... and we're off

I play in the best Curling League in Orange County, California, and last night was our first League game of 2011.

We're growing, which is good.

The bad news: we share the ice with other sports, especially Hockey.  Hockey Leagues are ending as we're starting, and we'll have a bye next week because of Hockey playoffs.

That also means, at least for now, that we don't get first pick on the schedule -- we have to work around promises already made to the other leagues, already in progress.

So, draws are at 8:45pm and 10:45pm.  The late draw ends past midnight (and the bar closes at 2:00).

Six teams per division, with 4 sheets available, means each division alternates between the early draw and the late draw.

We start with the late draw.

At least for now, I'm playing Mate.

I should be playing Lead.  Lead is a great position if you're working on weight -- Leads throw draws and guards, and it's the same shots consistently.  Lead is important, and it should not always be the least experienced player (as some believe).  At the end of the End, it's usually the Skips' rocks, and the Leads' rocks in play.

I like playing Second -- it has a little more variation, but it's still early in the game.  Leads never throw take-outs, and those are fun.

At Mate, you've got the shot-making of a good second (with more freezes, tap-ups, and take-outs, fewer draws) and you play a role in the team strategy.

At this point, I think the rock is always going to slide just a little farther than it does, and I'm fairly consistently calling for my teammates to sweep late.

I also need to channel my inner "Ken" -- make sure my teammates can hear when I'm calling for sweeping.

Posted January 30, 2011, Updated February 15, 2011