The courtesies of the past are not necessarily the courtesies of today. There is one particular past courtesy that needs to be quashed.
Imagine for a moment you’re playing a game. You go back to the hack to get your stone ready to throw but lo and behold it’s already been pulled out for you. You think to yourself, “well isn’t that nice, I’ll just get their stone out for them.”
During the next game you play you decide to continue with this little courtesy. That’s when it happens; the opposition’s thrower is heading towards the hack. She’s sliding backwards because she wants to see what happens with your stone. Suddenly she feels something unexpected slam into the back of her heel and she goes down like a tonne of bricks! She falls half on the ice and half onto the boards, smashing her back on the sharp drop down to the ice. She tripped on the stone you so “courteously” left out for her.
I have seen this happen and it isn’t pretty. Sure it wasn’t your intent to trip her. You thought you were being helpful. However, it would have been far more helpful to have left her stone in the corner.
It used to be common practice to pull out the stone for the opposition. Now we’re trying to change that for a couple reasons. The primary reason is the one mentioned above. There is also the fact that you have no way of knowing in what order the opposition is throwing their stones.
While most teams throw their stones in order from 1 to 8 it isn’t always the case. For instance, a team may decide the 8 stone runs a little slow. They may then give that stone to the second. The skip would then be throwing the 3 stone. If you are getting the 3 stone out for the second you are wasting their time and yours because they’ll just have to put it back and pull out the 8.
The bottom line is that best practice is to leave the opposition’s stones alone even if it feels funny to not return the “favour” they are doing for you. If we all work together eventually we can get rid of this so-called courtesy altogether.
Watch next week for more beginner tips.