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Reflections on a weekend of curling

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Hunter Thomson

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First off, apologies to everyone who wondered where I wandered off to. I went home this weekend to go curling in a local bonspiel (tournament) with my team from two years ago. We just lost on the A-side semifinals, and it feels bittersweet to me.

 

First the good. I'm so proud of the four of us. We can back together after a season away from each other and we took a perennial provincial qualifier right into the last shot of the extra end. We made the semifinals and to get there we beat a different junior provincial champion. We were under pressure from the other teams right from game one on Friday and we held together and kept each other's spirits up, even in the grim moments we had at different points in the weekend. 

I've been curling for fifteen years now, and I will never, ever curl as well as I did this weekend ever again. Something changed in me this weekend, and maybe it was the fact that this was supposed to be fun and none of the usual attendant pressure was with me in the competition, but I was utterly at ease and was making shots that world champions hesitate on. I made it look easy this weekend, and for once I didn't get down on myself when I did miss a shot or two. This weekend was a test for me to see if I could honestly compete with people at a provincial championship and who are the top calibre players in the province. The fact that I kept pace with these people made me feel good about myself, and even if it ends up being fleeting and I never get it back, I know that I have that capacity within me to shine and lead the way. As time goes on I'll forget the individual shots that were made or missed, but I won't forget this feeling of being so completely at ease and simply knowing that I could do anything. 

My team was magnificent, I couldn't ask for three better people to play with again. All three rose to the occasion and being around people who accept me for who I am made all of this worthwhile. My boys are crazy, but playing with them made a good weekend that much better. A special shoutout to my one teammate who hadn't even played since the last time we were all together, and who shook the rust off in plenty of time for us to push towards playoff Sunday. 

 

With all of the fun that I had and the memories I made, I'd be remiss unless I reflected on the things that just didn't work out. 

 

Losing hurt. Losing by half an inch in the extra end hurt more. The part that kills me is that's on me. A split second lapse in judgment and a second's worth of hesitation cost us a chance at the championship finals. I compounded that error by not pressing the option I had to measure, even though I was pretty sure that we still would have lost. I should have asked for a measure, as it could have given us a win.

There were some ugly misses along with my good shotmaking, and it is to my detriment that I wasn't able to correct those mistakes even during the game. It was a consistent inability to read the ice and get a handle on the weight for the shots being called, and it very nearly cost us our early games as well. 

I was disappointed by the amount of drinking done by my teammates. I don't drink, and while I understand that other younger people like to drink on the weekends and at events like this, we're still also competitors. There's no need to have multiple pitchers of beer in a single night, especially when we've got a game the following morning. That couldn't have benefited their play, and  of course we'll never know how things could have gone down if everyone had been completely sober. 

 

I'm glad I came down, and I proved a lot to myself this weekend. But I won't deny that this hurt more than I thought it would to get so close and fall short.

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:glomp: the courage to try is inspiring. you could have stayed home, but you didn't

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16 minutes ago, mogwhy said:

:glomp: the courage to try is inspiring. you could have stayed home, but you didn't

I'm glad I decided to suggest the spiel to the boys. I'll admit that half inch is going to haunt me for a little while. 

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The thing to remember; you gave it your best. A personal accomplishment to carry always. Not a failing, a growth experience.

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3 hours ago, BlindAmbition said:

The thing to remember; you gave it your best. A personal accomplishment to carry always. Not a failing, a growth experience.

Too right you are jp. I'm not going to lie and say that this was the result I wanted, but it is worth remembering that we did far better as a team than we thought or had any right to think we would do, and on a personal level my performance was the best I've ever had.

It'll take me some time to stew over the loss. In a way it would have been better if we were blown apart, at least then we could say that the truly better team won. But half an inch...there were a half dozen things I could have done differently on our final shot to get us the half inch we needed.

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