The snow banks are growing on the edges of the roads here in my neighbourhood, making it something of an adventure every time I try to back out of my driveway. The familiar rumble of the snowplow doing its thing at about 4 a.m. every morning has become just another reminder that it’s February, the dead of winter. As the snow piles up and the temperatures creep down, we have two choices: complain about it, or embrace it.
For curlers, winter is the best season of the year, of course, and I’m as avid a curler as the next broom-carrying, bonspiel-attending Canadian. But sometimes the weather makes me want to return my broom and gear to its storage spot in the hall closet. The effort required to shovel out the driveway, clear the windshield, and endure the short, very cold drive to the club is sometimes enough to make me consider pulling out the spare list and bailing on my team.
But of course I don’t. February isn’t going to get the best of this curler!
If the challenges of winter are bringing you down, here are a few reminders of why it’s better to get out to the club rather than succumb to the urge to pull up the quilt, light the fire and grab the remote.
The season is ramping up
February is the season of bonspiels and playdowns. League play is becoming more meaningful as the standings start to take shape. Games are important – increasingly more important than they were earlier in the season – and teams are starting to look over their shoulders at the challengers or up the ladder at the leaders. People are pumped for the upcoming television coverage of the Scotties and Brier, and if you live in the vicinity (that means within a few hours’ drive) of the hosting city, you’re buying your tickets for the big show. The winter may be dragging on, but February seems to be the time when clubs turn it up from a slow simmer to a near boil. You don’t want to miss that.
Bathing suit season is coming
Yes, it is. Hard to believe, as you slip and slide once more through the snow to get to the club, but in just a few months, the golf clubs will be coming out, the sun will be beating down, and you might be reaching for the lightweight summer clothing. Want to know a great way to burn off extra comfort-food calories? Try sweeping lots of rocks in an 8-end game. Want to work those quads and shape those doughy winter legs? Get down in the hack, use your muscles in your slide, push yourself up to stand, and do it at least 15 more times before handshakes. Anyone who thinks curling isn’t a physical game obviously hasn’t curled. And if you’re in the back end, don’t be afraid to switch with a front-end player to give yourself more opportunities to break a sweat.
Remind yourself why you play this game
We play this game because we love it. Curling provides us with friends to work and play with. It gives us opportunities to support our clubs and give back to our communities. It makes us move – and don’t kid yourself: moving can sometimes be hard in the dead of winter. Curling motivates us: maybe this will be the night you make the double takeout that wins the game (or at least makes it easier for the skip’s last rock). Maybe this is week your team finds that magic ingredient to defeat those A-flight stars who seem to have your number.
Bears hibernate, but curlers curl
Curlers don’t hibernate because they are kept awake by all the action going on at their club. Come on, get going – the end of the season will be here all too soon.