Monday, April 16, 2012

Curling with Debbie McCormick

For this year's Carolina Classic - the Triangle Curling Club's annual summer bonspiel (curling tournament) - the demand (the number of teams who want to participate) was greater than the supply (the number of available spots). Amber and I had hoped to compete with our usual bonspieling buddies, Justin and Tabby. But based on a random draw, our team didn't get in.

(See, folks, this is why I don't play the lottery or participate in that ridiculous Mega Millions draw a couple of weeks ago. I can't even win a lottery when the odds are 1:2 in my favor. What makes me think I can win a lottery when the odds are 147,000,000:1, or whatever they were? Although, I do recognize the value of a cheap lottery ticket as a form of entertainment.)

But, we had a plan B, and this is where Debbie McCormick comes in. You may remember Debbie as the Skip of the U.S. team in the 2010 Olympics. Since then, when she's not curling herself, she's been touring the country with a trailer full of Goldline brand curling supplies, or something like that. And I'm not sure how this arrangement happened, exactly, but this summer she'll be bringing her trailer down to Raleigh for the Carolina Classic. And, she'll be fielding a team in the Classic, putting the other three spots on her team available for auction, with the proceeds benefiting the home club. (She's worked out similar arrangements with the Great Smoky Mountains Curling Club in Knoxville, and...maybe Charlotte too?)

In light of our lottery fail, we decided to make a run at the Debbie McCormick auction. Should we win the auction, Amber and Tabby agreed to alternate games, since there would only be room for three of us in each game. Should we not win the auction, then at least we'll have driven up the auction price in the process, and benefit the club in that way. It's win-win!

How much is a spot on Debbie McCormick's bonspiel team worth? Well...let's analyze. The normal bonspiel team fee would have been $100/person. (That sounds like a lot, but that includes food and drink for the entire weekend, in addition to the curling.) How much more would one be willing to pay to have a former world champion (2003), Olympian, and one of the most well-known curlers in the country on your team? Double? Triple? More?

Let's put this another way. Suppose there was an amateur flag football tournament somewhere, and Peyton Manning - let's just assume he's healthy - announced he would play quarterback for the highest bidder. How much money do you think that auction would fetch? Thousands of dollars, right?

Keeping that in mind, I can't believe how much of a bargain this ended up being. We won the auction for just $187/person. Just $87 extra dollars to play with Debbie McCormick. Wow! I won't say exactly how much coin we were willing to drop on this, but...it was a bit more than that. (Somewhere between "double" and "triple" the original $100/person, for the record.) When I think about this in terms of the Peyton Manning example - the opportunity to play a sport you love on the same team as a former World Champion - that makes me appreciate this opportunity that much more. Isn't curling great?

Can you tell that I'm excited about this? I can't wait!

(Note: I suppose one could claim that I dumped my wife from our team in favor of Debbie McCormick. And not only that, I paid to do it! But remember, this was Plan B. We would not have bid if our team was picked in the original lottery. And besides, Amber will curl in half of our games.)

Hmm...you know, thinking back, I was extremely critical of Debbie during the 2010 Olympics, wasn't I? Recall that her team went 2-7 and finished in last place in Vancouver. I hope she doesn't go back and read some of my blog posts from February 2010, in which I act like I know more about curling strategy than she does and say a lot of mean things, such as...
- "[McCormick's] team is too old."
- "Debbie McCormick missed ANOTHER FREAKING DRAW! ... That is just inexcuseable." (Yes, I used all caps and everything!)
- "It's over for McCormick."

Of course, when I wrote all that, I never thought I would ever meet Debbie, let alone be her teammate for a weekend. This just goes to show you...be careful what you say about other people online! You may have to own up to it some day. Oh, and by the way...I take all of that stuff back. Every word. I know the 2010 Olympics didn't go the way we all hoped it would, but we still think you're awesome, Debbie! Welcome to our team! But if you miss your draws, we're dropping you down to Vice. (Just kidding.)

1 comment:

Carol said...

Chris, I enjoyed your blog entry and glad to hear that it's YOU that gets to play with Debbie. To fill in a mystery piece of the puzzle. Our Charlotte folks won the Rocky Top auction last year and played with Debbie. Several of our club members then played with Debbie and/or Pete in other spiels around the country. When we asked her to come to our spiel I suggested she also could come to yours. Because we are close together, in geography and spiel date, but draw different crowds to our spiel it seemed like a good opportunity for her and her Goldline mobile store and of course for your club!! I put her in touch with Sue Mitchell.
We are watching out for our sister club! We Carolina curlers gotta stick together.