Curling Work For The Win

As I start writing this post, I'm currently sitting in the airport, on my way to Grande Prairie for the 2015 edition of the Canada Cup of Curling. This is my first curling "volunteering" gig of the season - and this season is the busiest curling season I'll be participating in since my first shift of the 2009 Canadian Curling Trials in Edmonton. Over a dozen events in numerous cities later, here I am ready to spend over half my vacations days in a curling venue.

I sort of thought my Curling Canada days might be over: changing times, nothing locally, and the last event I worked, the Scotties in Moose Jaw, was the most fun event I've done so I was ready to go out with a bang. But, I'm super happy to be joining my Curling Canada people in Grande Prairie for not only the Canada Cup this week, but also the Scotties in February! It will be nice to get back into the routine, catch up with old friends, and watch some curling. The Canada Cup is actually my favourite event of the season - it brings together the top men's and women's teams so the curling is fantastic and it's a bit shorter so I don't miss my cats for as many days!

My mom and I will also be travelling to Las Vegas in January to see the Continental Cup of Curling. While I'm not "working" this event, I'll still be watching some super fun curling action as North America takes on the World. It's been awhile since I just watched, and I've never taken a trip with just my mom so it'll be interesting for sure. Also Las Vegas, though not my favourite destination, will no doubt be exciting. 

In April, I'll again take over the curling club manager's office at my curling club as we co-host the U18 Optimist International event. Last year was good times so I'm looking forward to hanging out with the kids for another event. 

Also in April, and a bit of a last minute surprise, is the Grand Slam of Curling's Champions Cup. I've never been to a Grand Slam event, and I've never worked a Grand Slam event - there's never been one close to where I live! So imagine my surprise when I heard the last event of the Slam tour was coming to Sherwood Park, just a short hop, skip and a jump from Edmonton. I signed up. And that's it for now. I have no idea what I'm doing. No idea if the jacket will fit. No idea about anything or anyone, besides two curling officials I've met on the volunteer circuit who I know are volunteering too. But I bet it'll be fun and I bet I'll meet some lovely people and watch some fantastic curling so I'm looking forward to it as well!

And then there's the one that got away...the Winter Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. As soon as I heard about the event, I knew I wanted to go. Norway would be beautiful in the winter, the experience would be fun, and it would be a precursor to getting in as a volunteer for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. I started checking the website for the opening of the volunteer applications almost weekly. I applied, and I crossed my fingers.

About a month ago, I got in.

But...I declined my spot. It would've been amazing, the opportunity of a lifetime, the coolest uniform, the biggest, most exciting atmosphere. I was going to be in the curling venue. And I turned it down.

Why? Well, the only accommodation I could find that wasn't stupid expensive would've been staying with friends of friends (thanks for putting out the offer ladies!) a couple towns over and renting a car and driving through the Norwegian countryside in the winter and then trying to find parking at the Olympics. And the only accommodation offered to me was sleeping on a cot (pillow/sleeping bag had to be brought over with me) in a gym with 200 other people.

I'll let that sink in for a minute. A cot. A gym. 200 people. Shared showers (?). Where would I put my stuff? Loud. Teenagers. Bedbugs. Norovirus. One uniform no laundry. No sleep. 200 people. For $25 a night. For 2 weeks.

I thought about it. I really did. Weighed the pros/cons. Stressed out with deliberation. And turned it down. On top of it all, I wasn't really sold on the communication from the volunteer leaders - I knew I was at the curling venue and would be doing ice/stats but that's it. No idea really what ice/stats meant. Now add a long expensive flight and many, many timezones. I just couldn't do it. I'm not that young and adventurous anymore. I also realize I might be kissing my Korea Olympics dream goodbye too. Sigh.

It's too bad. It would've been the best of times, but also the worst of times. I was relieved though immediately after I sent my email declining the offer - the Scotties is at the same time so I'm going to go there instead. Sure, routine, old hat, but, well, routine and old hat. I'm getting old.

As I finish this, I'm watching HD cable tv while sitting on my couch in my cushy hotel room at the Canada Cup. My own bed, and a king size one at that. Half kitchen, private bathroom. I know I made the right choice.

It's going to be one heck of a curling season - and it all starts tomorrow...