Thursday, June 14, 2012

Inaugural (Wilmington) Beachspiel: Preview

Yes, the calendar says June, but it's a curling weekend!

Our home Triangle Curling Club has been around in some form for a while (1995), and our annual summer bonspiel (curling tournament) - the "Carolina Classic" - is now in its 5th year. But two newer North Carolina curling clubs, in Wilmington and Charlotte, are hosting their own summer bonspiels for the first time this year. In something I (and perhaps some others) am dubbing the "Carolina Triple", I'm curling in all three North Carolina bonspiels this summer. The first leg of the "Triple" is this Saturday in Wilmington, with the Coastal Carolina Curling Club's inaugural "Beachspiel".

The "Beachspiel" is attractive in part because it is a one day only event, and it's only a two hour drive each way, so that means no hotel costs! We can just drive down and drive back that day. There is no easier "away bonspiel" for us to attend.

So...about this "Beachspiel": - Since it's just a one day event, that means three games for everybody regardless of wins/losses. I would assume wins/losses affect who you play in games two and three. - It's a "pointspiel", which means teams earn points for wins, ends taken, and so on, and the team with the largest point total wins the event. - 16 teams are entered, but the team names on their own don't give a whole lot of information. Shoot, I don't even know what our team name is! (It's true, I don't.) So I don't know where everyone is coming from for this event, but I do know that our Triangle club is sending a healthy contingent (Four teams? Five? SIX???) I also expect at least two highly skilled teams (compared to us) from somewhere up north to be present.

Like our Triangle Curling Club, Coastal Carolina is an arena club. This will actually be my first ever "away bonspiel" on arena ice, interestingly enough. All 24 of my curling games away from home have been on dedicated curling ice. Normally that puts us at a big disadvantage, and that shows in my career away bonspiel record (7-17), but will going to an away bonspiel on arena ice give us some of that advantage back? Maybe, maybe not. Ice conditions at arena ice bonspiels can vary from "almost dedicated ice-like" to "Sunday evening league night". Since Coastal is a relatively young club putting on their first bonspiel, I would expect the ice conditions to be closer to "league night" standards than "dedicated ice-like", but we'll see.

Between the teams participating and the ice conditions, there are a lot of unknowns going into this bonspiel. So how well should I expect my team to do? (My team: Chris J. at Skip, me at Vice, Andrew F. at Second, Sean C. at Lead. At least, I think that's the order. All I know is that I'm definitely not playing Skip in this one, which is fantastic.)

Well, maybe not having any expectations at all is the way to go here. Besides, this isn't about wins and losses! Wins/losses just happen to be the aspect of bonspieling I can best analyze quantitatively, and I keep track of this sort of thing in detail, so that's why I talk about that aspect of it so much in comparison to the "fun"/social aspects of curling, which are very important and huge draws, but aren't as easy for me to write about, usually. So, yeah. Let's, umm, have some fun!

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