Monday Magazine Playing with the Pros writer Kyle Slavin watches his rock as he tries curling for the first time at the Victoria Curling Club with Darren Boden from Team Dangerfield.

Play with the pros: Curling

Writer Kyle Slavin learns there's more to the sport than sweeping and throwing rocks

Why does the curling rink have to be so long? Honestly, the distance between the hack and the house was my downfall when I curled for the first time.

Not only was I exhausted from simultaneously striding and sweeping down the ice, it also took way too many attempts than I’d like to admit to finally slide the rock into the house.

To help solve the latter problem, Glen Allen, lead for Team Dangerfield, used the same technique on me that he does when he teaches children.

“Think of a gross food – like broccoli or brussels sprouts – and pretend it’s by your foot. And so you want to get as far away from it as you can by pushing hard,” Allen said.

And it worked. An overwhelming sense of pride fell over me as I watched Allen and second Darren Boden sweep my rock directly onto the button.

Granted that was only after my first 17 throws barely made it 20 feet, but nobody can take that feeling of ecstasy away from me.

Team Dangerfield, which also includes skip Neil Dangerfield and third Dennis Sutton, plays out of the Victoria Curling Club. They’re one of the best men’s teams in the province, and they are looking to be named the best in B.C. in early February, after recently earning a spot at provincials.

“Everyone (at provincials) is good. We’ve been playing enough and playing against enough top teams that we’re never intimidated by anybody. It’s just go out and play,” Boden said. “We know we can beat anybody on any given day, and they can beat us on any given day.”

Three years ago Team Dangerfield was runner-up at provincials, missing a chance to play at the Brier by just a couple of shots.

“We’d like to get into that final game again and see if we can turn the tables on whoever we have to play,” Boden said.

The 25-year veteran is quick to point out that my fatigue is indicative of my inexperience.

“There’s definitely a physical part of it, but most of it is a mental game and understanding where to place the rocks,” he said. “It’s chess on ice.” Well I was never any good at chess, anyway.

After only an hour on the ice, it’s evident that I’m nowhere near ready to incorporate strategy into my curling game.

“Give yourself 25 years,” Boden said.

Asked how confident he would be if Team Dangerfield became Team Slavin: “We wouldn’t be comfortable, at all, because you couldn’t make the shots Neil makes. Neil’s pretty amazing.”

And let’s not sugarcoat anything, despite a couple of personal victories in my first attempt at curling, I am far from amazing.

Just Posted

Madcap British farce comes to Langham Court Theatre

Communty theatre company winds up successful season with Noises Off

BEHIND BARS: Nothing common about this place

Commons bartender Geneviéve Turgeon makes what’s old fashioned new again

Victoria Drum Fest continues to attract topnotch international talent

Festival founder Murray Creed expects 10th anniversary event May 26 will be the best yet

MATHIEU POIRIER: New Island brewery tour book a great resource for beer fans

Learn some of the background of local breweries in Island Craft, by Jon C. Stott

Choir offers a capella take on Beatles hits

Soundings will perform concerts in Oak Bay and Sidney May 24 and 25

WATCH: Maya mixes the ancient with the contemporary at the RBCM

New ‘world-leading’ exhibit offers many pieces not seen before by the public

Mamma Mia! poised to be biggest Chemainus Theatre show ever

Plenty of buzz as Island dinner theatre schedules ABBA-fueled romp

Special Report: Front line work by caring emergency doctors

Dr. Jason Wale uses unique program to help people with addictions in Greater Victoria

Action on climate change a moral commitment: author

Dahr Jamail to speak in Sooke on June 4

Put your love of reading to good use June 1

Bolen Books hosting Summer Readathon to help the Victoria Literacy Connection

Most Read