It is a great time to be a sports fan, both at the local level and at the professional level.
Locally, high school volleyball teams from a number of Prince George schools are ranked provincially; high school football is kicking into gear; the UNBC men’s and women’s soccer teams are well into their seasons; and the Spruce Kings and Cougars are just nicely underway.
Professionally, the CFL is winding down while the NFL is starting to sort itself out; Major League Baseball is into the playoffs; the NHL is just starting; and even the NBA is into its preseason.
And, to keep my Mom happy, curling is back.
I get a kick sometimes thinking back to watching curling on TV with friends who didn’t follow the sport and “we’ll watch it because there’s nothing else on”.
Then a couple of hours later, they’re getting into every shot and even discussing strategy as though they had been playing the sport their whole lives.
I think part of that is because curling is, in a lot of respects, a very easy game to grasp. You throw rocks (underhanded, preferably) towards a target, and whoever gets closest to the target scores. The more rocks you have closer to the target than your opponent’s closest rock, the more points you score.
I have done a bit of curling, many years ago. At the first paper I worked at in High Prairie, Alta., they had what they called a Town and Country League every Friday. You didn’t enter as a team, you entered as an individual, and the organizer assigned people to teams to try to make it as competitive as possible.
I started out, logically, as a lead, and by the end of the season, I was curling third for whatever team I was on. I don’t think my actual curling had improved that much over the course the weekly events, but I did know a fair bit about the game and the strategy.
I knew my game still wasn’t that strong when one of my skips explained her reasoning for asking for a certain shot from me one game: “If you make it, we get rid of a couple of guards. If you miss it, the odds are you’re going to end up right near the button.”
In other words, she was assuming there was a good chance I wasn’t going to make the shot, and strategizing accordingly.
That usually wasn’t a bad idea.