I decided that in each post, I'll try to share a bit about the game, so you guys will know and understand it a bit more and no longer think curling is the weirdest sport ever LOL.
I thought I'd start with the basic today. Why is it called curling? Well, curling ice is not like skating ice. Apparently, if you throw a rock on skating ice, it wouldn't travel very far. What makes the curling ice different is that it is pebbled. So you have the ice and usually, before a game, someone will walk and water the ice with droplets of water, creating a texture... This allows the rocks to travel. Also, the reason why it's call curling is because the rocks will never travel straight, the trajectory will always curve or as they say in curling, curl LOL, especially since a rotation clockwise or counter-clockwise is applied. However, the harder you throw, the straighter the rocks will travel. And why are they people sweeping the rocks? Well sweeping does two things: 1) it helps straightening the trajectory and 2) allows the rock to be drag farther. Apparently, if you have really good sweepers, you can drag the rock several feet.
By the way, those curling rocks? They are made of granite, all 8 of them the same size, and weight about 40 pounds. That's why a curling sheet is symmetrical - i.e. two hacks, two hog lines and two houses on either side. You start from one side and instead of dragging back all the rocks after an end, you start from the other side for the new end.
The house is the target rings. I don't know if you can see to the other side, but there is another house. In the second picture, my sister is getting ready to throw... That's the hack.
Next week is going to be how the scoring works :)
The team - I got to meet our other third :) I actually saw her at the free clinics back in September and back then, I thought she looked intimidating. Of course, she turns out to be really nice LOL. I also found out that our second is quite competitive... It's really no surprise given the level at which he plays, but it translates in being a bit sulky on the ice from time to time. However, he was able to let go after the match while we had the customary drink, so that's good :)
The game - We lost big time LOL. I think the score was either 7-2 or 9-2 by the sixth end, so we conceded. They are usually 8 end matches and I think you have to play a minimum of 6 ends. The good news in my opinion is that we all played so-so, you really couldn't pinpoint anyone in particular for the loss. And our skip just couldn't draw - a shot to the house. His first two went through and the rest of the match, he was too light ^_^; Although our second was able to drag one in at the 5th end by sweeping, everyone was amazed because it was seriously light. And if we look at it on a positive side, from here on, we can only play better :)
My performance - Like the rest of the team, my performance was so-so. I had a few throws too light, especially at the beginning of the game, because the ice just got pebbled and therefore is slower. As a lead, I'm usually asked for guards which are shots that stopped in front of the house. However, in one of the end, I was asked to take an opposition stone out and my teammates had told me I had to throw it harder... LOL, I got in, kicked away from the hack and then I remember, harder! So I gave the rock a push with my arm/hand and the rock just flew! Let just say my sweepers hadn't seen it coming LOL. And by the way, I totally missed ^_^; Oh and usually, when you throw, you shouldn't push with the arm ^_^; All the end do is guide the rock...
Our standing - If I'm not wrong, there's only one team that has 2 wins. I guess that means another team has 2 loss and everyone else is at 1-1, so not bad :)
Level of soreness - As we haven't played a complete match, I was fine the next day :)
The team - I'm getting to know my skip better which is good. I find him a bit intimidating, but he's not bad at all. Oh apparently, I don't align probably sometimes to throw my rocks... So he's there at the other end of the sheet, giving me hand signals LOL. And when I do it right, I get a thumb up. But yeah, very funny to watch him trying to tell me if I'm aligned probably or not. Oh and I love our third in this team! Her name is Jennifer and she's a second year curler, very keen. I get along really well with her :)
The game - Another loss, although this one was much tighter. IIRC, the score was 6-5 and they won on the last rock.
