Upon Friday evening’s return from our antipodean adventure, Torontoist wasted no time thoroughly re-immersing ourself into Canadian culture. Thanks to an irresistibly random invitation from a friend, we followed up the afore-posted theatrical romp through Canadian history with a round of late-night curling. It should be noted that Torontoist had never curled before, generally preferring warmer and faster paced sports like softball (and, lately, Aussie rules footie – go Magpies!). So it was with curiousity and trepidation that we entered the High Park Club, the city’s oldest curling club.
It’s a cozy, relaxed place – a bar proffers big bowls of popcorn and pitchers of beer to be consumed at tables in front of big windows looking out onto the ice. We watch the group ahead of us play their last few ends, delighted to learn that they actually do yell ‘HARD!’ just like on tv (hey, we’re a novice). Finally, warmed by our first pint, it’s time to take to the ice.
But first we have to clean our shoes. Curling ice requires a compulsively particular level of friction, and it’s notoriously difficult to maintain, so rules about what can and can’t go on the ice are strict (beer is forbidden due to its tendency to get sloshed around enthusiastically when a teammate throws a good rock). But we don’t mind, we could play with this spinny brush thing all day – we like the nifty whirring sound. We are each outfitted with a slider for one shoe. The specially designed ice is easy to walk on in regular shoes, but the slider allows you to glide over the ice as you throw (or, more accurately for us, push) your rock.
Our hubris caught up with us however, when, trying to imitate the easy glide of more experienced players, Torontoist instead ended up flat on our bottom. Here we are moments before our close personal connection with the ice, trying to balance on our broom. Little did we know the humiliation that awaited us. How can we ever expect to win Paul Gross’ curling-loving heart now?
Without a doubt, our favourite part of the evening. Something about the combined smells of hot chocolate and arena ice just kind of epitomize the Canadian experience, don’t they? We’re happy to be home. Now, if someone can just do something about this frigid weather that we’ve returned to…