After yoga we cleaned up and headed up to Wausau for the day. My brother in law, Matt, and the rest of Team USA had an exhibition curling match against Canada. Prior to 2:00 today the most curling experience I’ve had was about 15-45 minutes of intermittent viewing during the last winter Olympics. Never in my life had I watched a full match from start to finish, and I’d never previously set foot in a curling arena (so I’m still learning, is that what you’d call it? A curling arena? I hope so, that sounds pretty awesome!).
Thank goodness we were surrounded by a few folks who knew the game very well and were able to help us interpret what was going on. I had a rough idea – get your stones closer than the opponents’ stones and if you do it often enough you win. It became quickly apparent that I knew very little. Have you ever seen a curling scoreboard? It’s crazy when you first see it, but after it is explained it makes a lot of sense and is easy to read.
The more I watched the more interesting it became. At first glance I thought it was a pretty simple thing, knock your opponents’ stones out and get yours close. Then the levels of complexity started to show themselves, knocking out one of your own, blocking, and so on. At one point I saw one of the teams bust out a spreadsheet. It took a couple of minutes but I realized it was pretty much their playbook. When you’re winning by this much at this time go with this pattern of play. When you’re losing by so much at this turn play this way instead. I could easily see how someone would get so fired up about something that is a very cool mix of strategy and technique.
The thing I’m most thankful for though is being able to experience something that Mat is very passionate about. He’s been hooked for quite some time and this was the first time I’ve watched live and in person. Between watching him throw (is that the right term? I’m such a newb), interact with his team, and then talk about the game afterwards I became more thankful for having this opportunity to watch him do this. There’s something special about watching someone do something they are deeply passionate about.
So I’ve still got a long way to go before I have a better understanding of the sport, but I’m thankful for getting to experience it today. Throw in the extra time with family and watching Matt live his passion and it’s been a pretty awesome day.