Around the House: Table talk

It’s another typical Wednesday night at my club. Our game is over and we head off the ice to change out of our curling gear and into “civvies”. The round tables – large enough to accommodate all eight curlers and a couple of guests if necessary – lie in wait around the room. (Actually, they lie in wait around a pretty snazzy dance floor, but we don’t usually make use of it on curling nights!). It was a good game on the ice tonight. We held the lead for a few ends but let our opponents climb back in towards the end. The outcome? A tie. So it’s off to the club room for the post-game ritual: food, drink and table talk. Over the years, I’ve noticed that the conversation after a game takes many shapes. Much of it depends on what kind of a game you’ve just played, and much depends on the people you played with, but a few trends and topics always seem to emerge, including: Tonight’s game The game isn’t complete when you leave the ice. Oh, no. It can go on for at least another end or two as you sip, munch and move salt and pepper shakers around to recreate how this rock was lying when that rock hit it in the fourth end.   Good shots are discussed and celebrated. Bad ones are also discussed – but only if the shooter brings it up, of course. Talking about strategies, ice conditions and awesome execution sometimes extends the game for a surprisingly long time. Latest gossip/news from the curling world There’s always something happening in the curling world. This skip is winning, or that one’s losing on the Grand Slam. This player has moved to a new team, or some unknown team has suddenly risen to take the spotlight at a ‘spiel out west. With online reporting, blogs, Twitter and newspapers following the game, hardcore fans can find any number of controversial, funny or intriguing curling stories to share over a post-game drink. And once the Scotties and Brier hit the ice, expect endless topics for discussion and debate, not to mention hours of entertainment after the game as we hang around to watch the action on TV. Latest gossip/news from the world The current state of Canadian politics, natural disasters, and celebrities acting badly: there’s never a shortage of material, and with the right mix of people, meaningful discussion happens. Yes, even during a post-game drink at the curling club. Latest gossip/news from the club This is where everyone leans in, voices drop, eyes flit furtively to other groups and the details are spilled. And of course none of it gets repeated outside the circle, right?  Right. The personal stuff I’ve played with the men and I’ve played with the women. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s only women who feel the need to talk about personal stuff in public. Jobs that suck, kids with issues, relationships that aren’t working – or the reverse: jobs that rock, kids who rule and relationships that we all should envy – can produce lively conversation from either gender. Tread carefully though, because it’s easy to sail too close to that territory called “Too Much Information”. Short, sharp and often sweet. Table talk after the game is just as important as line calls during the game. On the ice, we’re teammates and opponents throwing rocks in an effort to dominate each other. But off it? We’re all just friends, talking.