I am an avid curler, albeit not the best, some would say not be good but I love the game and try to curl as much as possible.
To this end I had the opportunity to join a clergy curling league about 7 years ago. The league requirement is that one member of each team has to be either a clergy member or a staff member of a religious group and that member usually skips in our houses league. Once a year the clergy leagues across a the country get together and host a national bonspiel. This bonspiel usually occurs in or near the city hosting the men’s championship.
Three years ago the bonspiel was held in Regina, with 5 or 6 teams from Ontario participating. Single curlers are also allowed to participate, I was one of these people. When I arrived in Regina I was paired up with a pastor from BC who also entered as a single participant. The host committee found two other local members who agreed to play with us. All teams are guaranteed a minimum of 8 games over 4 days.
When our team first got together the Pastor advised that he wanted to play lead and the other two members stated that they preferred to play any position except skip. So it fell to me, a natural second or lead, to skip for the week. I believe that we were playing a team from my home club in our fifth game. I had thrown lead for the opposing skip at an Briar in Ottawa 3 years earlier and had curled for him in our home league play several times.
Both teams traded points for the first three ends. The end that I remember most started with a close centre line guard followed by a rock to the middle of the four foot behind the button. This was followed by an in-turn freeze to the third rock, which was followed by an out-turn freeze right beside it. Between the teams we now had three rocks in the four foot behind the button. The next rock was an attempted freeze to which came up just shy of the button. Two attempted raises or attempted taps were heavy, then rocks were drawn in to the button or tapped slightly to the button, with each call taking longer and longer to figure out.
By the time we got to my last rock (hammer) the end was already 30 minutes long. I left the call up to my second and vice since they were much better curlers than me. By this time there were 10 rocks in the four foot circle. Thankfully there wasn’t a clock on time to call our shot as I a felt that the time to make the call took about 5 minutes. I am still not sure if the call was to put an 11th rock in the 4 foot circle and to bump or slightly move 5 rocks to pick up a point, since I moved several of the rock and ended up giving up one point.
We played one more end before the time clock ran out on our game. I don’t think I will ever see that many rocks in that small of a spot in my life.
The Friar’s Briar is a great event and everyone enjoys the fellowship each year. I have now been to 4 of these events and will go again next year. Each year we meet several of the players we competed against in early years. Just a fast note that the opposing skip and I agreed when we’re playing later in the week that we were not going to have another end like that.