As fall is now approaching here in Austin, we arebeginning to think of cooler weather and shorter days ahead. One sure sign that summer is ending is the start of the Lone Star Curling Club’s fall schedule this Sunday, September 7th. While many people may have taken some time off this summer, the curling club remained active with two successful mini leagues. The first was held on Friday nights in July (with the final game in early August). The second league was held on Sunday mornings throughout August.
While summer is certainly not the usual season for curling, everyone involved had a lot of fun. For one team, there was even the excitement of scoring an 8 ender. It is a rare and elusive feat, but when it happens, it is always exciting. The 8 ender is named for the maximum number of points that can be scored in a single end.
What does it take to score 8 points in a single end? Certainly a lot of luck – both good luck for the team that scores, and bad luck for the team that finds itself on the short end of the stick. All eight of the team’s rocks must find their way into the house and every opponent’s attempt to remove those rocks or to draw one closer to the button than any of the eight must fail. In similar sporting terms, the 8 ender is possibly equivalent to a pitcher throwing a no hitter in baseball. Only a few perfect ends are scored in clubs across the country each year.
On July 25th, as the evening fell on a day where the thermometer neared 100 degrees, most people in Austin were probably not thinking about ice, though if they were, it probably involved the ice in a cold drink. For the 40 curling enthusiasts that took to the ice that night to escape the summer heat, nothing seemed to indicate that something special would happen that night. As the curling sheets were prepared for the evening’s games, it became apparent that the playing conditions would be difficult that night. It was taking longer than expected for the water put down by the Zamboni to freeze. When the games began, it meant that many teams struggled to throw their rocks the full length of the ice.
After a few ends, the ice conditions improved somewhat, making it easier to get the rocks over the hog line. At this moment, lightning struck, and the team of skip Kevin Butler, third Austin Bush, second Austin Lawless and lead Tyler Humes had their moment of brilliance. In the fourth end, playing without the hammer, with the help of a little luck and a well executed takeout, they scored their 8 ender. This foursome joined the club following the Olympic Learn To Curl and played their first ever games during the April mini league. After only a handful of games, they were able to achieve something that most curlers never experience in a lifetime of curling.
The end started out innocently enough. By the time several rocks had been thrown, the players started to notice that the Bush team had all their rocks in the house. As rocks accumulated in the house, players on nearby sheets started to take notice of what was happening. The tension and the drama begin to mount. Could the team get their next draw attempt into the house? Will their opponents finally make a takeout to remove a rock from play? When an opponent’s stone strayed into the rings, it was taken out with an incredible shot that preserved the perfect end.
Finally, the skip settled down in the hack to throw his last shot. With the tension building, he needed to put his rock in the house to keep the chance for an 8 ender alive. He made no mistake with his draw to lie 8, but the team had to wait as the opponents made one last attempt to ruin the end. After one last futile attempt, the end was over and the Bush team erupted with loud cheers. The game was paused for a photo op to preserve the moment for posterity.
This is the first 8 ender recorded in competition at the Lone Star Curling Club.
- Doing the accreditation for the President of the World Curling Federation without knowing who she was…and being embarrassed afterwards when I found out. She was just lovely BTW and that Scottish accent was awesome.
- Meeting my personal hero Dick Fosbury (of the famous Fosbury Flop) who was awesome!
- Watching the entry of the athletes where they were being led in by showgirls, burlesque dancers and male strippers (I liked that and the boys from Thunder From Down Under were just wonderful, one of whom is going to take up curling)
- Meeting members of the Scottish, American, Swedish, Norwegian, Japanese and Canadian teams who, for the most part, were incredibly gracious. The Japanese junior women’s team impressed me the most as they played very tactical games that usually ended in ties.
- Learning lots about sweeping and strategy – which was easy when you were literally on the ice doing security and also getting to spend 30 minutes with the vice from the Swedish Women’s team who is considered one of the best in the world.
- Being able to actually throw on real ice which was a surreal experience – I felt like a swan gliding along as I kept going and going and going….
- Marching the athletes through a full casino being led by pipers to the opening ceremony
- Meeting some incredibly nice people who are now great friends and have extended invitations to come up to the north to do some curling.
- Reducing the entire merch area to hysterics when asked how to tell the difference between dark blue and black hoodies and telling the woman asking “..trust me hon, I’m gay and we know color”
- After apologizing numerous times for a screw up in merch being told “..would you stop being such a damn Canadian and quit apologizing?” to which I responded “I’m sorry”. The person stomped off muttering “..God damn people from the Maritimes”
- Being able to watch curling while on break with other volunteers and actually able to intelligently discuss the numerous faults of a certain men’s team from a North American country with a very opinionated skip from the Yukon.
