Popular in the chilly lands of Scotland, Sweden and Canada (and I’m sure many other places), curling was not on my list things I must do before I’m too old and scared to go sliding around on ice. But try it I did, one weekend afternoon with a couple of friends here in Vancouver.
Four of us turned up to try, what appears to me at least, to be bowling on ice. We had our own instructor who gave us the basics and then led us through some warm up exercises (got to take this game seriously you know!). She then proceeded to demonstrate, with no apparent effort, how one slides the stone along the ice and then asked “Who wants to go first?”.
I always hate that moment, when you are the asker, and no one responds, so I (bravely) volunteered myself. I mean, how hard could it be right?
With my curling broom tucked under my arm, and the stone (darn heavy it was!) resting on the ice under my hand on my other side, I got into the start position and slid the stone back and forth a few times, weighing it up, before launching myself forward a few steps and gracefully sliding along the ice while watching the stone slide all the way to bulls eye at the end. Oh, no wait. That wasn’t me, that was everyone else. … launched myself forward, let go of the stone, and immediately toppled over sideways, where the wonderful broom tucked under my arm for balance hit the ice and cracked it. I shit you not. My far superior curling companions snickered and giggled. Smug bastards.
After a few more of these episodes, where my balance improved and I managed not to crack the ice any further, we had a little mock game. Do you ever feel the afternoon is dragging on? Yea, it was one of those…
Needless to say, I haven’t found my new niche sport. But kudos to those of you who spend hour after hour on the chilly ice, sliding around and hefting stones and brooms and enjoying yourselves. It takes far more skill than it appears.