It all came down to the last stone

A few weeks ago I won tickets to a curling game at a team-building thing at work. The tickets were for the final of the Brier, a rather major deal in Canada. The Brier is the Canadian men’s championships and the winning team will go to compete in the Worlds later this year.

So, yes, rather big deal here and I had a lot of jealous folks at work trying to bribe me to take them with me or even just buy my tickets. Given the interest, I decided that I’d like to go and I wanted to take a friend that I’d be able to enjoy the game with. My knitting friend C was the first person to show interest (who was actually here to go!) and so we were set.

I braved a new bit of the city to pick C up from her house last night and she directed me to parking not far from the centre where the game was being held. I’ve spent a lot of the week cramming so that I can understand the scoring and some of the basic rules. Watching curling during the Olympics was very confusing and I was determined that I’d at least know why the winning team won this time.

It was a total blast and much more exciting than I’d ever expected! C was a great companion, being enthusiastic, knowledgeable and fun. We both knitted through a lot of it with C providing commentary to explain tactics and strategy so that I knew why the teams had done things that looked, on the surface, nonsensical.

The two teams, Alberta and Ontario, were very evenly matched and they went into the final end with only a one point difference. That end was won by the team (cannot remember which, now) that had been behind and they were even on five points each. Oh noes!

This meant that they had to play an extra end to decide it, with the winner of that end winning the entire game. They both played very well and it looked like Ontario might win, but Alberta had the hammer (a very important curling thing) so they threw the final rock. Ontario had their stones so well placed that the only way Alberta could possibly win was to place their rock very precisely in the centre of the circles, which involved precision and getting the rock to curl around Ontario’s rocks.

It was incredibly tense watching the sweepers trying to get the rock to slide into the right place (and stop!). C and I were both certain that Alberta would come up short because the rock was going very slowly, but somehow it didn’t and Alberta won. Despite there being a bigger contingent of Ontario supporters than Alberta, the entire place erupted as that rock stopped and the atmosphere was wonderful.

The official game report is here, for those who are interested: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/curling/story/2010/03/14/sp-curling-brier-final.html

My first curling game was a huge success and I’m so glad that I opted and take a curling fan friend rather than letting someone at work buy them from me 😀

The only downside is that I got in from the game incredibly late (I’d just like to say that the organisation getting us out of the centre and the parkade was amazing – no queues, everyone out very smartly) and I’ve had about four hours sleep. Really looking forward to my bed tonight!

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