Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Sporting Life

Every once in a while it is nice to be reminded that most people are basically decent.

Today marks the beginning of the Big Junior Bonspiel that takes place every year out by Mid-Range Campus.  It’s one of those events that the girls look forward to all year long, though this year only Lauren ended up going.  Tabitha has reached the point in her high school career where other events begin to interfere – in this case, working as ground crew on the school play. 

It’s a great play, by the way.  If you’re around Our Little Town this weekend and want an entertaining evening, you should go see it.  Tabitha is one of the dark-clad minions moving the set around between scenes.  You can wave at her while she does so, but she probably won’t see you.

But time, tide, and bonspiels wait for nobody, so Lauren and I hit the road at a thoroughly unreasonable hour this morning in order to get to the Curling Club in time for an 8am draw.  We stopped at the big parking lot on the north side of town to pick up Lauren’s teammates Emily and Taryn, and headed off down the highway.  When we got there they staked out their spots (it’s a lock-in event and a big one, so floor-space for your stuff is at a premium), got registered, and then set about finding the substitute for Tabitha.

They’d worked that out, sort of.  The organizer of this event had lined up someone for us but hadn’t told us who it was yet.  Eventually we discovered that our new teammate was a 10-year-old boy, and it has to be said that he more than held his own on that team of teenaged girls.  So good for him.

For their first match they were paired up with a team that had matching jackets festooned with patches from previous bonspiels.  This, from a competitive perspective, is seldom a good sign for our side, but curling is nothing if not sporting, so things were going well from everything but a scoring perspective through the first few ends.

Then Taryn’s knee went out from under her.

We got her back inside the warming area, where one of the parents from the other team turned out to be a physical therapist who checked her out.  The opposing coach told us to take all the time we needed to get things straightened out, which technically he did not have to do.  After a few minutes we came to a few conclusions:

First, that Taryn would be fine.  She was up and walking after a while and not in any pain, though they did recommend that she not go back out on the ice until her knee felt 100%.

Second, that our team would continue with three players.  This involved a few changes.  Lauren moved up to Skip position, which is the curling equivalent of the team captain – her first experience with in that role at a bonspiel.  Emily and the new guy would now throw three rocks each instead of two.  And they’d be a sweeper short, which is a problem.

The other team volunteered a sweeper.  Problem solved.

After an end or two in that configuration, we noticed that the two teams were having an extended discussion down at the far side of the sheet.  This turned out to be centered on a rather substantial issue completely unrelated to any of the foregoing matter – that the other team was a Competitive team (thus explaining the matching outerwear) while our team was a Developmental team.  Thanks to an error we had made on our application we’d been placed in the Competitive division for the weekend.  Thus the rather lopsided score at that point.

At that point the opposing coach decided to let us sit Taryn on a chair out on the carpeted area out by the ice so she could coach our team (as a Skip would normally do out there).  He also went out with her to give pointers and answer questions.

Nobody does sportsmanship like curlers.  Nobody.

Oh, our team lost that match by a rather lopsided score, as we expected them to do once it became clear the situation they were in.  And they’ll have to continue as a Competitive team for the rest of the bonspiel, which is actually a good thing since had they applied as a Developmental team they would have been turned away for lack of space.  They’ll learn some things this weekend, no doubt.

But everyone sat down for the usual socializing period afterward, and the morning moved on in a collegial and helpful way.

It’s always good when that happens, because sometimes it’s easy to forget the larger picture.

No comments: