A Very Good Day and, WTF? Another Footlong Falafel?
I have two alarm clocks, three-if you count the one on my phone. One is an old clock radio beside my bed. The second is a small, red-furred, female feline who seems to know precisely when its 15 minutes to wake-up and wishes to deny me that last few moments of snooze time. My cat is cute and she was chosen as a kitten by my daughter (christened with four names: Star Princess Sparkle Sexton), but I like those 15 minutes. Nevertheless, it’s hard to get pissed off at a little purring furball poking your nose with its cold one saying, in effect; ‘time to get your lazy ass out of bed. And, BTW human slave, did you clean out my litterbox yet?’
So, at 8am I was up. First order of business? Get the damn coffee going. Java in hand 10 minutes later, I was into the shower for the daily ritual while Shawn (I could hear the snoring through the bathroom wall-maybe Stephen is right) and Brant still slept. They had wisely heeded my warning about Star and closed the doors to their rooms.
The beauty of playing a spiel at home is; no hotel fees, your own bed, (mostly) decent food, and you don’t fall too far behind on the chores of your daily life. While the boys stayed in dreamland I did laundry and started the recap of Day 1 for the blog. The guys could stay in bed until about 915. I only live five minutes from the club so we had plenty of time.
Shawn was up first and ready in no time. But somehow we both thought Brant was up at 930 when, in fact, at 955 we realized he was still out cold. He had to rush into the bathroom, bolt down some cereal and we made it to the club by about 1025, to the disapproving glare of Stephen. Thankfully, the women’s game on our sheet was being dragged out so we had a few extra moments. I blamed the cat for not waking Brant up. I won the toss again (a phenomenal 7-2 record so far) but we lost the draw off by a few inches to give hammer in the first end to Sean Geall.
Sometimes I think too much emphasis is placed on the importance of last rock in the first. Yes, it’s great if you can use it to score a big end right off the get go. But if you don’t have hammer you just play a clean end to start and try to force the other guys to a single and get the last rock back for yourself. It’s not rocket science people. If you don’t get a pre-game practice to warm up and shake loose the cobwebs you don’t go balls out in the first end to steal. Call your leads first stone in the house and keep play simple while your team gets going. Force a point or a blank, steal one or even give up two. It’s all far better than digging yourself a demoralizing hole of down 3 or more right from the start.
In Cloverdale we did just that to Geall. Taking advantage of a few first end misses to score 5 and then drag out the game by maintaining the gap. Two weeks later in the season we knew we wouldn’t be that lucky. They’re a far better team than that. Still, though, we stole singles in the first 3 ends for an early 3-0 lead. Sean made his last stone in the 4th, a draw to the 4 foot facing 3 of ours, for a single and giving us the hammer for the first time in the game. We used it to our advantage in the 5th scoring a pair and then got them to concede the game when we stole another pair in the 6th for a 7-1 victory.
Afterwards in the locker room it was, once again, the Stephen and Sean show. Lots and lots of comments made about how the tables were turned and instead of Sean doing the on ice screwing of Stephen, things were reversed-for now anyways. And, of course, Stephen took full advantage while the rest of us laughed. Pretty sure though that the Japanese team-just arriving for the day-didn’t know what to make of us Gaijin.
Next up was Team Tardi in the B event semi-final. With a one draw break between games we had lunch and then hung out. The guys went back to Stephens hotel while I stayed at the club. Merk had a couple of bodies phone in sick so I told him I’d stick around if he needed help. Turned out he didn’t need me, which was probably just as well. Who knows what kind of havoc I could have caused with the Nipper…
Tyler Tardi and his team are very talented juniors. They won the BC Jr’s. last year, finishing 3rd at the Nationals. They’re also a great bunch of well behaved kids coached by Tyler’s parents. Last year we played them twice, splitting the games with a win apiece.
Going into the game we knew we were in a good position in the draw. Win, and we’re guaranteed two qualifying games for the finals and money. Lose and, because of the nature of an 8 team TKO with 4 teams advancing, we’d drop straight to a C event qualifying game. But we wanted that win and two kicks, not one, at the can. Call it insurance if you wish.
The game was a well-played, barn-burner and we headed home down 4-3, but with last rock in the 8th. We generated our two to win utilizing Tardi’s one trait: his tendency to fall back on big weight takeouts when a soft shot would have been a better call. Essentially, we had a cluster of rocks, ours and theirs, partially behind cover and all over the four foot. He attempted a huge clearing shot but even with the call, all the angles were in our favour. He ended up jamming one of our stones and leaving Stephen an open draw to the four for the deuce and the win-which we made.
The win put us in the B final for a rematch with Japan. Earlier, Morozumi had lost the A qualifier to Jim Cotter, who had Ryan Kuhn subbing at 3rd because John Morris was absent due to a previous commitment.
We didn’t get much of a rest between theTardi game and the final. But sometimes that’s a good thing. We were on a roll from two straight wins while the Japanese were recovering from a loss in a close fought game with Cotter. We might have been a little tired but we were on a high-best not to stop and stiffen up or think t0o much. Just get back out there and keep it going.
Which we did. Although we started a little slowly in the first end (hammer again, although I lost only my second toss of the year), Stephen made two nice shots for a deuce. We followed that up with a steal in the 2nd end for an early 3-0 lead. Morozumi got a pair back in the 3rd but we followed that with a solid 3 in the 4th for a 6-2 lead. We were in control and forced Japan to a single in the 5th and then Stephens only miscue of the game (otherwise I don’t think he missed a shot) allowed them a steal to narrow our gap to a 6-4 lead. In the 7th Morozumi went all out for a steal and we didn’t miss. Stephen drew for 3 on his last, we got the handshake with a 9-4 victory and for the 2nd spiel in a row we were in the money.
We stayed only briefly afterwards. Everyone was tired, especially Stephen and Brant who were both on the tail ends of sinus infections. Brant, though, was starving and Shawn required barley beverages. So one visit to the cold beer and wine store later, we pulled up to Subway at about 11pm for a pre-bedtime sub. Yup, you guessed it, foot-long falafel pour moi.
Back home I subjected the boys to Hot Fuzz-the Simon Pegg-Nick Frost comedy, while we ate. I’m not sure Brant even tasted his sandwich or cookies. I was about three bites into mine when I heard a belch and saw nothing but crumbs and a crumpled paper napkin on his plate. Minutes later he succumbed to a full gut and schlepped off to his room for a food coma. Shawn stayed up, while I headed for the sack about 1/3 into the show. He must have liked the movie. The last thing I heard before drifting off was loud laughter coming from the living room.