I am feeling pretty philosophical this week for reasons I am not ready to go into (yet … or at least not ready to go into yet in this blog … and sober [see also, drunk facebooking]), and this morning I had a strange realization that sometimes life isn’t just “like a box of chocolates”. Life is many times like “a full house of rocks and you got the hammer”.
Long story short … it’s a curling reference; and I went curling last night so it’s fresh in my head.
Wait … you say you want a short story long? Don’t mind if I do.
I’ll get you a blog post next month on “Everything you need to know about curling to not be confused during the Olympics” post – but let me give you a short version. It’s like shuffleboard or boccie ball or other games like that where granite stones down a sheet of ice towards a target (called a “house”), and the team with the rocks closest to the center (called “the button”) scores points (either 1 or more depending how many rocks you have further in than the other team). Each team alternates throwing rocks until both teams have thrown their 8 rocks in an “end”; with games lasting 6, 8, 10 ends depending on the game. Anytime a rock is thrown, there is one throwing the rock, one creating the target and calling the shot, and two ready to do the sweeping from the moment the rock is released to when it stops. The last rock thrown is called “the hammer”, and will make or break the whole scoring outcome of the end so much so that much of the other 15 rocks are thrown to either set up the hammer, good or bad. Almost always, the house is filled with rocks, either in it or guarding the front of it – and the hammer has the job of either saving their team from being scored, or adding to or growing the overall score for your team. In Curling – having the hammer especially in the last end is like have the last at bat in a baseball game, or having the ball with time running out in basketball, or being the quarterback in a 2-minute drill – while your team can help out a lot, the game is in your hands.
Because of the role I play, I get the hammer a lot – and the way my brain works, having the hammer is always the opposite of what it is. I hate easy shots because I know I will screw it up. What I keep saying is that the hardest shot for the hammer is “an open draw to the button where you are only adding points”. Like last night, two of my rocks in the house (which gives us a score of 2) and if I put my last rock anywhere in the house we score 3 – what do I do? I knock out one of my other rocks so we score 1. On a twelve foot target, I missed my spot by six feet and hit the only 6 inches of a rock that I didn’t want to hit. I missed the shot because I darn near knew I was going to miss it. In all honesty, it is the hardest shot in curling because it is a lot of pressure. Those that are good at it fall back on two things – one, to rely on their team of sweepers to help them if they aren’t perfect; two, it’s hard but you know how to do it – you do your job you will get it done.
Sometimes, though, there are so many rocks in front of the house that it looks like there is nothing by rocks in the way – honestly, those are the ends I like. You can send rocks back into the house, you can use your rock to knock others out of the way, or you can create a billiard’s game of rocks going everywhere. Also, with that many rocks in the way, if you miss with your original “Plan A”, you are bound to have a “Plan B” (sometimes C, D, E, & F). Some of that is influenced by the shot, some of it by the sweepers, some of it by the guy making the calls in the house; but there are always loads of options. A guy I play with a lot makes it even more fun, when given three or four options, he always … and I mean ALWAYS … chooses the shot that if we make it is the “coolest”. Nine times out of ten we miss, but every time I miss I learn more of what I am capable of throwing, half the time the shot ends up being positive regardless … and that tenth time when we actually hit … well … it’s pretty awesome.
I am not a great curler, but I am not a bad one either. Our team struggles, but not without trying, and not without a lot of fun along the way. Strangely enough, my game last night became exciting, not because of what I missed or didn’t miss, but that our team and the team we played against both did what we were capable of (and when we didn’t it just made things more interesting). Last night we loved the game and when things went wrong we laughed at ourselves louder than we cried.
So it comes down to this:
- Sometimes when you have the hammer and it supposed to be easy – don’t spend time doubting yourself abilities, just go out and do what you know how to do.
- Sometimes when you have the hammer, everything looks like a mess – don’t get caught up on what won’t happen, go after what could happen because it’s always better to try.
- Aim for what is awesome – you may miss, but you will learn from it; but on the other hand guess what happens if you hit it.
- Regardless, just because you have the hammer doesn’t mean your team isn’t there – they are not only by your side from the start, they are will you until the last rock stops.