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The Game Beyond The Game

Something I don’t mention a lot is a love of curling.

My playing days were very short-lived having recognized quickly how much better suited I was to the game from the couch.

Thinking about strategy, seeing angles, predicting shots and watching the impossible happen is pure mind candy for the old inner geek.

The women’s championship, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts being played this week is like feasting on chocolate, apple crisp and angel food cake all at once.

 

Now before you bail because you don’t get curling, I understand where you’re coming from.

I don’t get baseball or golf.

Hopefully someday I’ll meet someone who does and will explain the deeper workings they see beyond the actual play.

 

As can probably be said for most sports, what I see beyond the game is how much curling is a microcosm of Life.

For as much as you think you’re in control, you’re not.

The more you fight to see what you expect, the greater the struggle met.

 

Top-level curlers practice for hours on end, throwing hundreds if not thousands of rocks.

They spend off-ice time working on their mental and physical conditioning in addition to honing their expertise on strategy.

Even rocks are studied for their behavior.

There’s no doubt as to the effort put into being prepared to play.

 

Except there is so much working against them.

 

Tweak The Path To What Appears

 

On the surface is the inherent fluid nature of curling.

The “board” changes after each shot – planned or not.

Look deeper and there’s a long list of elements conspiring against the players:

– arena ice is not the same as club ice

– different ice makers make different ice

– the building changes ice conditions

– the number of spectators change ice conditions

– the weather outside changes ice conditions

– the ice in the morning is different from the afternoon is different from the evening

– the ice differs between sheets

– the ice changes from the first end to the last

– no two rocks are the same or behave the same

– how the rocks are prepared changes how they behave

– broom types work better on some ice than others

– hair, lint and once even feathers on the ice cause the rock to veer off or stop

– releasing the rock differently changes how it moves on the ice

– throwing with too much or too little weight changes how the rock behaves

… the list goes on.

 

Quite frankly, I’m amazed anyone makes a shot.

You can do everything right and still come out on the bottom scratching your head.

 

I’ve watch world champion curlers fall apart in frustration because they couldn’t figure out the ice.

Or the rocks.

The more they wanted the game to go as they thought, the worse their game became.

Crash. And. Burn.

They resorted to going through the motions, having given up for the promise of the next game.

Unless there isn’t one because this is the finals.

 

Curling is a game of dealing with what’s appearing and making the most of what you’re given.

An over arching strategy to arrive at the end is filled with the tweaks of being flexible to the other opportunities and disappointments that present themselves.

Sometimes you wait for another end to score.

Sometimes you give up a point for the chance to get more.

Sometimes you see the rocks in an entirely different pattern for a shot that wasn’t there a second ago.

Sometimes you forget the last three hours of your life and move on.

 

Strategies, angles and shots are thoroughly enjoyable to watch.

The whole deeper level of players handling themselves in changing conditions is thought provoking.

I’m quite sure obserflecting during games as to their reactions has influenced – for the better – the way I respond to situations in my life.

 

Do you have a favourite sport or activity where you find parallels to Life?

 

 

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Lorraine Watson - on rustic porch

chief nudging officer

Lorraine

Crazy for cats and potatoes, Lorraine's insatiable curiosity of Life leads her to question, explore and push beyond the box. A self-professed "left-brained creative big picture" type, she has an intuitive knack for seeing beyond and beneath first appearances while at the same time nerding out on the details. Most of all she sees and holds others in their highest until they can see it for themselves.

4 Comments

  1. Dawn Downey on February 20, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    First of all, I’m completely charmed by your English spelling of favourite, which we yanks spell favorite. Which sends me off wondering, are Canadians more English than Americans are? I love words.

    As to sports, II think every sport out there is a microcosm of life. Curling is a complete mystery to me, and from my outsider point of view it looks as exciting as golf. But then again, even golf was exciting when Tiger Woods was still playing. So that brings me to the key element of sports: the story. I’m crazy about sports movies, because there’s always a terrific story. Underdog, legend, phenom, ground-breaker, against all odds, bad guys, good guys, losers, winners, inspirational coach, championship game. I love sports movies! Every one of them has a universal human theme, and I never have to understand the actual sport in order to get the message.

    Your post inspired me to think of my writing career in terms of sports. You know––practice hard, keep trying and I’ll eventually win the prize. But then you listed all the things that could go wrong that are out of my control. It’s the same in publishing, it’s miraculous anyone ends up selling a book. I suppose I’ll have to consider myself an underdog in the sport of writing.

    • Lorraine on February 20, 2015 at 11:32 pm

      Must admit I’m a sucker for sports movies and teacher / school movies as well. A lot of similar themes between the two.

      What I take from curling and each shot (and book) being stacked against the odds is a bit different. Continuing to show up and let go of expectations to really see what is goes a long way to mitigate what is out of our control. For me the underdog has the potential to keep the situation framed as us vs them rather than how do we make it work. On the other hand, the underdog also represents someone who know what is possible and true for them, despite appearances, and keep going. That’s a good thing.

      I look forward to seeing the movie of your journey in the sport of writing!!

      PS: For the uninitiated, I’m a big believer in curling is best observed and absorbed rather than studied. The commentary on the Canadian broadcasts (can’t speak for others) is fantastic for explaining rules, strategy, options, and fun facts along with hearing the thought processes of the players because they are mic’ed.

  2. Pearl R. Meaker on March 4, 2015 at 11:09 am

    I’ve always loved curling. I have no idea why. I don’t understand much about it but somehow, I just find it fascinating. When I visited Scotland, I bought a tiny curling stone made with of the granite they use in the fine quality stones.

    • Lorraine on March 8, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      My connection with the game started with fascination too. At first there was just a bunch of rocks banging around and over time I began to see how everything fit together. The tiny curling stone would be cute and tempting to play with!

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