Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Goldline TCA Bonspiel

So this week I’ve been back on the ice, fresh from my Kevin Martin lesson, playing in the Goldline TCA Bonspiel. Even though it hasn’t been sponsored by Canada Life for years, I still call it that. Weird.

This is a great event that brings out club teams from across Toronto and the environs. It dates back to 1904 and while it’s hard to believe, at one time, back when this event was in its infancy, the winner actually got a spot in the Brier.

You can’t have a stacked team as there are rules about the positions you can play so you end up with good club teams. You also get to play at all sorts of different clubs against a wide variety of players. People who don’t participate in any other outside spiel, sign up for the Goldline, although not in the numbers they used to.

We started at Leaside on Saturday where I ran into an old pal Brad Mitchell who is making the ice there. Lost our first, won our second and that put us in the Third Event.

We won on Monday night at the Cricket Club, again last night at Richmond Hill (although we probably shouldn’t have) and get to go again tonight at St. George’s.

This spiel isn’t as well subscribed as in the old days when I last played. I was surprised to see there are byes this late in the week. Still, you do see things playing in this bonspiel that you don’t see anywhere else. For example:

** A guy wearing a hat made out of those old grey socks with the feet flapping around on top of his head.

** A guy who ran – and I mean ran – down the ice when it was his turn to shoot.

** A team down 11-0 after four ends that didn’t shake hands in an eight-end game. (I’d have quit when they were down 10-0 after three).

** A guy who slid on his knee and tucked his body into a cannonball position during his delivery, but never missed the broom and had the touch of a brain surgeon (he was my opposite last night and he completely kicked my butt).

Actually, there is an amazing array of deliveries and strategies in this bonspiel. You see all shapes and sizes. You see a lot of people who’ve obviously been watching far too much TV considering the shots they’re calling and trying to execute. And it’s not exactly the place you’d go looking for examples of Curl Canada instruction. But it does show the vibrancy of the curling community in the GTA.

I know there are similar spiels in other parts of the country but I'm not sure there are any that employ the same rules for participation.

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