Bonspieling For The Holidays


This weekend kicks is the first real Curling Bonspiel of the season I am in.  A Bonspiel is a curling term for a tourneyment (if you don’t know what curling is, I’ll get to that … promise).  Most bonspiels (or spiels) are done for fun with some cash prizes or whatnot, but some are pretty competitive.  They are set up so that teams will get in at least 3 games during the weekend and depending on the number of teams can last all weekend long.  Many times games can go well into the night, like last spring when I was at the club until after 1am when another four teams were heading out to start their game — which also means I was quite drunk at the time (or as commonly called “Bonspieling”).  This weekend’s at the Anchorage Curling Club is pretty limited and laid back — a holiday themed 8 team spiel including a white elephant exchange and surprises along the way.  The latest any game is going is 9PM, which means there will probably be some bar hopping involved.

For the uneducated, Curling is a my latest goofy hobby — this one actually being an Olympic sport.  Many recognize it being similar to shuffleboard, bocce ball, & lawn bowling, but has it’s own unique nature.  The game is played on ice sheets that have a layer of frozen droplets of water like pebbles on the surface (called pebbling).  Two teams of four players each slide a total of eight granite stones per team (total of 16 rocks) down the ice alternating shots between each team.  They do so toward a set of rings painted under the ice (called the House).  The team with the rock in the house closet to the center scores points, and they get a point for each rock in the house closer to the center than the opposing team’s rock.  The rock is thrown with a light spin so that as it goes down the ice it will turn (or curl … thus the name) giving it the ability to move around other rocks in the way.  The direction and speed of the rock is influenced by team members sweeping in front of the rock to make it go further and straighter.  I’ll put a longer post up near the Olympics (when you can if you want watch hours and hours of the game from Socci) that will explain it better.

What’s funny is that I this is my third real spiel, and I haven’t done well in the first two, going 1 win & 5 losses.  While our team was just not that good in one, the other had some real talent – including a top junior girl, the oldest member of the club, and the father of an Olympic curler.  Part of the problem is that I was always on teams that were just thrown together.  We wanted to be different this year, and put together  league team with the purpose of spieling together — but one of those had other plans for this weekend, and another on the injured reserve (the third was actually a replacement for our original team, but has done well in his first season).  So we ended up just throwing together a team again.  Still – its not that bad and we could get in a few games of good curling, who knows.

The important thing to know for right now is that I am playing this weekend — a lot.  Like I said, at least three games.  While I have to spend Saturday morning testing for a professional certification (which should be a way bigger deal than spieling) I will be getting my spiel on for the rest of it.


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