Sunday, 31 October 2010

Not All About Cancer

I have had a delightful Sunday afternoon throwing 20kg granite rocks across a sheet of ice. When I wasn't throwing them I was sweeping away far more vigorously than I would wield a broom at home (or anywhere else, for that matter)! No comments about broomsticks and todays date, please!

Curling is something that I have wanted to do since my school days but never quite got around to; and easy to put off because there are so few places in England where you can do it. And that is where cancer makes a brief appearance as I'm now much less likely to put off something I really want to do. So back in March I decided that my shoulder was sufficiently improved after the ravages wrought by radiotherapy and I was sufficiently motivated for me to put it off no longer, and I went along to a beginners evening organised by the South of England Curling Club.

I had a great time but it was only a taster and, of course, pretty much the end of the season by then and so I have had to wait until now to have a proper go. This afternoon the club held a mini bonspiel (curling competition) and said it would incorporate the beginners into teams with more experienced curlers. It turned out that there was only one beginner - so that rather hampered my team!

I think that one of the things that has always attracted me to curling has been the physics of it; stones curling, possibly hitting each other and then either stopping or moving off (m1v1 + m2v2 ... and all that). Now if physics was all there was to it I might be reasonably successful, but it also requires a sense of balance and a degree of hand to eye co-ordination, and unfortunately I'm somewhat lacking in both these areas. So if I got the weight right, I had problems with the direction or getting the curl correct.  And when I got it to curl properly I threw light - or occasionally heavy.  By the end of the afternoon I'd just about got the hang of it, but now I need to learn how to do a nice elegant sliding delivery. I'm no Rhona Martin!  Still, it was quite a compliment when one of the others said to me "your delivery may be far from elegant but that was a very playable stone and the weight was just right".

Fortunately, everyone is very friendly, encouraging and keen to help a beginner. I have rather bruised knees (I tend to topple over as I let go the stone!), but can't wait for the next time. 

Today was definitely a Good Day.

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