- And last but not least, making Pat Popovich incredibly jealous with numerous texts of what was going on.
Randy “Melvis” Sabbagh
At long last, Sochi has arrived. And with it, an international stage offering up the best in winter sport and world class competition. That, of course, includes the sport of curling and I couldn’t be happier – for several reasons.
First, there will be over 120 hours of curling coverage starting on Monday, Feb. 10 and finishing with the final gold medal match on Friday, Feb. 21. For us curling fanatics, we can’t wait. For those who just enjoy watching the matches, it provides many opportunities to see the 10 men and 10 women’s teams compete. Once again, curling will be one of the most watched sports at the Olympics.
Second, every four years, the Winter Games calls attention to our sport in a big way. That international exposure trickles down to places like Austin and the Lone Star Curling Club. Just in the last few weeks, we’ve done a morning segment on KEYE, had a great article in Austin Monthly, clarified some misconceptions about the sport on the Jeff Ward show on KLBJ, and did an extended interview on KAZI radio, with more to come.
Finally, the Olympics mean new interest in the sport in Austin and new members signing up to curl. Four years ago, nearly 1,000 people showed up over two weekends to learn the sport and the club was overwhelmed; many people never got the chance to give it a try. This time around, we’ll be ready. We’re signing up folks in advance to guarantee that they have a spot and can really learn the game. The 90-minutes will include 30 minutes of off-ice instruction and 60 minutes of USCA training on-ice.
For me, the best part is seeing new curlers embrace the sport and having an ‘aha!’ moment while on the ice. This sport can be addictive and many of you will soon discover that. I can’t wait!
The Austin Monthly magazine had an article featuring the Lone Star Curling Club. Pat and Buck were both interviewed for the article. They also came out on one of our league mornings and took a bunch of photos.
We are thrilled to announce that we have access to some discounted tickets to the February 1st game against the Toronto Marlies at 7:00 p.m.. Not only do we get to watch some great hockey we are also able to promote the sport of curling. We will have a booth at the game where we will be able to talk curling and promote our upcoming Olympic Learn-To-Curl event that happens the following weekends.
If you don’t have your tickets yet, please contact Darlene Barnes who can help you with the order.
Chaparral Ice had KEYE TV come to the rink last week to show the public all of the winter activities that takes place at the rink. First up was the Lone Star Curling Club. Pat, Joe and Landon all came into the rink before 5 a.m. to promote the club and our upcoming Olympic Learn-To-Curl events in February.
Thanks a lot Pat, Joe and Landon!
During the 2010 Winter Olympics, television viewers watched more curling than any other sport. Why is curling so popular? Because it’s fun, competitive, challenging and anyone can do it. The Lone Star Curling Club invites you to come visit us on anytime we are curling.
The Lone Star Curling Club was founded in 2006, in Austin, Texas and is an affiliate of the United States Curling Association. We welcome anyone who wants to learn more about curling and encourage you to contact our club to find out more about this great sport. Regardless of age, whether you’re 16 or 86, curling is for everyone and previous curling experience is not required in order to participate.
If you’re interested in joining the Lone Star Curling Club, please contact our membership director, Darlene Barnes for more information.
Interested In Curling?
Check out the information on the Go Curl part of our website or better yet, come see it first hand.
Curling is for the Family!
Here is a great video about a Canadian family making the decision to have 2 of their kids curl instead of playing hockey. Although curling is big in Canada, hockey is even more popular but maybe it shouldn’t be!
It is almost that time of year again when we begin our fall league. The fall league begins one month from the day I write this.
Curling will be on Sunday mornings from 10:30 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. This is a delay of one hour from our previous start time and hopefully everyone enjoys the extra hour of sleep!
Full-time curlers will pay $23 per game which is an increase of $1 per game. The season will still be 9 regular games and 1 playoff game. Spares will pay $25 per game. Both must pay the $55 membership fee. The membership fee is good for one year.
We are trying to make the teams more competitive which means we are encouraging the top teams to split up. We understand the social aspects of our league and that people like playing with family/friends and we’ll accommodate those requests as much as possible.
The first thing we need everyone to do is to fill out the fall 2013 survey. Please fill this out as soon as you know your curling status for the fall season. This allows us to start forming teams.
As usual we will have one practice session on September 8, 2013. This will be everyone’s final opportunity to practice before league play starts the following week. The practice will cost $25.
The 10-week league will begin on September 15, 2013:
- September 15, 22, 29
- October 6, 13, 20, 27
- November 3, 10, 17
The fall season will cost $230 plus the $55 membership fee.
We are looking forward to seeing everyone again next month!
President Lone Star Curling Club
p.s. We still have one chance to curl in the summer. We will be curling on Friday, August 16 at 9:45 p.m..