I’ve never met a curler I didn’t like.
I know such a blanket statement may be difficult to make, but it’s true. And my hypothesis is simple: As soon as a person slides into that one slippy shoe thing, they instantly become three times more congenial.
(And honestly, how could you not? Sliding makes people happy).
Such was the case when I attended the final games of the Alexander Keith’s Men’s International Bonspiel at the Fort Frances Curling Club over the weekend.
I hadn’t been near the ice for more than 10 minutes before I was being politely quizzed as to my knowledge and experience of the game.
And even when it was established that my personal curling history is seriously limited (read a few weeks in high school gym class), I still was happily invited to join a league next season.
For all anyone knew, I could be (and, in all honesty, probably am) an absolute mess with a stone and a broom, yet they still wanted me to come out and play.
Curlers are nothing if not effective proselytizers.
But sliding shoes can’t be the only reason curlers are a happy bunch. When you think about it, curlers must have a completely different approach to the world; they must see things in different manner than the rest of us.
Don’t believe me? During the bonspiel, all televisions at the club on Sunday were tuned to the world women’s final between Canada and China.
In the sixth end, Canadian skip Jennifer Jones broke the game open by throwing a double-angle raise take-out. There were nine rocks in the rings when she made that shot. Nine.
I could have spent three days looking at that exact same ice surface full of stones and not even thought about making a shot like she made. I’ve watched the clip online dozens of times since then and I still don’t know how Jones did it.
She doesn’t have a degree in physics, but I’m convinced Jennifer Jones could teach Newton a little something about his own laws of motion.
Is there a sport in all the world where Sir Isaac’s first and third laws are more applicable? I don’t think so.
“A physical body will remain at rest, or continue to move at a constant velocity, unless a net force acts upon it.” Or if you prefer, “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
With that in mind, imagine the scary effectiveness of a curler running rampant on carnival bumper cars? Or the trick shots that a curler could muster in a pool hall?
Keep your money in your pocket and walk away from the table.
But even to the wildly untrained eye, the game is more than simply heavy rocks slamming into each other. The precise placing of stones is like an intricate dance between the two competitors (only if intricate dancing involved more screaming, and was sponsored by beer and toilet paper companies).
It’s been said a curling stone is “a repository of possibility. When it’s handled just right, it exacts a kind of poetry.”
So I guess maybe poetry can make people just as happy as slippy shoes.