I managed to embarrass myself in front of a group of novice curlers on Saturday. Instead of pushing it aside and hoping the incident is forgotten I’ve decided to share it with the nation!
I was filling in for another instructor and working with the Novice League at the Calgary Winter Club when I was asked about rock and foot placement. I was excited by the question. I had a drill. I got everyone to practice sliding while I gleefully tore off to my office to get what I needed.
I returned triumphantly carrying a bungee cord. I excitedly explained that I was going to use the bungee cord to help keep the slider foot behind the rock and spaced properly from it. I was giddy with anticipation. I love the chance to show a great drill with an interesting prop like a bungee cord. I urged everyone off to the side so they could get the best view as I demonstrated.
I wrapped the bungee cord around my throwing hand wrist and then attached it to my hack foot (Any instructors reading will be starting to groan right about now!). I grabbed the rock and began my delivery, all the while prattling on about proper rock and foot placement. As I began to stretch my hack foot out I was dismayed to find I had attached the bungee cord to the wrong foot and my rock arm and trailing leg were now awkwardly bungeed together. I couldn’t stretch out my trailing leg more than a foot and a half so I slid about four feet squished up like a Care Bear in a tin can before blundering to a halt.
I laughed it off and explained my silly mistake. I could see that the curlers watching me were rapidly becoming sceptical of this drill of mine. I knew I had to show them quickly that it wasn’t nearly as ridiculous as I had just made it look! I stepped back into the hack, this time I attached the bungee cord to my slider foot instead and resumed my lecture on the many virtues of proper foot placement. I kicked out of the hack while still talking and immediately tripped and sprawled out on the ice, snapping back awkwardly when the bungee cord reached its limit.
Red faced I leapt up and claimed a day of inexplicable clumsiness! Luckily another instructor was helping me out and she was kind enough to try the drill and able to demonstrate it properly before the entire class decided I was crazy and left early. We carried on and I was thrilled and a little more embarrassed when everyone managed to give it a try successfully and understand the point.
I have been curling for more than 20 years. I know I have a technically sound delivery. I’m used to talking while sliding and teaching people of all ages and from all walks of life. I am NOT beyond making humiliating mistakes.
My point is this, if you’re scared to try curling because you might fall and embarrass yourself or you’re worried because you dropped your broom, kicked a rock, or fell on your butt in front of a whole league, take comfort in my story. We all do silly things sometimes; we all make mistakes, even curlers who’ve been at it for years.
So chin up. You’re doing great… even if you spend some time getting up close and personal with the pebble once in a while!
Watch next week for more beginner tips.