Bucket List: How I Hurried, Hurried Hard

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My feet press out behind me. My pelvis is flat down. All my upper body weight is pressed into the handles my hand grip tightly to. My head is lifted out in front of me. All the while I am sliding forward on a sheet of thick ice in a room that is just at freezing. Make no mistake, what I was doing was not at all right. However, while I am doing this an item on my bucket list has a big thick line going thru it.
Tonight, I learned how to curl.
Curling is a Scottish sport, majorly popular in Canada, and has gained a foothold the last few years because of the press it gets during the Olympics. The club in Anchorage has been around since the 50s, but the Fairbanks Curling Club is the oldest sports club of any kind in the USA.
in Curling, Teams slide granite stones down a sheet of ice trying to land them as close to the center of a target as possible. Two teams in a match alternate sliding (or “curling”) the stone, and the one team with the closest stones to the center get point(s). While the stone is in route, other team members use brooms to warm the ice in front of the stone to keep it moving – all while they are getting shouted at to hurry .. When I picture curling I picture people with brooms a shouts of HURRY and HURRY HARD!!!
There is a lot more to it, and loads of strategy. That’s what first interested me. When I was in college we picked up Canadian channels who, during the late winter, would show loads of curling. The had the junior Canadian championships one weekend, the women’s the next, the men’s the next, then the worlds. It was a great sport to study to and has as much credit for my GPA as all those band credits.
When they started showing the games during the Olympics I got just as interested, even scheduling work around watching the curling. All the while I kept promising myself that if I ever got a chance I would try this sport.
I remember seeing the curling club in Anchorage when I visited in 2006. When I moved here I looked up the website and wondered. Co-workers talked about it too and we kept checking. Tonight, the Anchorage Curling Club had a “Learn to Curl” night … And I was there … And I got hooked.
I can say that what makes curling unique is that it really like a lot of things. It’s on ice, like hockey. It looks like shuffle board but plays more like bocci ball or lawn bowling. It seems like darts with the aiming. It seems like you need skill and technique over power like golf. And like bowling – it’s best when you have a beer with it.
Next week I am going to show up to see if I can get onto a league team. Which will make me not just someone who curled but a league curler. It’s almost funny in a surreal way – this thing I wanted to try I now tried and now … Who knows. It could lead to, I don’t know, a drinking problem.

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