For a while now, my wife and I have talked about doing something to spice up the marriage. Add a little bit of fun to our night.
So we’re doing it.
We signed up for the Barrie Curling Club’s Learn to Curl program and will be full-on curlers soon enough.
I have wanted to curl for years, having been introduced to the game by an awesome family in Bobcaygeon.
As if the game wasn’t Canadian enough, as a kid I would go to the Bobcaygeon Curling Club and play with my wrestling toys under the table while Ken and Jean Cameron — the wonderful parents to my dad’s equally wonderful girlfriend at the time — would hit the ice before coming up to the lounge to have a couple of pops.
I remember sitting on their living room floor — playing with my wrestling toys, yet again — and watching the Brier games that were on. As a kid I wasn’t totally into it, but those images come back when I walk into a curling club or watch what is probably one of the greatest movies ever — Men With Brooms.
I do find it amazing that the Camerons involving me in their favourite family pastime more than 35 years ago has left such a positive and lasting impression on me.
I met a buddy in college who was from a small town and liked curling. Admittedly, we watched women’s curling more because, well, we were college guys and women and beer was what was on our minds when not studying.
I am still fascinated by the game. One of the first big stories I did as a freelance writer was on the 2007 Ontario Scotties at the Dixie Curling Club. I had just got into freelancing and reached out to all of the city’s newspapers covering the event.
The Orillia Packet & Times had me cover the Sherry Middaugh rink while the Ottawa Citizen had me cover Jenn Hanna and her team. It was the most fun I'd had to date as a writer and only pulled me more into my love of the game.
In 2013, I covered the 2013 Dominion Tankard — at was then called the Barrie Molson Centre — which would send an Ontario men’s team to the Brier that year. I was working nights at a warehouse and booked my vacation for that week so I could cover it.
There is something so Canadian about watching curling. I still never miss the Scotties or the Brier, much to the chagrin of our kids.
Throwing a granite rock down a sheet of ice, in a building full of pictures of people in wool sweaters where after the competition the winner buys the loser a drink.
There has never been a more Canadian sentence.
My wife also has wanted to join a curling club and, although she doesn’t watch Men With Brooms 10 times each winter, she loves the idea of getting out and active while meeting new people.
The good news is she is of Scottish descent, so when she plays a game, she plays to win.
I am really looking forward to the social aspect. I expect to lose quite a few games to start and, since I don’t drink anymore, a Gibson’s Finest will mean a diet ginger ale with a lime.
We have friends who are members at the club and reminded us to get involved, so going in we already know people.
But it's a curling club, so talking to friendly people isn’t going to be hard.
I guess I needed to write this as well to inform my bosses I will likely be needing time off, you know, for the mixed doubles championships and eventual Olympic Games we’ll be competing in.
How hard can it be?