The Curling Librarians' Funspiel

Yesterday was a big day.
In November, I got it into my head that I needed to organize a curling funspiel for the library school. This was inspired by an email I received from the Saville Centre in early 2009, and by a comment from a fellow SLISer* that we should get the library students out curling.
(*SLISer: one who attend the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta.)
First, I contacted the Saville Sports Centre for more information about their funspiel program. All the people I talked to at the Saville Centre, before and on the day of, were super nice. They offered:
  • a short instruction session
  • all equipment
  • sheets for 24+ people (in multiples of 8)
  • 3 hours of ice time
  • all for only $15 per person
In the span of 24hrs, I had it all figured out. The poster was made, the email sent - all I had to do was wait for people to sign up.
And sign up they did. I managed to fill 32 spots, including SLISers and some partners/friends, and only a few of them had to be coerced. I was proud of my classmates, as we're a small school and only really have about 100 fellow students. It was a bit tense the week building up to the event, because 5 people dropped out (many without paying me = rude) but I (and my fellow SLISers) are amazing and we managed to get 33 people out on the day!! This was awesome, because I was worried no one would show up in the end.
Seriously, 33 people showed up on the day to curl!!
I was looking forward to visiting the Saville Centre, and curling on the ice because, as an avid curling fan, I know that it's an important place: a lot of the pros curl there and it was recently named the National Training Centre. Curling there is like playing shinny on NHL ice.
As soon as I walked in the door, I received a sign that today was going to be a good day: Kevin Martin was working in his shop, 'Kevin's Rocks and Raquets'. He was obviously home early from The National (oops). Seeing the top curler in Canada/the World right before my event = priceless.
Before everyone arrived, the guy working the desk showed me where all the equipment was, and pointed out which sheets were ours. He revealed the only snag of the day though, no one at the Saville knew we were supposed to have a short lesson. Thankfully, a group of ladies was practicing and one offered to show us the ropes for twenty minutes or so. Other than this oversight, the event ran smoothly and the Saville lived up to it's reputation.
It took awhile, but eventually 33 people were kitted out with sliding tape, a gripper and a broom. The kind volunteer ran through the basics, and then four of us who had curled a bit before took over. We each ran a forty minute practice session with 7-8 people. Everyone picked it up pretty quickly!
We then split into 8 teams and played a short, hour long three-ender before swapping opponents and playing another 3-ender.
At one point, I gave someone's very young daughter (she was 4 or 5 probably) my camera and gave her the job of being photographer. Not only did it keep her busy for like an hour, but she actually got some really great shots! Most were a bit blurry, but her short statured perspective was very unique. I especially love the following photo. I'm not sure why, but it just seems like the perfect photo from 5 year old who was forced to hang out at the curling rink for the afternoon.
I did two things yesterday that I'd never done before. First, I slid up and down the ice on my slider. I've never done that before because we were taught to walk on our grippers, and I figured I'd fall or look like a fool if I ever did try it, but I didn't.
Secondly, I skipped the games.
This will likely never happen again either.
Nobody curled very well. There were a lot of hogged rocks, and a fair number went straight through the house, which was to be expected from a group of beginners. I curled like junk, managing only 25%. I normally suck but can usually manage 50%. Talking with my friend who has curled a fair bit before, I think we were tricked by the high quality ice. A few times, I felt like I was coming out of the hack really fast, so I pulled back a bit, and hogged a bunch of rocks. My friend did the same thing. Typical club curlers: "I played terribly, must've been the ice!"
There were some good shots though, some shot celebrations, and lots of laughing. Eventually people trickled out to a variety of other events that evening, all in good spirits, and with wonderful memories of playing the best sport ever invented.
I'm not much of a hostess, and don't like being responsible for other people's fun, so this whole process was quite stressful. Add to that the fact that I *love* curling and wanted everyone else to fall in love with, or at least earn respect for, my sport.
Everyone had fun though. Honestly. No one got hurt (except for next day aches and pains, my knees were killing me and facebook had lots of status updates about being sore!). No one left because it sucked. Fun was had by all, and I got some really great compliments and thank yous for organizing the event. A couple people even asked me how they could get started in a regular curling league. I take my role as a young(ish) curling ambassador very seriously, and watching my classmates curl together and get interested in the sport warmed my heart.
So it was worth it. More than worth it actually. It was a really great day.
I highly recommend the Saville Centre for their funspiel program. This will likely not be my last funspiel there - I'm already looking forward to the next opportunity!

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