Sunday, October 21, 2012

Curling Recap I

Since curling is going to be a big part of my life for the next couple of months, I thought I'd share my experience with all of you in a weekly recap :) It's also a good way for me to chronicle things and keep a good souvenir :)

So here is a small introduction for those who are unfamiliar to curling. A team is composed of 4 members: a lead, a second, a third and a skip - that's also the order of throw. The skip is the captain of the team, the one calling the shots and the third is usually the vice-captain. So each member of the team has to throw two rocks and in a game, you alternate with the other team as well. Example: Lead from Team A throws a rock, then lead of team B, then lead of team A again, lead of team B followed by second from team A, second by team B and so on. An end is like an inning in baseball and terminates when all 16 rocks have been thrown - that's when you count the point. And a match can be 6, 8 or 10 ends. At the club, we play matches of 8 ends... so that means I'll be throwing 16 rocks total and sweeping 48 rocks LOL.

The club where I play has three leagues: open ladder, mixed ladder and TGIF league. Open ladder and mixed ladder are the competitive leagues, the teams are formed for the whole season (October to April) and are divided in different section. Depending on your win-loss records, you move up or down. The difference between open and mixed ladders is that in the open ladder, your team can be any combination of players you want: it can be all guys, all girls, half-half, 1 girl/3 guys or 1 guy/3 girls and there's not restriction in the throwing order. In the mixed ladder, a team has to be composed of 2 guys and 2 girls and the order of play must alternate between a guy and a girl: so either girl-guy-girl-guy or guy-girl-guy-girl. As for the TGIF league, it's meant to be social and play more for fun. Teams are formed for 6 weeks and then, are mixed up so players can meet and play with other people, at different positions as well. It's also where most new players start, to get accustomed to the game and get a feel :)

All right, introduction is done :) If you have any questions, please feel free to ask and I'll answer the best I can :P Initially, I only signed up for the TGIF league, but as I mentioned in a previous post, I got a phone call of one of the instructors asking me if I wanted to play in the mixed ladder and I said yes. So now, I play twice a week, on Thursday and on Friday, and I'm lead on both teams :) So here is how it went...

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Thursday

The team - So the instructor had told me my teammates were good players with a good caliber and therefore, didn't mind having a green curler for the lead position... Jeez, he wasn't kidding about them having a good caliber!! Our second is 18 years old and won the junior provincial last year and played in the national junior championship! And our third, well we have two thirds depending at which time we play (7pm or 9pm)... but it doesn't really  matter because J plays on the provincial level in women curling, having participated to a few provincial championships and A is part of the current provincial champion team for mixed curling and is participating in the national championship next month. That makes for an excellent team who can clean up my mistakes indeed LOL. As for our skip, well he hasn't played for a few years because of family schedule conflicts, but from what I heard, he's a good and experienced player :) 

LOL, I had a lot of people asking me who was my team when I tell them I play in the mixed ladder and when I tell them, I get pretty much the same answer: "Wow, those are good curler!" Yep, now I know LOL and pressure is on :P

The game - We won!! :) It was tight though... IIRC, the score was 5-4 and we had to play an extra end because it was tied. It came down to the last rock thrown and we won because the other team missed. I actually wasn't sure we have won till I met with the team at the bar... I thought we did, but didn't see the last rock thrown ^_^;

My performance - I didn't really know what to expect since it was my first game. In the end though, I was quite happy with my throwing... although I either have the weight or the position right ^_^; but hey, first game! Out of 16 rocks, only 3 were no good; not bad right! However, I can't say the same about the sweeping. Seriously, coming in the game, I thought the throwing would be the hardest... but nope, it was the sweeping! Mainly because I couldn't keep up with the rock thrown ^_^; Part of it has to do with my shoes being too slippery. It got better when I found a gripper (kind of a shoe cover that grips the ice). Another reason is not being the right place. Also, I realized after my match on Friday that on Thursday, I play with very experiment players, so they know when to sweep and when not to, so the skip doesn't yell as much. Me though? I have no idea when to, so I don't and usually, it's a bit too late. Something to work on :)

Level of soreness - Really not bad! I was really surprised LOL. No bruise on my knee and didn't have difficulty getting out of bed or going up or down the stairs :)

***

Friday

The team - I think I have a good team for the TGIF league as well. Our second is another new member in the club. He and his wife were actually at the free clinic I participated to a couple weeks ago as well. They have some experience as they used to play in another club... However, the average age of the other club was like 70 y.o., so they were quite on their own when it came to learning the proper technique and so on. Our third is a very nice lady and this is her second year curling. She tried it out last year with her son and signed up for the TGIF league and also ended up playing in the mixed ladder as well. As for our skip, I know he has a lot of experience. He also plays in the open and mixed ladder, so that means he plays three times a week. And from the shots he made on Friday, he is very good indeed. The feeling I get from him so far is that he's a bit of a smart aleck. I'm hoping we all get along well :)

The game - We also won this one, this time to a score of 6-5 (or perhaps 7-6). 

