Curling is just like riding a bicycle–you don’t forget how.

Unfortunately, I learned Saturday that I stink at the sport as badly now as when I last stepped onto a sheet a good 10 years ago with the vaunted Greg Plumridge foursome when the old club was still standing here (I’m sure Rose remembers us well).
Oh, and curling uses muscles you forgot you had–but which the ol’ bod has been graciously reminding me all week.
Okay, okay, so the phone hasn’t been ringing off the hook these past few days with offers to skip a rink in the annual men’s bonspiel here next week (or even play lead on one for that matter). But that’s not why I bravely took broom in hand–and slider on foot–Saturday morning at grave risk of injury to limb (and pride). No, it was all for a good cause.
Nor was I alone. Some 80 people–of which quite a few were first-time curlers–gathered at the local club for the inaugural “Curl for Cancer,” a fundraiser spearheaded by Nadine Johnson of “Canoe for Cancer” fame. The 20 teams, divided into two groups of 10, played three four-end games, with half-a-point awarded for each point scored, one point for each end won, and three points for each win.
The team with the most points at the end of the day was crowned the bonspiel champs, which, quite fittingly in this first year, went to a rink made up of four relatively novice curlers.
Of course, all that took a backseat to the real winners–the people who will benefit from the almost $9,000 raised in pledges by the participants, led by Cheryle Wolff (more than $1,000) and Becky Robinson (nearly $700).
Awesome!
And it was obvious from the antics on the ice that everyone was having a great time–no matter what the scoreboard read. That was especially true of the Kevin Busch foursome, also featuring Wendy and Doug Derendorf and Rod Cupp, who took home the “Most fun to curl with” trophy (which was a polite way of saying they were last with three points).
Not that the Bob Stuart rink, including Cheryl Stuart, “Hawk” Roach, and Les Wiersema, didn’t give them a run for their money–finishing with 3.5 points. Clearly they never recovered from a devastating opening-game loss to Doug Wilson, who managed to pull out victory despite the best efforts of Cheryl Behan, Janine Cousineau, and me at third to give the game away with our dubious shot-making and sweeping prowess.
Doug also kept us in our next match against the Hopkins rink, skipped by ringer Sean Taggart, which we lost 4-3. That was the game in which I made my one shot of the whole bonspiel–a triple takeout (yes, they were all the opposing team’s stones)–but I’m not going to mention that because everyone was teasing me afterwards that it would end up in the paper.
Like, how vain do people think I am?
Alas, the wheels fell off in our third game as we fell 1-0 to the Dougie Boyd quartet (er, or was that 8-0) to stay at 12 points overall–right in the middle of the pack. (Oh, just between you and me, that was more than next-door neighbour Ron MacKinnon’s foursome. But to his credit, Ron curled much better than his beloved Montreal Canadiens can play hockey).
Anyhow, it was a great way to spend a Saturday–and a fun way to raise a lot of money in the fight against cancer (no doubt even for Tracey Lee, who took home the “black-and-blue” award for falling down something like 14 times in her three games).
Hats off to Nadine and all her helpers, as well as Tom Fry for running the actual bonspiel. They could have handled 24 teams in the same amount of time, and can go as high as 36 if they start earlier in the day.
Sounds like a great goal for the second-annual “Curl for Cancer” next year.

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