Week #24: Every day I’m shufflin’

“You work faster & faster & every time you look up there seems to be just as much left to sweep as before, & you try even harder, & you panic, & in the end you’re out of breath & have to stop…” – Michael Ende, Momo

There are so many things to thank Canada for—Nathan Fillion, maple syrup, & many, manly beards—but I never would have thought I’d add curling to that list…which I’m doing..right now.

One of the brightest (that’s an inside joke, just so you don’t think I’m insulting the rest of you) of the AN52 readers suggested curling as an activity when I was trawling for AN52 ideas (thanks!!). I signed up almost immediately—here it was something completely foreign, somewhat obscure, but with style & panache enough to spare.

In case you don’t know what curling is, it’s just like this—at least if you’re Canadian. You begin by pushing off from the hack (a block stuck into the ice) with the “rock”, that stone with the handle, in your dominant hand & a broom in the other. The idea is to transfer your mass’s momentum to the stone and get it to land in the center target on the other end of the rink. 2 members of your team have brooms and shuffle along the ice sweeping in front of the rock. Too slick & too much momentum, it goes to far; too little, & well, you get the picture. There are 2 teams who alternate throwing & with the strategy that ensues, I can understand why it’s sometimes called “Ice Chess”.

If I haven’t communicated the game play well, at least I can let you know how enjoyable it was. Coming into an ice rink in the middle of the summer heat is refreshing & even though it’s incredibly low-impact, I worked up a sweat & “felt the burn”. I’ve never played a sport that was so social & low-key, kind of like, “Hey, you want to come curling with me? Bring the kids & the dog & the burgers & we’ll all have a good time.”

Despite that there’s still a moment of thrill.When you’re sweeping like mad & the rock is getting closer to your broom (if they touch, they’re disqualified), all that matters in the world is sweeping faster & shuffling faster to set a good path & keep ahead of it. You don’t even have time to ask yourself, Why am I fleeing from a rock sliding down this ice with a broom in my hand? It’s just that much fun.

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