Upsides of Winters gloom
Cows are dried off and on crops. Winters gloom is some what alleviated with any day of sunshine. Days are short providing more family time. Winter sport provides an opportunity to regain ones sanity and to socialize. Hunting and fishing opportunities are also an upside to winters gloom.
Curlers in particular, look forward to a period of settled weather for good ice to form to play our matches. Our two day national tournament, or bonspiel being weather dependent can only be contested when conditions allow, on occasions a lapse of several years occurs between events building enthusiasm even more. When ice thickness is sufficient to carry around two hundred and forty curlers, their stones and accessories, curlers from all over, break away from their business’s, occupations, winters gloom and their wives to test their skills and compete.
Excitement is gaining momentum this year already, with ice forming nicely although with a snow covering. Brings to mind, many years ago the bonspiel rinks were arranged around the protruding extremities of a tractor, used in an attempt to clear snow from the rinks a few days before. We can all be a little impatient at times, so all was forgiven. Another occasion, curling activity abounded and on return for another competition found many rinks unplayable. A major earthquake centered one hundred and fifty kilometers away apparently lifted the ice sheet, breaking it in two with one section coming to rest on top of the other resulting in a 250 mm step through the center of several rinks. Curlers initiative prevailed, ensuring the tournament proceeded. Many of us being grateful that bazaar phenomenon didn’t occur during a match.
Weather in it self is a phenomenon and since I started this article a couple of weeks ago, (been away curling and other commitments), extraordinary weather events have spoiled any chance of a full bonspiel this year, although there are small pockets of ice here and there, where other one day tournaments and fixtures have been held. The traditional after match camaraderie and social activities provides opportunities to catch up with people we haven’t seen for some time. On occasions there are folk who have partied a little too long and have forgotten who they were talking to anyway. Oh well, next year will come around soon enough if the past few years have been any indication.
The journey home the following morning is usually by an alternative route and is not always as direct as it could be, but cell phone technology ensures someone at home can keep tabs. Not like the good old days. Good memories. Wives! ‘why don’t you take your wives’?, some may say. The truth is, they think curling out side in sub zero temperatures is rather silly for one thing, and the other is they are pleased to be rid of us for a day or two.