Thursday, March 31, 2016

My Last Saturday League Curling

This past Saturday was my last league night for the season. I played pretty well and it was a fun night with our Skip putting on the bunny ears I brought for Easter. Also a friend from my condo complex had his son visiting and he took some great pictures of me curling and I will share some here.
As I sit to write this curling blog I am astonished at just how far I have come since my Learn to Curl class late October-December. Was it really only five months ago that I was getting comfortable on the ice, trying to learn about sliding the stone, figuring out what the Slip wanted me to do and actually doing what I need to do to be part of the game. There was a Slide and Delivery Clinic at the Cub that helped me with my delivery techniques too. There were only three participants to an instructor and he video taped us too. The take aways from this clinic were invaluable to me and my team even commented on my delivery improvement.

What makes the sport or game of curling so much fun and why have I become so excited about it? I think I love the different aspects of the game – the sportpersonship, the strategy of where to put the stone, the team aspect of the game, finesse of sliding to deliver the stone, and sweeping. I do love to sweep too! People have called me the Mad Sweeper as I look pretty intense when I sweep. I do some weights each week but the perhaps we should conduct a study of how sweeping assist with upper arm (bicep/tricep) strength.
At the end of our game we sat at our table and I was bought a drink by the opposing second. Yes, this tells you that we lost but it was close to the last end!
I ended up talking about my physical education and health education background.
This led to the handshaking tradition discussion. I do wear a curling glove so I use it when I shake hands at the beginning of a game. Everyone shakes and says, “good curling.” It’s a shame as we were told to use the hand sanitizer as many were sick. So this is how we starting the discussion of using hand bumping instead of the hand shaking. Hand bumping would be much healthier than the handshaking or perhaps we should require gloves?
We will have to wait to discuss the curling handshake/fist bump at the annual meeting? So until next year I will use my glove and try to spread the word about the need to eliminate the curling handshake so we can be heathy curlers.

How about a CULRING HANDLE WAVE? Like the Skip indicating the handle?

Thank you Saturday League and also Thursday morning open curlers. You have helped me become a better curler and I have falling for the sport. David, Will, and Caroline I do hope we can play together as a team soon. You made my first league experience one I shall never forget. Thanks for putting up with me, making me laugh, and especially being my first real curling team.

So until the next time I curl, and it will be awhile as our club closes till the fall, let me say…

“Good curling one and all!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

How Many Steps Does A Curler Take? Sunday, March 6, 2016

How Many Steps Does A Curler Take?
Sunday, March 6, 2016

I had a great time with the Saturday evening Schrod league last night and my mother-in-law and brother in law came to watch me play. They were eager to see what I have been bragging about lately with my new found sport. When I went out to the ice they were in the window watching and looked very confused. Thank goodness for the kindness of another curler who came to their rescue. She sat with them and explained what was happening on the ice. At the end of my game my mother in law said she would have left a lot sooner if she did not have someone helping her understand what is occurring. This is just another example of the kindness of curlers. It is a unique sport and we are all eager to share what the heck is happening out there on the ice with people sliding stones and stones crashing into each other. And why do the people sweep and then stop sweeping? What’s happening out there on that ice? (Or so non-curlers think)

We missed our regular Skip, David, and First, Caroline, for league play  but Jim and Will stepped in to help. We all played well and boy did we need to rise to the occasion. We were playing the infamous Steve Emt team. Steve just returned from the World Wheelchair Curling Championship in Lucerene, Switzerland. They secured a place to go to Worlds again next year, too. Congratulations to our own Cape Cod Curling Club’s Steve Emt and the USA Team!

So…we were playing Steve’s team and it was exciting as each player did his/her part to either set guards, do take outs, or draw the stone into the house. It was also critical who had the “hammer” or the last stone. (Boy! I’m really throwing these curling terms around now.) And it was also important to sweep when the Skip called out “sweep” or “stop.”

Speaking of sweeping, I felt like I was a sweeping fanatic last night. When I hear “SWEEP” I know I need to sweep the ice to have the stone move further and curl more. Ok, I admit it-I talk to the stone too. I might say, “come on…” or “get there.” Most of the time I swept alone last night and I must admit that I was a driven sweeper. My biceps and triceps were even a little sore at the end of the night but it was also a great upper body strength exercise. At the end of the night Jim told me he liked watching me sweep as I am a little crazy with my broom.

Speaking of exercise,  I wear a fitness tracker, a Jawbone 3, which tracks the number of steps and lots of other data about my fitness and sleep patterns. I have, in fact, worn a tracker for many years before it was a popular trend. I was a faculty member, Program Chair, and eventually an Administrator in teacher preparation at the higher education level and my expertise was physical education, health, and wellness. So wearing a pedometer and then a Fitbit and now a Jawbone was natural for me. I always love a good challenge and a little competition. (Ok-my family and friends will share the truth that I thrive on competition!) So I wear my tracker all day and all night.

How many steps did I take curling last night?
With 2,000 steps equivalent to about a mile, I walked (on the ice) a little more than 3 ½ miles playing eight ends (an end is the length of the game after each team has thrown all of the stones-a total of 8 for each team) in two hours. The physical activity was not aerobic exercise but I think some of my sweeping could be considered high intense. The number of steps I took was about the same as my Thursday morning open curling time play, too. Note that the Skip does not sweep or move up and down the ice and his/her job is to strategize and provide the calls for the team so the Skip would not track many steps.

I ended up tracking my steps for the past 3 weeks for my Thursday and Saturday curling:

February 18        6,664
February 25        6,212
March 3             7,861

February 20        6,432
February 27        6,875
March 5             7,759
Average number of steps on the ice for six sessions=6,967

I wish there was a way we could track the number of sweeps I took when I was sweeping! All I know is that I enjoy knowing that you can help your teammate to move that stone. MOVE IT! Sounds like a song.

We ended up tied with the famous Emt team but lost in the last end. It was an exciting game but we’ll win next time. The only good part of losing in curling (which I do not like to do often) at our club is that you don’t have spend money on your drink. The winning team and opposite player purchases your drink. What a great sport!