Even if you don’t participate in the sport, almost every Canadian knows some aspect of curling. I’ve never watched an entire match from start to finish and I have no clue when the Briar is usually held in the year. Yet, I know what a guard, the house, the button are in terms of the curling world.
Tomorrow, Brad Gushue of Newfoundland will face Finland in men’s curling gold medal match. If you think curling has all the excitement of watching paint dry, I invite you to recall the details of the men’s gold medal match back in 2002. Canadian skip Kevin Martin faced Norway four years ago. The gold medal came down to one rock in the hands of Martin himself. Did he have to make a crazy three rock takeout? Perhaps he needed a shot with more curl than my afro wig? No, he needed none of those. What he did need was to place his last rock some where on the button, the two feet in diameter circle right at the center of the house.
Amazingly, there were no other stones in his way. He had a straight path onto the button. It would have been a shot he’d done a million times in practice and for someone of his calibre, a shot that must have seen too easy.
I watched Martin make that last shot while I was at the employee lounge at EA. I stood behind a couch as he released the stone from his hands. About ten feet away from the house, the damn thing looked way too heavy to me. It continued to slide with a demonic pace as the rock penetrated the outer rings. I knew then that Martin had choked on a shot he should have made in his sleep. As the stone rumbled past the button, I silently wished it would catch on some rough ice. My wish went ungranted as Martin fumbled his way into a silver medal finish. We were left stunned at his poor shot.
I turned and left the lounge in a huff, thinking that Martin had choked in a uniquely Canadian way. As I walked back to my department, I met up with co-worker Chris D. who expressed similar sentiments on the whole debacle. Afterwards, what pissed me off even more was Martin’s comments. He seemed only mildly disappointed that he had missed the shot.
Of course you can tell I barely remember anything about that shot taken four years ago. Let’s hope Gushue brings home the gold for Canada tomorrow. The match starts at 8:30am PST for those who are interested.