I started my day with a couple of nice notes through the "contact" link on the site.
First was from Gail. By an unlikely sequence of events, two of my three curling matches have involved Gail and her family.
I went to the Hollywood Blockbuster Bonspeil on Friday night because two rinks from our club had their opening draw Friday. I could have gone most any time, but this was something to cheer about.
I got to talk to a lot of people, some club members I hadn't talked to before, some from far away, some from other clubs nearby. Everyone was very nice, with the newest curlers (lots of those) talking about the beginning of their curling journeys, and the more experienced players asking "are you playing?" It was a friendly group.
Some teams give small gifts to the other team at the beginning of a match, a gift of Chocolate, or some other small courtesy, and it's very nice.
There was a rink from the Gourock Curling Club all the way from Scotland. They were immensely popular, not just because they came from so far away, but they brought small bottles of Scotch. They also won. I hope to someday be able to sweep with that much vigor!
In comments about the event, I read "Curlers are just friends I haven't met" and that's true for everyone I met at the Bonspiel.
Gail and her family had a very tough draw -- but I noticed their opponents (the MoPac women's champs) coaching them more than once. How many other sports are like that?
Next year, somehow, I'm going to play.
I chatted with Hollywood Curling's Icemaker, and he talked about some of the "fun" of Arena curling. They worked hard with the Arena ice technicians to try to get a level surface, and I'm told that conditions were quite good on the center two sheets. In addition to playing, the team from Ogden, UT pebbled the ice, and it was beautiful.
My other note was from Dan in Dallas/Ft. Worth. I've been reading their club website, and they've got a growing, dynamic club.
Dan's note reinforced much of what I saw this weekend: a big part of what makes Curling great is the people. Dan writes:
"The social side of curling is the side ONLY the curler's actually see....and it makes the rest of the game even more special!"