Kevin Martin has walked off into the sunset, somewhat bent over under the weight of all that loot, and you’re looking around with a lost expression on your face wondering how the heck you’re going to get through the next few months without watching any curling on TV, or reading it in the Sports pages, or (unless you live in a town with a summer league) finding some on-ice action at the local club.
It’s a challenge we face every year, Grassroots Curlers, and here are a few tips to help you cope.
1. Relive the magic
An Internet search of “Olympics” and “curling” pulls up over 20 million hits. You can surf the web all day, and all night, and all day – and never come to an end. And that’s just the Olympics! Try “Grand Slam”, “Brier”, “Scotties” and – well, you get the picture. There’s the Canadian Curling Association site, the fan-friendly and very newsy folks at Curling.com, and all those other wonderful links which you can see listed on the left-hand side of this page. And let’s not forget The Curling News blog, source of wild and wonderful curling news, rumours, stories and links. Go forth and surf, Grassroots Curlers.
2. Get in shape for next season
One of the biggest strides the sport of curling made this year was to sell itself – and be recognized – as a sport that requires fitness, strength, flexibility and all that jazz. John Morris’ Fit to Curl made a splash, as did the obvious (and much-admired) fitness level of Cheryl Bernard at the Olympics. Real curlers know that you need sturdy legs, arms of steel, a back that doesn’t creak and enough gas in the tank to go eight ends – or more – several times in a day or weekend spiel. The required level of fitness doesn’t just happen, no matter how much we think we’ll be 20 years old forever. Now’s the time to hit the road, the bike, the weight room, the yoga mat – whatever turns your crank and will show results on the ice next season. Don’t wait for August – start now.
3. Embrace curling’s alter ego, golf
A lot of curlers are golfers, too: Wayne Middaugh, Russ Howard, Mike Harris, to name three. I know it’s not a game played on ice, but golf does have its attractions. Fresh air, cool clothes, the 19th Hole. (We don’t have to mention Tiger Woods, do we?) And it can be a cruel game too, just like curling. Four members on a “team”. A long implement that helps propel the playing piece (ball, as opposed to rock) forward. Celebratory drinks when the game is done. Not so far away from the things we love about our own game, right? If you’re suffering the night sweats and trembling associated with curling withdrawal, golf might just help ease you through to next season.
4. Take a break
And if all else fails, bury your equipment in the back of the sports closet until next year and just, simply, walk away for a while. This was a season of highs and lows, excitement and drama. It was fantastic, exciting, exhausting and draining. The number of shots we had to call! The number of games we had to analyze! Oh, the times those players on TV just didn’t listen to us! Let it go and take this time to regroup and recover. It might just be time to take a break…
Until next season, when you can fire up your curling engine, refreshed, recharged and ready to give ‘er, all over again.
(Photo by Jean Mills)