It’s hard to put last night into the proper words if you weren’t in the building. It was, quite simply, magical.
Now I’m not talking so much about the game itself, although it was an enjoyable one. But the building itself and the atmosphere was special.
After a couple of draws of ugly fans – who cheered during deliveries, roared when teams missed shots and essentially tried to distract certain teams – the crowd Saturday night was well behaved (with a few minor exceptions) and a ton of fun. In the humble opinion of this scribe, it was the best curling crowd I’ve seen in my 25-plus years of covering the game. The only complaint on the night came from one fan who wondered why there weren't any cupholders on the seats as it was tough holding a beer and a foam finger all night.
The best moment came in the 10th end when a group of well-oiled twentysomething shirtless guys, stood up and started singing the national anthem. At first it was just them crooning but it quickly grew and by the time they reached “With Glowing Hearts,” most of the arena had joined in, standing and waving flags at the same time. The game came to a stop and I can remember looking over at Kevin Martin who was in the house holding the broom for Marc Kennedy and seeing this huge smile across his face. It was one of those moments you’ll remember for a long, long time.
The game itself was almost weird. There were some amazing shots – especially from the thirds – some untimely picks and some flat out inexplicable misses. But it was definitely entertaining. I actually thought about half-way through that the Brits were going to win, but there were a few cringe-inducing misses. The two that stood out were Murdoch’s heavy draw in seven on his first, turning a potential two-point end into a single, and then Euan Byers first stone in nine, slipping into the rings and allowing Martin to get the blank.
As big as the win was in ending The Streak and all, it really had more significance in what it meant to both teams’ position in the standings. Martin is now guaranteed at least a tiebreaker and Murdoch can’t afford to lose.
One thing I think the loss did for the Brits/Scots was really fire them up. They’ve seemed a little lackluster thus far for some reason, but as Murdoch said last night, maybe it takes 6,000 people yelling at them to get them fired up.
We’ll find out.