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Last Rock Standing

Tanya (Ashton) Reid

February 9, 2023

This curling story was written by my 16 year old son Ashton…

Who knew hurling rocks down a sheet of ice could be so exhilarating? “Hurry hard!” someone screamed at the top of their lungs.

Curling has been an important part of my life for the past eight years. The strategy, precision and gameplay interests me. I trained hard and worked hard up until this moment. Every inch of my body was prepared for the Regional Tournament.

It was the winter of 2018, I was only twelve years old, and the big event was the grand finale of our successful curling season. We had won the local zones championship which permitted us to play in the next level of competition. It was a frigid and crisp morning in March as I entered the Manotick Curling Club. The day felt full of hope and optimism.
I walked into the curling club which has come to feel like my second home. Four sheets of freshly pebbled ice, curling rocks and brightly coloured rings welcomed me. My nerves started to escalate as I saw seven other teams with vibrant, matching jackets. “We aren’t in the little leagues anymore.” I thought to myself.

As I sauntered around the lobby searching for my team and coach, I noticed an abundance of spectators waiting for the games to commence. The realization surfaced just how significant and important this event was. I glanced at a table filled with polished trophies and eye-catching banners and I was surged with motivation. There was a nervous energy and excitement in the air as all the eight teams were getting their last minute prep talks with their coaches.

I found our team location and began putting on my curling gloves, shoes and team jacket. Wearing my team jacket makes me feel a sense of belonging and inclusion. Our coach gathered us and proceeded to create an exciting and confident mood through her encouraging and motivating words. “You’ve earned this. You’ve got this. You deserve this.” she said to us as we became more driven, energetic and inspired.

It was time. I opened the door to the rink and the cold air hit my face. The challenge of climbing Mount Everest seemed easier than the task ahead.
During six hours of play, every sound added to the intensity. The rocks shuffling down the ice, team skips yelling to sweep and the silence of teams strategizing and focusing. Game after game the flow of victories was never ending. I could taste the opponents’ fear. We felt unstoppable and undefeatable. Our confidence skyrocketed.

Our wins led us to the final destination. Winning this game would mean becoming Regional Champions. My heart was pounding with adrenaline. I knew the job I had to do. I could have pushed the broom through the ice with the amount of pressure I was using to sweep. When it was my turn to throw the rock, my hand touched the cool handle as I settled into the hack to launch the rock down the sheet of ice.

By the end of the 6th end, we had done all we could to attempt to secure the victory. We were sitting with the winning point closest to the button but they had the last rock. They had one more opportunity to steal the victory from our hands. It came down to their precision to get one more point. As the rink filled with silence, everyone on the sheet became nervous. The shot was thrown. It barely made it past the guarding rocks to eliminate our winning rock. It was over.

Suddenly, a loud thunderous sound filled the rink. We turned to see the spectators cheering and banging on the windows aggressively. At this moment we were filled with disappointment about this loss. I was broken.

Through the discouragement, at that moment I was also filled with pride. I had trained and worked genuinely hard to get to this point. We still had a lot to celebrate and be thankful for. We would come back stronger and better because of the experience the following year.