This week I witnessed one minor injury, a major one, a broken rock handle, a broken broom, and a lot of dangerous behaviour. Call it a fluke, call it a crazy week, call it whatever you want but I think it’s a sign we all need a little reminder about safety.
This is the time of year when we start to get comfortable, perhaps even complacent. I catch myself now and then roaring down the ice on my slider at breakneck speed to get something from the other end. And for what? Will I gain super hero status for being faster than a speeding bullet when it comes to retrieving forgotten sliders and grippers? They sure as heck won’t be handing me a cape and mask if I show up in the ER and explain my heroic stupidity!
So let’s review:
- DO NOT PULL OUT THE OPPOSITION’S ROCKS! Just leave them alone. It’s not a courtesy, it’s a hazard!!! Really.
- Make sure your gripper fits nice and tight, if it falls off you’re goin’ down!
- Wear a gripper when you sweep.
- Step on the ice with your gripper first and off with you slider first.
- SLOW DOWN, there are no extra points awarded for speed on your slider.
- Don’t worry about how far you go when you deliver, there are no extra points awarded for sliding to the far end.
- Don’t follow your rocks. Your sweepers are quite capable of handling the situation.
- Keep your equipment out of the way. The ice is dangerous enough; nobody needs to trip over a bag or a jacket while on the boards.
- If you’re skipping wear a gripper. It’s hard enough to think of strategy, why add in the danger of trying to keep your balance too. It’s like trying to walk and chew gum!
- Be aware of the rocks and where you and everyone on your sheet are. This is especially important if you don’t have sideboards.
- It’s important to know the emergency procedures at your club just in case. If you’re not sure about something speak to the club manager, icemaker, or curling pro.
There’s no reason to be frightened; relax and have fun, but always be aware. Be as vigilant as you can and your attention to safety will keep you on the ice.
Watch next week for more beginner tips.