My performance - Better than the previous day I believe. I had a few bad stones as usual, but a few nice one as well :) What's so hard is repeating what you did right. Like throwing two good stones in a row? Very hard!! And as time goes by, the ice changes as well! It gets quicker... So a rock that didn't reach the house in the first end might go halfway through in the middle! On the Friday's match, I do a lot more sweeping and at one point, it was so funny. So the second threw a rock and it was going to make contact with an opponent rock and once it hit, our skip yelled "keep going!" So I kept sweeping our rock and he was like: "No, this one" LOL, he wanted us to sweep the opponent rock! Yeah, sometimes, it's really hard to tell what they want :P
Level of soreness - Still good ;)
Bonspiel means tournament in curling language :) So there was an in-house tournament on Saturday, followed by dinner. The purpose is mainly to introduce the new members of the club. At the club, there's curling Sunday to Friday and that means, depending on how much curling you play and on which days, there are people you don't get to meet. Say you play at night, well there's very little chances you are going to run into day curlers. So this is an occasion to get to know more people and I think it's really cool that the more experienced players also join :) How did it work? People signed up and they were assigned to teams and then, got two play 2 matches of 6 ends. Winners were calculated based on a point system: a win was 5 points, a loss 2.5 points. Then, it was 2 points for each end in which we scored and finally, the differential ("how much you won by" x 0.5 points). At the end, you added your points from each match and got a grand total... and guess what?
Yep, my team won!! Woohoo! There was only two teams who won both their games, which worked out well because the two best teams won a prize... But my team had the highest score :) We won our first match 8-3 and our second, 7-1. It's funny because for our first game, we played against another team whose skip is really experienced. I'm talking about really, really experienced and plays at a high competitive level. So my skip who has played with and against the opponent skip for a number a year was all like: "Okay, let's go get our butts kicked" and really, I can understand his reaction, because when I saw whose team we were playing against, I was like, "Oh, that's going to be a tough game." And all I know is the other skip is good, I've actually never witnessed him play ^_^; But in the end, it just worked out really well for our team. We got lucky on a lot of shots too where situation Bs were as good as Plan A LOL. And Lady Luck didn't smile on our opponent teams as much... so by the time it was the skip's turn, they didn't really have a shot or had to do damage control.
It was the first time I played 2 games in a day and that was my third day in a row curling. The good side is that I played well. There were quite a few of my rocks that ended in the right positions! Yay! I did lose my balance three times while kicking out of the hack which hadn't happen to me in a while though. And I did fall at one point... I really don't know why. Probably, stepped wrong. Luckily, I landed on my side, so didn't hurt myself too much. And it seemed it was the afternoon of falls because Jennifer who was playing for another team also fell while sweeping and another third also. Anyway, I think at the end of the day, I'd say perhaps 4 to 6 out of my 24 rocks were not good meaning they went through or didn't reach the hog line. I'm happy with that number... and boy, did I sweep yesterday! LOL. That's the bad side. My arm is pretty sore and my knee hurts if I put pressure on it ^_^; But it's all good.
And I had a great time meeting new people at dinner :) A lady volunteered her time and made ham, a potato casserole, salad and apple crisp for about 60 people. I helped peeling apples for the apple crisp. Luckily, she had one of those peelers where you just need to stick the apple and turn the handle LOL. As I said, it was nice meeting others and I stayed till 9pm... because I was just so tired LOL.
But so far, I really enjoy the curling and I love the club and the people. Everyone is very nice, people are very welcoming and I just like the ambiance of it. I'm already pretty sure I'll be signing up next year. Even though it's a 40 minutes drive, it's really worth it. I'm really glad I started curling.
Speaking of tournaments, some exciting news! :) So there's this tournament called the Debutantes and it's for women curlers with 5 years or less of experience. Well my Friday third, Jennifer, she wanted to participate last year, but they close the entry after 8 teams. So this year, she's going to try again and guess whom she asked to join? Yep, yours truly! So that's going to be in January. She had another lady in mind for skip and that lady proposed another player to round up the team. I actually ended up playing with the other player, Debbie, in the Opening Bonspiel LOL. Happy coincidence. And we decided it wouldn't hurt to get some practice under our belt as a team, so we are also going to sign up for another tournament that takes place in November 17. That tournament is a club tournament, so it's all the different club in the Montreal area playing against each other. They need a minimum of 4 women teams per club and I'm guessing it'll be by point system, similar to the Opening Bonspiel, where the total score will include all the games from a club's team.
So yeah, a lot of curling ahead of me! :)