17 October 2012

A New Season, With Stability

Well, this is a new curling season.  I have new pants.  I have a new broom.

And, for the first time in about a decade, I don't have a new team.  My team this year - for league play, anyway - is the same team I ended last season with.  And I feel good about this.  We finished strong, and I spent my summer studying strategy.

It's good to have a stable team.  I know how each member of my team will throw.  I know my lead will put up two fantastic guards, every time.  I know my 2nd will throw takeout weight when she needs to.  I know my vice will draw right where he needs to.

And I know my skip will lose games for us.  That's OK.  I'm the skip.

10 April 2012

The Best Curling Video Game Stars An Italian Plumber And A Blue Hedgehog?

Given the lack of curling ice over the summer in the Northeastern United States (or at least my access to it), I have taken to practice my curling strategy using the great medium that is video gaming.  Here's the problem - no one has figured out how to make a truly great curling video game.

07 April 2012

Curling Season Is Almost Over.... Or Is It?

For many of my readers, curling season has ended.  Many more of you are seeing the season winding down.  The women's World Championships are done, and the finals of the men's Worlds are coming in just a few short hours.  Next week, the Player's Championship, the culminating event of the Grand Slam of Curling season, is coming.  Many of our clubs have gone to slush, or will in the next two weeks.  My home club goes to slush on April 21st.

Curling is done for the year, or is very nearly so. At least, that's what conventional wisdom says. But here in the US, it's not exactly true.

11 March 2012

A Wicked Guilty Pleasures Special Cross-Post!

As many of you know, this is not my only blog.  I have a little blog that is dedicated to musical Wicked Guilty Pleasures that I co-author with my friend, Scott Colvin.  Today, I posted the 2nd tribute to great songs about curling. The first was a spotlight on the song "Tournament of Hearts" by The Weakerthans, the greatest song ever written about curling, to coincide with the end of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Today, to celebrate the end of the Brier, I posted this spotlight on the 2nd greatest song ever written about curling, Johnathan Coulton's "Curl".  You can certainly go read about this on my other blog - and please do - but I wanted to make it easy for you to see this one.  So, to that end, here it is, in its entirety!

06 March 2012

Sheet A

I fell while curling last night. I don't fall much anymore, but every once in a while, I can and do slip a little bit.

This wasn't a little slip. This was a spectacular flop on my back. I hit the ice hard, and kicked a stone (at rest, not on the move), sending it airborne. I didn't hit my head, thankfully, but my back and elbow were sore, as was my toe (from kicking a stone) and my pinky. And it knocked the wind out of me for a moment.

I continued to play - I lost, but I wasn't going to let my fall be the reason why. And today, my pinky, ankle, and neck are sore, but I am otherwise OK.

I was playing on Sheet A.

My second week curling, ten years ago, I was sweeping a stone with a fellow curler, Ben Emerson - he has since passed away - on Sheet A. He fell spectacularly on his back. He did hit his head - as I recall, there was blood - and that ended his season. It nearly ended his curling career, right when it had started.

I don't like Sheet A. I can't avoid playing on it, but I get bad feelings every time I play there. Not only are there several injuries in its history, it plays funny. Rocks curl sharply towards the wall, as if there are magnets attracting them there.

And yet, I usually play well there. I've learned its foibles, and I'm usually extra careful there. I tell my team to be careful there as well.

But, as I learned - or, rather, was reminded - last night, curling can be a dangerous sport. I had gotten comfortable with Sheet A, and I let my guard down. But I kept my head up, literally and figuratively. Even though I lost my match, I feel Sheet A and I have a working relationship now.

Until Sheet A trips me up again. Then all bets are off.