allowed to remove the other team's guard from play, so what I'd done was bad. But they seemed to be debating something about the rock in question. Had it been touching the house? If so, it was fair game.

The skips left the rocks where they were and the other team's second lined up in the hack.

Turns out, I had hit a guard. But though it landed outside of the house, it was still in play. So I hadn't removed it. So the shot was fine. It was arguably a good shot if we'd been meaning to do that. Not that I could have thrown it if I were trying.

I grabbed my broom and waited for my turn to sweep, trying to hold the handle in a way that wouldn't aggravate the blister I had formed on my left hand.

Upstairs, my son stood by the window that looks over the ice and waved at me. With a smile, I waved back. It was good having a fan, even if I obviously didn't know what I was doing.


***

So, yeah, I'm a bit late in writing about it, but the week before last my husband and I both curled in our first games. We'd gone into Seattle to get some practice time in because we'd only done a throw each at the open house and got picked up as subs in league matches afterwards.

I had a complete blast and learned a lot. And despite having me on board, my team won. On the down side, I really did have blisters and a bruise that still hasn't healed all the way. And my legs were sore enough that I limped for days, due in large part to poor technique but possibly also because I don't usually run that much. And my arms hurt, because sweeping? Yeah, it's not like sweeping the kitchen. It's aerobic and it requires muscle. So if you're in the “curling's not a real sport” camp, I wish I could share that pain with you. All in all though, I'm very glad I was able to play and I'm looking forward to my league starting up next week.

My first game as part of Granite Curling Club's Spring League will be Tuesday evening. The beloved and I will be on the same team, along with two people with years of experience who will hopefully be able to resist the urge to kill me. I'm assured most teams don't kill their leads very often. Still... Wish me luck. =)

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