Saturday, February 19, 2005

tournament of hearts - YES!!

Canada’s premiere women’s curling bonspiel - the Tournament of Hearts - begins today! I curled a little myself one winter when I lived in Hazelton. A group of us went to Smithers to curl every week. Predictably, I was lousy at it - as I am at every sport! (For an explanation of how it works, Kim of The Upward Call has explained it very nicely here.)

But I love watching others do it well. Here are some reasons to watch (and love) curling:

1. It’s a smart game. It’s been called chess on ice. Each skip works on setting up the house to their advantage several ends away - anticipating what shots the opponent has, and trying to block them while at the same time, getting their own rocks-in-a-row, for that the final button shot.

2. It’s a polite game. No bashing people around, getting penalties, bloody noses and broken necks (like some other games we know).

3. It’s played by ordinary folks. Where else do people who in real life are clerks and accountants and technicians and housewives get a chance to be in the sports spotlight?

4. It’s easy to watch. No guessing where the rock is. No missing the play. No question about who’s who. Also, the close-up television shots of players’ faces give watching it a huge human interest factor.

Here’s a ditty I wrote about curling a couple of years ago - a little work done in an attempt to placate my conscience for those hours frittered in front of the TV...


In the hack and grip your rock
crouch so low and glide so nice
eyes on broom across the sheet
send the stone along the ice.

Skip is yelling form the house
to the sweeper, Hurry hard!
Rock is light and slowing fast
comes to rest, a perfect guard.

Rival stone sits in the rings
(they would dearly love to steal)
Throw a bullet, is the call,
Sweep it clean, we want to peal.

Now the house is getting full
stones in twelve-foot, four-foot, eight-
try the double, watch the jam
need to throw a lot of weight!

It’s our hammer and last rock
draw to button a clear shot
sweep for line and watch it curl –
it looks easy, but it’s not!


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