Monday, March 12, 2012

Curling Recap: 3/9-3/11/12

I've curled 11 games in the last 5 weekends, which really isn't that many (I played 12 in 3 last year)...but I think I'm a little burned out. Or maybe that's just the Daylight Saving Time-induced tiredness I'm feeling.

Career game #175: 2012 Winter League - March 9, 2012

This was my team's bye week, but Mario asked me to spare for his team this Friday, so I did, giving me another crack at one of the undefeated teams...although this time, as a Lead rather than a Skip.

(my team: Riveron)
End.......... 1234567 |TTL
Scheck....... 0101010 | 03
Riveron...... 1030301 | 08

First off, kudos to our Skip Ryan, who obviously has much bigger balls than I do. "Conservative" could not describe his strategy any worse. We went for it! For example, here was the approximate setup prior to our last shot of the 5th: (our team = red)

The safe play is to draw for two. But, the FUN play is to try to hit the yellow out for THREE, with the obvious risk being that you jam the yellow onto the red. It wasn't a huge risk, but you could end up giving up one in the process when you could have had an easy two, and considering we were leading 4-2 at this point in the game...well, maybe this is why this team was able to beat the mighty Dans, and mine wasn't? I probably have been a little too conservative in my strategy as of late.

I don't think my shot-making as Lead was all that good on Friday, but there's more to playing Lead (or any other position) than just shot-making. I'll get to that later.

Career game #176: 2012 Winter League - March 11, 2012

Amber's second (and perhaps last, at least for a little while) game as Skip! Could she go to 2-0?

(our team: Howard)
End.......... 1234567 |TTL
Hamilton..... 0101032 | 07
Howard....... 1010200 | 04

Not this time, sadly. The ice was much harder to read this week compared to last week, and that's hard for an inexperienced Skip. But really, this game was decided because the other team made their shots when it counted in the last two ends. It was a pretty even game up to that point. Regardless, I'm still really proud of Amber. Fun stat: out of the 14 ends I played over the weekend, only ONCE - in the final end of the weekend - did the team without last rock score a point.

So...let's talk positions! Now is a good time to talk about this after having played Lead on Friday, and Second on Sunday. (11 of the 15 games I've curled this year have been at Skip.) I made an observation this past weekend related to that. On a team with one or more inexperienced curlers - and most teams in our leagues have at least one curlers with less than a year of experience - I can help out a lot more when I'm not the Skip. The Skip is way down there on the other end of the ice, while the Vice and Second are right there and can say things like, "Your weight was pretty good last time, but maybe try this..." Anyway, that sort of thing can really help out our young curlers, and it's rewarding to be a part of that. As Skip, I miss out on that. I also think I'm better than average at sweeping and judging the weight, but the thing is, this is probably like driving. Everyone thinks they are an above average driver, right?

Anyway, the point is, everyone on the team has a role, and I'm trying to figure out which role suits me best: Lead, Second, Vice, or Skip. Where is my ceiling the highest? Let's see if my all-time records by position can help me figure that out...
Lead: 10 wins, 4 losses (winning pct .714)
Second: 15 wins, 12 losses (winning pct .556)
Vice: 43 wins, 32 losses (winning pct .573)
Skip: 35 wins, 25 losses (winning pct .583)

My career winning percentages at Second, Vice, and Skip are remarkably similar! And my winning percentage at Lead is...well, I'll be honest. I think Lead is boring, and it's my least favorite position to play. But given my record at Lead, is it my ideal position? I can't really make that claim, because of the relatively small sample space (14 career games, versus 75 at Vice and 60 at Skip).

And, well, there is just a lot of variability in these records. Let's try splitting it out by local club games (league plus pickup) and competitive bonspiels (including home bonspiels):
Lead: 7-3 club, 3-1 competitive
Second: 10-7 club, 5-5 competitive
Vice: 30-24 club, 13-8 competitive
Skip: 32-15 club, 3-10 competitive

Based on this, I'd say my ideal position is Skip in our club leagues, and Vice at competitive events. I'd say that's about right, and that's a good place to be, too.

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