Monday nights I am a spare for curling. Which means that I might get a phone call any time asking me to fill in for any player on any team. Things that make me uncomfortable, that push me outside of my comfort zone, are things that I like to sign up for.
Showing up and introducing myself to three strangers and then having to play on their team and not let them down definitely throws me outside of the realm of comfortable. The first time I spared, I knew no one. I shook hands and wondered whether or not to tell them that I'm not really good at takeouts. Or finesse shots. Or throwing out turns...or aiming.
I decided not to say a word and just pretend that I knew exactly what I was doing.
I played lead (the person who throws the first two rocks) and held my own...sort of. We won anyway which always helps endear teams to their spare. I was asked to spare for another team the next week. I played lead again, held my own again...and we won again.
Then I was asked to spare for someone I actually knew. He was sick but his wife was there so I had a friend on the team. I played second (the person who throws the third and fourth rocks) and...we won again.
The following week I was asked back to the same team to spare for the wife this time. She had injured her back and would be out until after Christmas. So I've been adopted and have been playing second position for them for a month. It's been fun, we've won and we've lost but we're turning into a real team. And they ask me to make shots I don't normally make so I've been learning how to make take outs and do out turns.
This past Monday night, two players were missing from the team. I spared for one and another woman was called in to spare as well. The skip (ie. the captain) decided that I was the most experienced player of the three so I was now going to play vice.
The vice has a lot of little jobs that are traditionally their responsibility. They flip the coin to see which team will throw first. They agree on the score at the end of each end and then have to post the score. The part that makes me go 'eeeep!' though is the fact that the vice has to hold the broom when the skip throws their two rocks and they have to call the shot in terms of when to sweep and how hard. Call it wrong and it's just as damaging as throwing it wrong. You can completely mess up a perfect shot.
So I held the broom and I screamed "Hard!!" when I thought I should. I messed up a few shots by waiting too long to get the sweepers sweeping but I also saved a few with a mix of luck and more luck.
We won 9 to 8 and it was hard fought all the way through.
Best part? They've asked me back after Christmas to spare for their vice who will be away for most of the season.