16.11.07

Their team jackets would be legendary.

At the Medicine Hat Curling Club, the bulletin board is adorned with league standings, bonspiel announcements, and the occasional ad for curling equipment. Also found: a recipe for dessert squares that taste "just like Skor Bars". The secret ingredient is Skor-flavoured Chipits(tm).

The important thing here, though, is the absolute sincerity involved. I've grown to like Medicine Hat for its scenic valleys, strategic location, and various amenities, but I think this is the closest I've come in two years to truly feeling that "charm of a smaller community" that is supposed to be such a big draw.

Of course, I don't go to the curling club for baking tips -- I go to the curling club to curl. Our latest game ended in -- what else? A Flaming Disaster! We had fun, though, and almost all our shots went in the right direction. Baby steps, people.

Far more interesting, however, was our opposition. Frank and his teammates were all pushing seventy, but they were just out for a good time like us. In fact, they were the only other winless team in the league, until they beat us 11-4. The truly endearing thing about them, though, wasn't their sportsmanship. It was their... "familiar" team dynamic.

Frank, you see, is your classic Mr. Big and Tall. His wife (the lead) is almost half his size. He dresses in black and grey, and he calls out his commands in a throaty rumble.

The vice-skip, Roger, is a different story. He's a bit smaller, dresses in red, and has a higher-pitched rasping voice. Also, he thinks he should have the skip's job. It was plain to see in how he argued the skip's decision, in how he held his own little meetings with the other team members, and how he'd yell his sweeping commands over the voice of the skip. It wasn't an ego problem, either. For one thing, all vice-skips are a little like that, and for another thing, this vice-skip was actually a pretty good curler.

In other words, it was just like curling with Decepticons. The comparison between Roger and Starscream was obvious to this child of the 80s, which made Frank a perfect analog for Megatron. His diminuitive wife? Laserbeak. The second was a pretty quiet guy, but we'll call him Soundwave, just so that he doesn't feel left out.

So, if we had to lose, I'm glad we lost to a team like that.

And survived.

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.