Traction Control.

When kids aren't natural talents in their sport, you often see them making up their own fun. They'll dig holes in the outfield with their heels, or try to stuff golf balls into their mouth, or just fiddle around with cheat codes, rather than play team deathmatch.

Likewise, if you needed more proof that I'm not a great curler, look no further than the fact that more than curling itself, I love sliding down the rink. Even though you're just returning to your position for the next rock... for a split second, you're poised on one foot, broom in both hands, your open jacket is billowing in the chilled air, and compared to all the other players, frozen in their concentration, you're flying past them like you're skateboarding through a museum.

That's why I always wear a slider while sweeping, even though it's not really necessary. But I was trying a different style of sweeping today, so I went without a slider, only putting it on to throw my rocks.

This worked fairly well, and it even made me feel a bit more professional. I was enjoying some exceptional accuracy with my take-outs, and the skip started calling for more challenging shots, which I took as a show of confidence. (Or possibly, he had no other choice. Skips aren't usually forthcoming with details like that.) One particular shot in the fifth end was a difficult bump-and-roll: a take-out that would curl around a guard, hit the opponent's rock, and come to rest behind a guard of its own. I crouched down, visualised the shot, and pushed off.

What happened next was something I'd never experienced before. Coming out of the hack, the entire world slowed down. Rather than flying through a museum, I was now one of the museum exhibits, slowly toppling off the pedestal and bumping along the floor as everyone turns in horror. The only thing I could do at normal speed was think - even after my initial shock, I still had all the time in the world to analyse what went wrong, and how I was going to blog about it that evening. As you may have guessed, I forgot to put my slider on.

There was only one direction I was going - straight down, face first into the ice, and all I could do was make sure I didn't take my rock with me. And so, I torqued my elbow and shoved the rock away before I sprawled out on the sheet. (Note for non-curlers: throwing a rock with your arm is generally accepted as the worst way you possibly deliver a rock, save for kicking it. It's about as elegant as signing your name with a metre-long pencil.)

At first, until they saw what had happened, the opposing team was actually impressed with my form - they hadn't often seen someone stay so low to the ground in delivery. Our skip noticed, too - his exact words were, "What sort of a Batman pose is Denton trying over there?" Meanwhile, I stood up, shook the ice off my jacket, and joked about it with the other team. Only once the sweepers came back did I actually look to see what had happened. My take-out curled around a guard, hit the opponent's rock, and came to rest behind a guard of its own. It was a perfect shot.

Naturally, I spent the rest of the game trying even harder to regain that "professional" feeling I'd had earlier, which meant I didn't make a single shot afterwards.

But at least I was flying again.


Crystal L. Kirkham said...

Only you could ever manage to do that! Bravo.

Stefanos said...

How is it that the greatest achievements are often done by accident? Safety glass, floating soap, the microwave oven, and add to the list, 'a perfect shot.'

About The Author

My photo

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.