I’m heading up north to Casino Rama this weekend. No, not for the aboriginal gambling, but to take in another beauty Canadian past time. The annual Curling Skins game is being held in the same entertainment center that has housed Kenny Rogers, Bill Cosby, and a bunch of Chinese singers I’ve never heard of. It’s a made for TV event live from the casino pitting four giants in Canadian curling including Kevin Koe, Jeff Stoughton, Glen Howard and Kevin Martin. They’ll be sweeping up 100 grand in prize money.
Like other sports, curling has a certain etiquette that must be adhered to. When you’re the skip, you don’t have to do any work at all. The skip is supposed to be the mastermind of the team, but in reality, all he or she does is direct traffic and throw a couple of stones. The vice-skip is the one who has to do most of the work. Not only do you have to sweep the first four stones down the ice, but then you have to clean up the mess the first two players caused. Then the skip gets all the glory by cleaning up the mess and making the money shot.
In recreational curling, skips are the weird ones. They take the game very seriously with their high tech curling brooms and shoes. They yell very hard, although their grunts and groans are hardly decipherable. And at least one them has got a corn broom, just to imply that he’s a real student of the game. That would be like me wearing tube skates playing hockey.
I’ll admit, I still have not grasped the love of curling like so many other Canadians. Maybe it’s because my draw weight is awful, or I sweep like a janitor. I think it’s because most curlers can’t skate, and this is the closest to the ice they’re prepared to come. That’s okay, though. Curlers are people too.