Monday, September 24, 2012

Curling Recap: 9/21/12

Curling season is officially underway! ...with a loss.

Career game #196: 2012 Fall League - September 21, 2012
(my team: K. Jackson)

End........... 12345678 |TTL
Jaun.......... 11001121 | 07
K. Jackson.... 00110000 | 02

I'm the Vice on our team this season, but our usual Skip was out, so I had to play Skip on Friday (unfortunately). With that in mind, I'm not beating myself up too much over this one. We were shorthanded, playing with just three; and not only did the other team show up intact, they played well. Really well. They immediately capitalized on every mistake we made (of which there were many).

Most of our mistakes involved misplacing guards. The ice had two predictable lines, so the key was to get early position and then guard the heck out of those lines. Occasionally we did get early position, but we could never guard it. Usually, our guards were too heavy, which on a couple of occasions resulted in promoting one of their rocks into the house, out-counting ours; that was followed by a well-placed guard by the other team, and then all of a sudden, the other team has shot rock and two guards, at which point we were basically screwed.

Very rarely did I have a simple shot: usually, I was left to try complicated raise take-outs or something ridiculous like that, because that's all that was available. But even when I did have a simple shot available to me, such as, you know, a guard...well, that didn't work out either. All I had to do to score two points in the 4th end was place a guard anywhere between the house and the hog line. Simple! And guards are usually my specialty. But I was waaaaay light, so instead, we only scored one. That might have been the only shot I had all night that didn't involve some kind of a raise.

I'm not sure what I did from a strategy standpoint to keep leaving myself with no shot end after end, but after winning only 5 of my last 18 league games as Skip, I think it's time for a complete strategy reboot. The strategy I've been using for the last two-plus years is obsolete now. It worked well when combined with poor ice conditions and the occasional missed shot by the other team, but the ice conditions at our rink are a lot better than they were in 2010, and the quality of play in our club has never been better. It's not just me, either; at least one other Skip in our club (not naming names) who uses a strategy similar to mine has gone from a League Championship to the bottom of the standings within the past year. So...forget everything I've ever learned about arena ice curling strategy! I'm starting over and am going to have to come up with a new approach. Maybe after a year of learning from more experienced Skips, I'll give it another go.

Until then, I'm looking forward to my next game, which due to a scheduling fluke won't be until October 26. Will our team be 2-1 by then?

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