"You know," I said offhandedly, "it would be really neat if we put together a curling team this winter."
"Well, why don't we?", replied MJ.
I didn't really expect him to show interest. I thought that it was just another of my "foolish notions", like learning Hindi so that I could get a job as a stereotypical white thug in Bollywood. Or, at best, that it would be one of those "good idea, but don't expect me to help you" sort of deals, like driving a disco bus across Canada, with scheduled stops at every city for people to come and cover it with graffiti.
Buoyed by positive reinforcement, I sent out a few invitations at work. The response was not just positive, but strong: People wanted in! I had my four-person team in a few days, and those who couldn't make it still wanted to come to our practice sessions. Even if they had no interest whatsoever, they were almost always glad to see someone else doing it.
Perhaps I'm jaded, but I thought curling was an easy sport to dismiss nowadays -- people will often snort and deride it as being "bowling on ice" (never seeming to acknowledge that bowling is fun, too). Last year, the greenhouse's annual funspiel was cancelled due to lack of interest. And yet, I had no trouble finding a foursome, ready to commit their Saturday mornings for the next five months. What happened?
I think the main reason is that I'm advertising this as "a team that will lose every single game they play." We'll have to leave our pride in the boot rack for this one, because there's a total of seven months curling experience between all four of us. If that's the case, it makes for an odd inversion: curling's getting more exposure as a serious pasttime, but it only gains acceptance as a frivolous one. Hey, whatever works.
The scary thing, though, is that six of those seven months are mine. That's right, ladies and gentlemen: I'm the skip. My high school coach is breaking out in a cold sweat, even as I type this. This doesn't bode well, but on the bright side, that means I get to pick the name. Here are my options so far:
House of Ill Fame
School of Rock
Rock It With a Hurry Game
The Flaming Disasters
(or, Denton's Disasters)
The Brothers Gibb
All We Throw Are Take-Outs
I'm partial to that last one, myself, but I'd love to hear any other suggestions.
And trust me... you haven't heard the end of this story yet.