Kevin Martin I’m not

By all rights, I’m not a very talented person athletically.
There’s a reason, after all, that I’m writing about the four major sports instead of playing them, although I did play a year of soccer in high school and I am “somewhat passable” at swinging a golf club.
And my racing career never really took off as I hoped as my parents did not share the same enthusiasm as me in buying a USAC Midget chassis for around $15,000.
However, if there is one sport that I at least feel fairly confident in taking part in on a regular basis, without any complaints, it would be curling.
I’ve played the game since I was in the middle of public school, and as a lead I got to be a part of two NOSSA (the equivalent of NWOSSAA for Sault Ste. Marie high school athletics) curling finals.
While my younger brother would tell you otherwise, I would like to think I was at least somewhat decent during my last couple of years in high school, or as decent as any amateur curler can be.
However, I stopped playing the game after 2006 when I started my studies at Canadore College in North Bay, due to time constraints. But once I arrived in Fort Frances, I was asked to join a team near the end of last season and I was back in the saddle once again.
So when this season rolled around, I was ready and willing to get into the hack once again—and eagerly was anticipating the first draw of the Wednesday night league last week.
Admittedly, I was feeling pretty cocksure about how I would do in that first game of the year, and I already was envisioning myself being the heir apparent to some of the great leads of the sport like Ben Hebert.
Anyway, I slid out of the hack for my first shot of the season, just needing to draw into the house to get things started.
Well, the rock didn’t actually reach the house. Heck, it didn’t even get into the guard zone.
Nope, yours truly had started off the season by “hogging” the very first rock he threw.
“All right,” I thought to myself. “You’re just not sure of the ice conditions as of yet. Don’t worry, you’re up again here in a second.”
My skip, Jim Jackson, called the exact same shot for me on my second attempt. And while I didn’t embarrass myself by hogging the rock this time around, instead the stone went sailing through the house with enough weight that it probably would have reached Kenora before stopping.
It was right around then that I realized my dreams of being called up to play for Kevin Martin had been squashed yet again.
Heck at this point, not even the last-place finisher at the Brier zone playdowns would have called me up to join their rink.
Surprisingly, however, once I figured out what on earth I was doing, I found my game slowly was turning around as I was starting to get a few shots to where my skip had wanted them to go—even though my shots ended up going further outside than to the actual aim point.
Even more shocking, our team actually started off the season with a win, though I lay responsibilities to that more to my teammates for the evening in Jackson and Rob Sinclair.
While I joke about my time on the ice being a complete gong show, in all honesty I really enjoy playing curling more once again as it’s nice way to get some exercise (and believe me, you get a lot when you are sweeping a rock) and also to just hang out with some really neat people.
And maybe by this time next year, I’ll have increased my shot percentage to around 30 percent.

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