I can’t explain how it happened, but some time during my high school years I got pretty into curling. That interest quickly grew in to a full-blown obsession, and before long I was watching every draw of the Scotties and the Brier and checking box scores and stats online when I wasn’t near a TV. This is especially strange since the only curling I’ve ever done was in a couple of very recreational bonspiels where there may have been more drinking of beers than throwing of rocks but nonetheless, I’ve looked forward to the late February/early March Season of Champions for many years. I was especially excited about the national men’s curling championship this year as it would be taking place at Calgary’s very own Saddledome!
My uncle was given a bunch of tickets by a friend and was generous enough to donate some to me. The seats were in the 11th row, and I couldn’t help but think about how great a spot it would have been for a Flames game, but seeing some high level curling action from only a few rows up was pretty awesome too. I watch a lot of curling on TV, but I don’t think you can get a true appreciation of how much precision and accuracy these guys are throwing with unless you’re watching live. With four games going there was almost always something happening, and we often felt like our heads were spinning trying to figure out which sheet to watch! I did miss the commentary and the strategy talk you get to listen to when you watch on TSN, though.
There aren’t a lot of people younger than my Grandma that get as excited about curling as I do, but each of my siblings was nice enough to come along with me to one of the draws I had tickets for. I think they ended up having a pretty good time! Julia decided that drinking Saddledome beer through a straw was the way to go, and it definitely proved to be a good spill preventing strategy. I wanted to check out the Patch, the much-talked-about Brier bar, so Julia and I headed over there after our afternoon draw. We weren’t in much of a partying mood that day, so we stayed just long enough to see some giant Jenga and hear a girl sing Shania Twain karaoke.
It was a lot of fun watching really fit guys (seriously, have you seen how ripped some of them are?) throw around some heavy granite. The highlight was being only metres away from Brad Gushue’s mind-blowing shot that was probably the best of the tournament. Even though it was against the hometown team, the crowd went wild. Seeing something like that live is pretty special!