Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hurrrrrreee haaaarrrrrrd

Tis the roarin' game, b'ys.

The first time I had to head to the curling rink to cover a spiel, I hated it. There were still ashtrays at either end of the ice back then.

These were not the ideal athletes.

Things were a bit different when I moved out west. People were nuts about this game.

And as a sports reporter, it was my duty to learn the game inside and out ... from angle-raise takeouts to draw weight vs. hack weight and why Barry McPhee curled in dress shoes covered in duct tape.

When I moved to Calgary to work at the Sun, I was relegated to desk work. I was off the street, taking the odd kernel thrown my way and writing my story from the limitations of a phone.

The opportunity existed ... and I managed to carve out a tiny little niche for myself by covering - of all things - curling.

I worked my beat to the ends of the earth, compiling a contact list that included Randy Ferbey, Dave Nedohin, Kevin Martin, John Morris, Colleen Jones, Cheryl Bernard ... yeah, I'm name-dropping. What?

I've done stories on every level of the competition -- from drunken spiels to world championships, the Scotties and the Brier, and the Olympics.

And so it was that I stepped into the mire of teaching over the last two weeks.

I've never claimed to have much patience and I've always gotten bothered by endless whys and whatfors.

Until now.

Friends were texting me ... Twitter pals were @ing me ... the emails were coming fast and furious.

How are the points scored? Why are those rocks left outside of the circles? What is the sweeping for?

I loved it.

I loved knowing that the game, getting the ultimate spotlight on the Olympics stage, was being opened up to a whole new influx of fans.

One Facebook friend, in Texas of all places, wants to learn how to curl.

And that will put her one step ahead of me ... because I've never played the game either.

Maybe it's time to learn.

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