My performance - Not as good as Thursday. This time around, I'd say I have about 6-7 rocks that stayed in play and really, only the last four were anywhere near what the skip had demanded ^_^; It's hard because the ice seems to change from day to day, so I felt like I was throwing with the same strength as the night before, but it wouldn't go as far! And then, throughout the game, the ice changes as well... It's really hard to gauge :( But at least, I was able to sweep that night! 

Level of soreness - Bad! LOL. Still no bruise on the knee, but getting out of bed, ouch ^_^; I could feel my thigh, the groin area because I lost balance a few times while throwing the rocks ^_^; Oh and the shoulders... Ouch.

***
By the way, something I learned is that curling is as much a physical game than a mental exercise... The number of people I have met so far and whose names I have to remember!! LOL. Kidding aside, the members of the club are all very nice. A lot of people saw me and realized I was a new face and introduced themselves :)

It's also fun to see people of all ages on the ice and off the ice. I really like the fact that they are older people playing and they are good! Some of them are also newbies like the lead in the opponent team on Friday. I think it's awesome that they give this sport a try at their age, it's very motivational :)

Finally, the club is having a tournament for new members next week on Saturday and I signed up :) The concept is that the newbies will be paired up with more experienced players and will play at least 2 games of 6 ends. And at the end, there'll be a dinner :) I think it's a really great way to welcome the new members :)
 
So that's it for this week. Wow, long recap LOL. Shouldn't be as long next week :P

12 comments:

  1. During the next Olympics I'll finally be able to watch curling without thinking it's the weirdest sport ever ;-) Great to see you're having fun!

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  2. That's so lovely that your club does that! sounds like a great event for newbies!
    :D I'm so glad you're loving the sport :D

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  3. Sounds like a lot of fun! Congrats on your win.

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  4. Brie - LOL, you better Brie! There's actually a lot intricacies to the game and to be a good skip, it's hard! You have to know your players and how they throw, you have to be able to read the ice, strategize and also, make the important shots! :)

    Alex - Well one of the ladies I met said she participated last year and had a lot of fun :) So I'm looking forward to it! and yes, so far, it's been good :)

    Isabel - It is!! and thanks Izzy :P

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  5. I'm so excited for you, nath!!! This is so awesome.
    Thanks for explaining how the teams work and what they have to do on the ice--sounds fun and exciting!
    I think your sis needs to take video. ;)

    I'm not surprised your a bit sore. There's a lot of lunging and bending involved in curling! You should maybe do some strength training exercises in between the days you play.. squats and lunges, stuff like that.

    Can't wait to hear more!

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  6. Christine - Thanks Christine! It's cool to have people so excited for me :) Oh I have a video... but I don't think it's of me. I'll have to check. And LOL, Emilie didn't join me because of school and stuff :P But perhaps soon, she'll come to cheer me and then, I'll ask her to take a video or something :P

    LOL, I'll think about those exercises. They sure won't hurt :P

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  7. How very cool. I'm with Brie - it's really interesting hearing the detail behind the scenes, so to speak! I think your muscles will get used to it soon, and it sounds so much fun.

    Li

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  8. It sounds like you had a great time! And such a welcoming environment, makes it that much more fun!

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  9. Nath, how fun! You got lucky that you found a really good team with experienced players. You'll be learning all the tricks fast this way. :)
    I also think it helps that your team wins. You'll work harder to keep up with them. Hey! I'm not surprised that it's great exercise too, that's a good thing, right? Enjoy it, Nath...

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  10. Li - Yeah, I think my body will get used to it soon :) After Thursday, I was feeling great actually. It's after Friday I was all, ouch ouch :P And seriously, curling is a lot harder than what people think ^_^; Not only when it comes to throwing the rocks, but reading the lines and predicting the trajectory and all... Hopefully, I can learn all that soon :)

    Leslie - It is really a club LOL. People are there to play, but also socialize :) From what I figured, the bar is as important as the ice LOL.

    Hilcia - I know! I mean, the instructor had said they were good, but at that level?! Wowzer. I feel very honored, flattered and grateful that I was asked to join the team! :)

    And yes, it being a good exercise is a good thing :) As for continuing winning, well I'll do my best to be part of it LOL.

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  11. I'm so glad you took the plunge and joined the league. :P

    I look forward to reading more of your curling adventures.

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  12. Ames - Me too! I had my doubts at first, but really, it's awesome. Meeting new people, getting more exercise and having fun. I needed it :)

    And thanks! I was wondering if I should continue, but you've convinced me with this comment :)

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