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.

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