Tag Archives: Dinner League

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.

The Secret Word

As a child of the ’80s, I loved watching Pee-Wee’s Playhouse on Saturday mornings. I especially loved the “secret word” that was a cue for everyone in the Playhouse to scream every time someone said it. I am convinced that in the past 24 hours of my life, the secret word has been mentor.

1. In yesterday’s local paper, there was an article explaining how Big Brothers Big Sisters is trying to quantify the impact of high-quality mentoring.

2. Toward the end of the school day yesterday, one of the veteran teachers stopped me in a moment of stress. She said she mentored the teacher next door and needed some help around approaching a difficult conversation that they’ve been trying to have during their last few meetings. I said, “So you as a mentor kind of need a mentor right now?”

3. I had a great, long-overdue catch-up phone session with my mom yesterday afternoon. She always asks about work, and I explained to her some of the positives of late and how I think my role has really evolved into the mentoring position that I was looking for before we moved to AK.

4. Last night was Dinner League, our regular Wednesday night curling session followed by a home-cooked dinner with everyone there. I was chatting with a fellow curler who is a high school history teacher up here, and I asked her if she had heard of some of the different free online history resources available. While I was describing the site, she stopped and said, “Hey, are you a content mentor?”

5. This morning I wrote an email to my most recent mentors, the two women who led all of my professional development training last year in northern California. I just wanted to thank them again for being such professionals and role models, masters of the art of mentoring. One of them responded immediately, and she wrote that she has a feeling we will work together again someday. I love that thought!

6. The veteran teacher (see #2) and I met this afternoon in a follow-up conversation to strategize about how best to mentor all of her mentees (she has three). I explained that I am a total dork and love talking about mentoring as a practice, so she can tap my shoulder whenever needed.

7. Icing on the cake? I’m catching up on last night’s episode of Top Chef this evening, and the episode is titled “Mentors.” Whaaat? For the elimination challenge that determines the Final Four, each contestant had to cook a dish that would make their respective mentors proud. Yes, all of the mentors appeared as a surprise to the contestants, and all of them — mentors and mentees alike — were very emotional seeing each other.

Conclusion: The secret word is mentor.  [insert long, extended, joyful scream here] (Did I mention that currently my sister is mentoring a high school student? And that one of my best friends is a life coach (aka a mentor)?) My ears are peeled for the next Secret Word; I only hope it wil be as obvious as this one.