Drove 50 miles for this?

Last night was the final game in the Hollywood Curling Clubs' Fall League.

I can only describe the night as "silly."

It started by getting out the door a tiny bit late -- and while I've been consistently early, I got there nearly a half hour after the scheduled "start" -- Hollywood includes set-up time in their schedule, so I really was there for the league photo and the start of the game.

We were playing for last place, and so we were on sheet A -- that's A for awful.

Arena ice, so less than perfect.  The particular arena in Paramount is off level in the long direction, so one end you throw uphill, then downhill next.  Makes finding the right weight interesting.

Sheet A has the Zamboni gate coming in on one corner, and the hockey benches along one side.  Normally, the sheet next to the hockey benches falls toward the benches.

I don't know why, but this sheet A falls away from the benches -- hard!

More about the benches later.

I decided to play in Hollywood to learn more about Curling.  My O.C. team is pretty tight -- it's not unusual for us to spend time together outside curling, either individually or as a group.  Last Friday was a team birthday for those of us who got older the Tuesday before, and this Friday is a party.  My Hollywood team has five players counting me, and their careers often take someone away -- so we often play short -- and I've shuffled through all four positions.

Flash back to a couple of years ago when Misha, Brenna and I played a drop-in at Curl San Diego.  They have a sheet there that behaves the same way.  Took us a few ends, but we figured out that you call the shot 5 feet outside the boundary, and negative-ice, and you could draw to the button.

When Debbie asked me to skip for our game last night, I was thinking alot about San Diego.

Hollywood wasn't that good.  It's playable, but it's a different game.

Most of the time, strategy does not come into play.  You don't really set guards and throw around them, it's pretty much a straight fight to get into the house.

Once a rock gets in the house, the other team can choose to take it out, and if you can get the stone to roll far enough it's unreachable. 

You can freeze against the rock, and you'll probably be closer to the button.

For most of my shots, my aim point was a good 15 degrees off of the center line, and if thrown too light, the rock would finish crossing the sheet at a 45 degree angle.

For the shots I called, I was consistently holding the broom against the boards, near the center of the rink.

Remember the hockey benches?  Our opponents were calling their shots holding the broom against the wall inside the benches.

Then it got silly.  The skip would stand at the near hog line, feet apart, and have their teammates throw the rock between their legs.  That was actually pretty effective.

At the start of the 8th, we were tied 3-3, with one blank end.  They put a rock in the house, and I threw a takeout that should have rolled in, but rolled out.

Tiebreaker, short end, four rocks.  None in play.

Tiebreaker #2, skip's rocks, nothing in play.

So the record books will show that last place match ended in a 3-3 tie.  It's okay because any day you can curl is a good day.

Posted December 10, 2012