Friday, May 21, 2010

Curling Recap: 5/20/10

You thought curling was over, didn't you? Nope! Curling is NEVER over. We just don't do it quite as often in the summer as we do September through April.

Last night, we kicked off the Triangle Curling Club "summer season": six pick-up games, a two-game mini-bonspiel, and the club's annual Carolina Classic. Believe it or not, we're only going to attend two of the six pick-up sessions. Shocking! I know it may seem like Amber and I go curling every chance we get, but actually, we don't.

Last night was pick-up session #1, and I was fortunate enough (or unfortunate enough) to get a rematch against Spring League champion Dave:

End.............. 12345678 |TTL
--------------------------------
Allen............ 22002110 | 08
D. Hamilton (UNC) 00120001 | 04

Redemption? Not really...this was just a pick-up game. While most people do worse when they don't care, I think I actually do better when I don't care as much. My all time record in "meaningless" pick-up games is 11-3, so maybe there's something to that. And, aside from the skips (and Amber), the teams were completely different than they were in the May 2nd league championship game, and nobody in the game had curled in two weeks, and...well, you get the idea. Not redemption.

Unlike in the league championship, the lucky bounces mostly went our way this time. For example, in both the 1st and 2nd end, I was lying one with only Dave's last rock remaining, and both times, he knocked one of my rocks into the house, giving me an extra point in each end. Whoops!

Let's talk 6th end strategy. Our very first shot of the end ended up on the button:


If you're the other team, you have to get rid of that rock eventually. Problem is, that rock was sitting on one of those dreaded "zamboni lines", and it was almost impossible to take out. If you threw at it with take-out weight, it would either stay left of the zamboni line, or rapidly fall to the right of it:


It was possible to get to the button if you threw draw weight - rocks curl the most when they're moving slowest, and the only way to get a rock to stop on a zamboni line is to come at it at a sharp angle with lots of curl. But if you throw take-out weight, it's not going to get there. With that in mind, what do you do? Well, there's no use in throwing heavy, because you're basically throwing a rock away when you do that. So, in this case, there are a couple of things you can do. One is to throw rocks into the front of the house, either front-left or front-right of the shot rock, in order to set up an "angle shot" later in the end. Angle shots - hitting one rock into another rock at an angle, or having the shooter "wick" off of a guard at a slight angle - are the only way you can access the button with take-out speed under these conditions. The other is to try to draw in yourself. The other team did get a couple of shots in the house, and even though they didn't score, they were able to hold us to a single point. Sometimes, you just have to "take your medicine", not panic (I have a problem with that sometimes), and move on to the next end. However, once the situation became such that it was basically impossible for us to "go for two" (they placed a rock right next to ours, making it nearly impossible to remove their rock without risking our own), then they started attempting the angle shots. A couple of those angle shots came a little close for comfort. No doubt those angle shots would have been executed perfectly if this were a league championship game...

Next up on my curling menu is the previously mentioned two-game mini-bonspiel, which takes place in three weeks. Now this could qualify as redemption. Maybe.

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