Translation: the women's national curling competition is on this week. The top team from each province are playing each other all week, culminating in a playdown and national champion this coming weekend.
We watched a lot of curling on Saturday and Sunday morning which inspired me to head to the curling club on Sunday to practice.
I wanted to practice my ability to hit the broom (ie. my aim) and my ability to maintain control and balance when throwing faster rocks. Doug came along as my personal coach.
Let me back up a bit and explain curling shoes. Curling shoes are pretty neat and very functional but they are not particularly sexy.
The right shoe has a rubber bottom and sticks fairly well to the ice. The left shoe has a smooth plastic bottom and is extremely slippery. When throwing a rock, I slide on my left foot. When I'm not throwing, I put a rubber gripper over the bottom of my shoe which allows me to walk on the ice without falling arse over teakettle.
My sexy pink gripper
When we play a curling game, each player throws two rocks per end. So for every 8 rocks our team throws, I throw two.
I have very weak arches. When I walk around, it's not a big deal. When I have my gripper off for long periods of time, and am sliding on the ice, it can become problematic and quite painful. The problem is that I have to keep my slippery foot on the ice at all time. Instead of walking, I use my right foot to propel myself forward on my slippery left foot. All my weight is on my left foot and it doesn't get a break.
During my practice session I threw 40 rocks. In a regular game I throw 16 rocks with lots of waking breaks in between.
My feet were aching in no time. I kept having to take breaks and walk around to let my exhausted arches bounce back to a semblance of their preferred position before stepping back on the ice and flattening them out again.
I called it a day after 40 rocks. My aim had improved, my control was better and I was apparently looking better when I threw. When I pulled off my shoe and pressed my thumb into my aching arches, they released with a sigh of relief.
Perhaps a marathon curling practice the day after running 22k was not the best idea.
Those damn Scotties ladies - they look so good and they play so well - I just want to be like them!
Rachel Homan - skip of the Ontario team - looking far more elegant than I do in her release. Bet her arches don't hurt either.