Curling Notes

Monday – Just for Fun League: I like playing on Monday nights. It’s low-pressure, has a wide range of ability on the ice, and gives me much-needed practice. This week I let the competitive part of me get in the way of having fun… And I don’t think the only other woman on my team enjoyed me as a teammate. Whenever I tried to help her sweep the rock harder, she seemed to get frustrated and give up, which in turn annoyed me more because I felt like I was doing more work. And I couldn’t get out of my own head after missing a few shots. Instead of focusing on the next round, I continued to anticipate repeating my mistakes. Shockingly, I repeated my mistakes. (sigh)

Wednesday – Dinner League: We only had three players instead of four. Our communication level was much better, but our execution was lacking. We got down early, stayed down, and spent too much time lamenting the fact that we were losing to this particular team instead of doing what we needed to do. Lesson learned on the ice, but thankfully socializing before dinner was lovely.

Thursday – Competitive League: I was invited to play as a sub tonight, which meant I was throwing lead. It is possibly my favorite position because I either have to shoot draws or relatively simple take-outs, and the rest of the time I’m a good soldier who sweeps as I’m told to by the skip. The competition level is much higher on Thursday nights, and the strategy of the game is much clearer when everyone on the ice executes well. Not wanting to stick out as the weak link on my team, I definitely had to step it up. Tonight was by far my best performance, even though it was my 3rd loss of the week. We were competitive as a team, and we all felt good about how it went. A few different decisions here and there could have turned it in our favor, but that’s part of playing the game.

Curling is a funny sport — throwing rocks down sheets of ice while teammates sweep the rock. It’s one of those sports that you have to watch to understand, and it got a ton of coverage in the 2010 Olympics. Since moving to Alaska, we started curling in the fall, and I think I have found my new lifetime sport. It is, perhaps, one of the most team-oriented team sports I have ever experienced. Why? Because no one can hide. Every person on the team has to throw two rocks every single end, and everyone on the team (other than the skip) has to sweep. In other words, there is no hiding the weak link, and one really excellent player can’t carry an entire team. As I learned in my Curling 101 session, there are only two things under my control during each end: the two rocks I get to throw and my attitude.

It’s going to take time to develop control over the rocks I throw, and I’m practicing that every week, obviously. It sort of amazes me that I spend my days at work trying to have a good attitude and trying to teach kids about having excellent social skills, yet I can still manage to be a lame teammate sometimes because I want so much to win. I know that goes back to my desire for “best” status, but tonight I managed to find the right balance between focus and enjoyment.

Maybe curling is just a game, but I have always thought that sports offer clear metaphors for life. Stay in each moment, enjoy the process, do your part to support the team… and always come out a winner, regardless of the final score.

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