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Live from the Universiade! – February 1

Good Morning from Erzurum where it has been snowing non-stop for about 36 hours now.  I’m sure the skiers are happy because the lack of snow that they were talking about earlier on in the week is a non-issue now.

2011 Winter Universiade

It is interesting to see how the Turkish people deal with the snow – all across town you see pick up trucks and dump trucks full of salt that have men with shovels scooping out the salt and throwing it on the roads.  To shovel the sidewalks they have these contraptions made from wood that must be super heavy.  Regardless, the city (and even the village) is one big sheet of ice so we have to be super careful when we walk around to we don’t fall!  We have already heard of one Turkish athlete who fell and broke their wrist.

On the ice yesterday we went 1-1 losing a very winnable game versus Sweden and then beating Slovenia (who have been curling for less than a year) 13-1 in 6 ends.  The Sweden match was a classic example of having ample opportunities and just not converting.  We missed a draw for 2 in 1, rolled out on a hit for 2 in 3, crashed on a guard to lie 3 buried in the 4-foot in 4 and came up light on a draw against 2 in 5.  Another frustrating loss as we were the better team and with three losses our backs are certainly against the wall.

Having seen the linescores from Slovenia’s first five matches we just wanted to focus on executing our shots as well as we could and get off the ice early to rest up for the remainder of the week.  Bill played this game and we were happy to be able to get him some action and since he has now played more than 2 ends he is eligible to receive a medal should we win one later on in the week.

The story of this draw though was the USA-Turkey match.  This match was broadcast live across Turkey and the Turkish fans were absolutely wild – I would imagine it would be sort of like the Canadian crowd in Vancouver.  The Turkish team kept it very close for the first 7 ends and the fans would roar every time a Turkish hit made contact with an American stone.  They even started cheers between different sections of the crowd.  We could tell that the crowd was certainly affecting the young American team and we will be sure to be prepared for a similar crowd when we play Turkey in our last draw on Wednesday evening.

In between games yesterday we went shopping downtown.  A black stone known as “Oltu” can only be found in Erzurum and is said to be stress relieving and is very reasonably priced!  Many rings, bracelets, and earrings were purchased by the moms and girlfriends that are here supporting us as well as for people back home!  Dress clothes are also very reasonably priced and although I couldn’t find a suit big enough for me (the Turkish people in general are smaller in stature) I was able to get some good deals on dress shoes and a belt after bartering a bit!

So, sitting at 3-3 we need to win out to guarantee ourselves at least a TB, 5-4 probably will not cut it. We have the USA today and Korea and Turkey tomorrow.

Standings after draw 6:

Korea: 6-0
GB: 5-1
Swiss: 4-2
Czechs: 4-2
Canada: 3-3
USA: 3-3
Sweden: 3-3
Norway: 2-4
Slovenia: 0-6
Turkey: 0-6

Matches Today:
CAN-USA, GBR-KOR, TUR-NOR, CZE-SWE, SUI-SLO

The girls are also sitting at 3-3 after a heart breaking loss to Korea yesterday.  They were tied after 8, scored a deuce in 9 but gave up 3 in 10 when the Korean skip made an angle tap to the 4 foot.  They battle Germany and Russia today.

That’s all for now, I’m off to breakfast!