Blogging the Dogwood – Saturday

Waking with a bit of fuzziness from barley flu, it seems inappropriate to go inside on a sunny day like this.

We play at noon against team Johnson. Other than the distinct paucity of a name-ending “e”, I don’t know much about them. Apparently, they come out of the Richmond club, but they won their first game against Bryan Miki of the Royal City, and Bryan Miki won the world championships in the year 2000. Yes, he was on the team that won the Tankard, won the Brier, and won the World freaking Championships. That’s the way it is at The Royal City Club: one day you are playing against normal humans, the next day you are playing against World Champions. At least Johnson beat him, which means we dodged that bullet.

Anyway, we have home-ice advantage over Johnson, and that might be an advantage this weekend. The ice was a little finicky in the first game, there were what seemed like a few “flat spots” where the pebble had broken down, causing two rocks traveling down the same path to do two very different things. This is not a good thing for skips. It is like putting in golf after the neighbour’s kid mowed the green with a dull lawnmower. Or playing darts in a hurricane (to continue the Scottish Sport metaphors). So it is home ice and luck versus skill and intimidation (they have matching uniforms!). We will need a beer first.

(a few ends of curling later:)

Yeah. So apparently shot-making actually trumps home-ice advantage. One of the great parts about Curling is that you don’t have to belabour a loss. At some point, you can just look at the other skip and admit you are beat. 7 points down already half way through? You just shake hands with the other team, and you all drink beer. Imagine if football, soccer, hockey, any sport ended like that. Five point lead with 2 minutes left in a Hockey game? Just shake and and go drink beer. It is only civilized.

So six ends in, we had enough, there was no coming back, we shook hands, and all headed upstairs for part 2.

But don’t give up to early, here is a 2:30 game that went to the extra end:

Curling score boards are sometimes hard to read for baseball fans, but remember, the game was invented by Scots, anything to reduce costs: the middle line is the score, the top and bottom are the ends (this way, you only have to print 8 “end” panels instead of dozens of “score” panels). On the board above, blue scored one in the 1st end, stole two in the 2nd end, stole one in the 3rd end, and stole three in the 4th. They were up 7-0 after 4, a shaking of hands was possible at this point. Instead, the yellow team then scored three in the 5th end, stole two in the 6th, one more in the 7th, and one in the 8th. They had to play an extra end to break the tie. God I love this game.

I also love that the winning team had a healthy respect for tradition, even moth-infested tradition.

Note that team includes Ken Maskiewich, who has played more than a few Brier games in his career.

As for team Johnstone, we are down the “C” event, every game is an elimination from here on in. We have a dinner tonight, then back on the ice: a curlers work is never done. We have a couple of hours to kill, though, so the liars’ dice come out.

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