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Friday, June 22, 2012

Remembrances of (curling) things past...

Jacket and broom, tucked in the corner since
 the season ended in April...
Ah, summer. Love it.

But as I was doing some tidying up today, I found myself in the back door hallway picking through jackets and fleeces that needed to be put away, and what did I find, but my son's curling jacket and broom.

Talk about flashback!

Despite the heat, and the slower pace, and the brighter sunshine, and all that goes with late June and the approach of the true, short Canadian summer, I was suddenly overcome by a Proustian moment: transported to those wintry Tuesday and Thursday after-school sessions at our local curling club, coaching my son's school team.

Well, "coaching" might be too strong a word. I directed, supported, advised and encouraged.

The  kids were actually led by two experienced young skips who, with the support of their parents and our school's Director of Varsity Sports, had got the whole thing rolling on their own. They made up their teams, followed their skips' advice, watched and learned by example, and allowed me - heck, they even asked me - to play with them during practice when we were short a body.

It was curling at its purest: a bunch of kids playing for fun - and learning while they were doing. Could they all slide, throw and sweep with perfect technique by the end of the season? Nope. But they were well on their way, having modelled themselves on their two well-trained skips.

And, thanks to my obsession with curling etiquette, they knew where to stand, when (and when not) to move, how to respond to good shots and bad, and what a role sportsmanship plays in the sport. They even learned how to manage that wacky scoreboard and picked up some with-hammer/without-hammer strategy as well.

By the end of the season, they were hooked. And every one of them was signed up for next season.

A sudden glimpse of a curling jacket and broom tucked in the corner...

The sights and sounds and feelings resurface - happy memories of a season past.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Name that team! That curling team, I mean...

The curling season is over, summer is creeping in, and - let's face it - I'm bored.

One of many little pieces of paper I collect - this one with
cool curling team names I noticed at the club.
So I'm going through the stack of papers piled on my desk. I'm a writer, which means everything I read is a possible prompt for a story, interview or article. My collection of scrawled notes and ripped-out articles and yellow stickies grows over the months, until eventually I have to sit down and bring order to the chaos.

Which is what I was doing today when I found this: a list of team names I copied down at my curling club in February. It was a Wednesday night, and I had just come off the ice with my Ladies' team. The club manager took the microphone to rally the teams for the next draw - a mostly-beginners business league.

A league with great names!

As she read them out, I listened with growing interest. Anyone who loves words and works with language as much as I do can't resist the sound of people playing around with puns and adjectives and allusions etc. Once the teams hit the ice, I scurried over to the glass where the draw was posted, and I scribbled down some of the names. For posterity. For fun. For this blog.

So here goes: fun with curling team names. Some more creative than others...

Legion of Broom
Rock Stars (okay, not so original)
New World Curlers
Stocks & Stones
Hack Ups
Don't Hit The Hack
Nick's Bitter End
Drunken Hacks
On the Rocks...

And my personal favourite...

The Sheet Disturbers.

Enough with the Team (insert skip's name here) already! Give me a creative curling team name, any day. Any day soon would be nice. (Only another couple of months until the ice goes back in...)

(Any cool team names out there?)