Monday, June 14, 2010

Curling Recap: 6/12/10

Our beloved Triangle Curling Club held a one-day "mini-spiel" over the weekend. Eight teams plays two games each, apply a points system (awarding points for points scored, ends won, and games won), and declare a couple of winners for the day. A curling doubleheader when it's 94°F outside? You bet!

While every other team was a makeshift team that was only playing together for the day, our team was the same exact team from the Sunday League that went 4-1 and finished 2nd. So, I think we kind of had an advantage. (No, I was not responsible for making up the teams. We did request it, though.) I wouldn't call us the favorites, though, because I still don't think I can skip with the "big boys" yet. On the other hand, Amber, Justin, and Tabby are pretty good, so...maybe, just maybe, we have a shot.

Game #1

End......... 12345678 |TTL
Macartney... 00101000 | 02
Allen....... 11030431 | 13

(Disclaimer: I'm not 100% positive regarding my memory of the end-by-end score. Take it for what it's worth.)

We definitely had the advantage here. Opposing skip Dick is a good curler, but he lives way out at the beach, so he doesn't come out all that often anymore. And, this game was on notoriously tilted Sheet 1, which is probably the toughest sheet for a skip to come in off the bench and do well on. It's not the most fun sheet, but I actually think my teams do better on Sheet 1 than on other sheets. That's not something I've kept track of, unfortunately.

Not only did we win big (that's the third time in six games that I've won by 10 or more points - am I a jerk or what?), but thanks to a draw to the button by Amber in the 7th end, we also took home "The Box", a container full of goodies. (The rules for "The Box" are explained in this post.) We really cleaned up, didn't we?

For the second half of the doubleheader, winners played winners and losers played losers. So, I figured this second game would be a little more difficult.

Game #2

End........ 12345678S |TTL
Collins.... 000015011 | 08
Allen...... 122100100 | 07

By the time we were up 6-0, folks on other sheets were giving us crap. Yes, it was well deserved at the time, considering that our cumulative score up to that point was 19-2. Did I let it get to my head? Did I take my foot off the gas pedal? Maybe a little bit...but I'm not sure what happened in that 6th end, to be honest. Not giving up the big number is supposed to be a point of emphasis for me. So, I wish I had a better memory of that end than I do, so I know what not to do next time. Perhaps when you have only one rock in the house versus five, you're better off throwing another rock in the house to cut them down a few points, rather than trying to guard it - and ultimately misplacing the guard, leading to the inevitable take-out. Or, sometimes, you just get beat.

At that point, we had a game - a refreshing change of pace! The last couple of ends were very well played. By this time, everyone had figured it out on both teams. It came down to a skip rock shootout, which I lost, because my draw weight isn't as good as it needs to be. Opposing skip Rich's draw weight was excellent throughout the game - especially in the second half - and that can get you out of a lot of sticky situations, rather than having to rely on complicated angle shots.

Speaking of complicated angle was the approximate situation in front of me before my last shot of the 7th end: (our team = yellow)

Perhaps the obvious play was to draw around the right side into the rings. Plenty of room, right? Thing is, though, I tried that with my first shot (rock #7), and it overcurled and was light. about this: throw decent weight (not too much), and hit #3 into #2 into #1, leaving #2 as shot rock. Yeah! Sounds crazy, but that was actually the shot that gave our team one point.

Anyway, here's my observation. During the Olympics, I noticed that many of the younger skips - including Sweden's Niclas Edin and Scotland's Eve Muirhead - often prefered the crazy angle hitting shots over simple draws to the button. Why? Those shots are more fun, yes, but I think the main reason is because being young curlers, they weren't confident in their draw weight. I think that's where I am right now in my career as skip. I'm not confident in my draw weight, so the crazy shots often look more appealing to me. (I'm better at them, too.) Draw weight feel will come to be eventually, but only after years of experience, I think.

So, to recap: the top two teams received prizes at the end of the day, there were two 2-0 teams, and we went 1-1. Surely, this meant we'd go home empty handed, right? Nope! The way the points system worked, our relentless running up of the score in the first game, was rewarded by a tie for first place with the other 2-0 team (not the one that just beat us). One more skip rock shootout later (after losing the first shootout I had sort of figured it out), we finished in first place overall for the day. Wooo! But what kind of an example does that set for the kids? Is the moral of the story that it pays to run up the score? (You decide.)

By the way, I'm not all that ashamed about losing a game we led 6-0, either, because the other team had to skip-quality curlers on it, and I consider opposing skip Rich to be one of the top two or three skips in the club. A shootout loss to a good team isn't a bad result. Moral victory?

I'm only three games away from playing in my 100th career curling match (career record 57-40), but it'll be a while before I get #100. Our next curling match isn't until July 30th, so I guess the next seven weeks qualifies as our "offseason". Our curling muscles could use the break.

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