We played the opening weekend of The Goldline TCA Championship, which, for the uninitiated, is a 117-year-old bonspiel that is effectively the club curler's championship of Toronto. Something like 1,200 curlers start off on Saturday with two games. They continue through the week but starting Monday, are out as soon as they lose. Stacked teams are not allowed and strict rules are in place to prevent them.
On Saturday at Leaside, both our games were largely determined by picks. In our first contest, our opposing skip was playing a relatively easy draw against five of our counters when his rock suddenly ground to a halt.
In the second game, we had something like seven picks on our rocks (the opposition had a few too) and we lost. Not that we really deserved to win that game in any event – I forgot to mention that I hogged my last rock guard attempt in the first to give up four -- but you hate so see so many picks.
We put another in our win column on Monday night at Dixie Curling Club where the curl was, um, rather large!
So, after three games in the (gulp!) Senior division, I have the following observations:
** I’m amazed at how many players don’t sweep in front of the rock.
** Having said that, two good sweepers in this event is a huge advantage.
** It seems most crucial draws among us hackers come up short while the top players seem to be heavy more often than not. Agree?
** Wow, are there ever a lot of old guys who colour their hair these days.
** There are some vastly different conditions at clubs across this city.
** If you are ever want to see a history of curling equipment, come out to the Goldine. Old brooms, sweaters, shoes that are at least 20 years old are being used in every draw.
** Lots of guys play in the Goldline but never bonspiel at any other time of the year. Why?
** I’d say only about 10 per cent of the curlers I saw do any kind of warm-up or pre-game stretch. Creak, groan.