Crush Review 2019

Thirteen years ago, high school friends Eric Hazard and David Markowski reconnected in Northern California and had a crazy idea. “Hey, let’s start a curling club.”

This past weekend, the two of them met in the final game of the twelfth Crush Bonspiel at that club they created. Eight ends later, nothing had been determined, so it took one more end before the champion was crowned.

Congratulations to JEEBalicious. When the dust (pebbles?) finally settled on the ninth end, Eric and his team of Lake Tahoe curlers came out on top. They scored one point in the eighth end to tie it up, then had to steal a point in the extra end, which is never an easy task. Despite entering the A Bracket as the 7th seed, they made quick work of their first opponents and hit Sunday like a whirlwind.

Not to be left out, Markowski x4 took the 8th seed into the final game, despite having never played together as a team before. The Wine Country Markowskis met two Canadian Markowskis at the Continental Cup and thought, “Hey, let’s form an all-Markowski team.” That’s two good Marko ideas coming to fruition this weekend.

So Much for Seeding. The 7th and the 8th seeds meeting in the finals seemed to fit this bonspiel well. The Draw to the Buttons that we use for tiebreakers were not nearly as drawn to the button as they usually are. In past bonspiels, we often have a number of teams with a sub-30 inch distance after both draws are added together. This time, only one team scored below 30 inches, and many scores were in the triple-digits.  

Perhaps as a result, or perhaps because a number of teams played their best games early, the top seeds were decimated in the first round of the playoffs. The top seed, Nashua Curling Club, lost a tight battle with the 16th seed, Gold Country Curling Club. The third seed and the fifth seed also went down to defeat in the Sweet Sixteen, and the two remaining “top seeds” lost in the second round. By the time the semifinals came around, the four teams remaining included the sixth, seventh, eighth, and twelfth seed.

B Bracket fared a little bit better, but the top two seeds still lost in the first round. Special recognition goes to Big Orange Crush, who paid the “benefit” of postponing their first-round playoff game to Sunday morning by having to play four games straight. They played very well, but eventually their legs gave out when they faced the slightly-more-rested Cheese Curls in the B Bracket Finals.

C Bracket had a mixed basket, with two of the top seeds and two of the lower seeds advancing past the first round. When all was said and done, Hang ‘Em High bested Good Curl Gone Bad in an all-WCCC final.

And not to be forgotten, the Most Impressive Trophy in all of Sport, the Travolta Cup, was on the line Sunday afternoon as well. In what was certainly a hard-fought, no-holds-barred marathon of a battle,  Justin Krasner-Karpen and Will Meyer from SFBACC and Mark and Nick Kanakis from Nashua Curling Club won the game and will soon have their names forever enshrined beneath a figure from Battlefield Earth carrying a severed hand. There are also rumors that the Travolta Cup itself will be going through a bit of a makeover in the offseason. Look for a more stable trophy at the Barrel in March. (But it’ll still have Travolta).

Baskets. Katie Feldman and her “Hold ‘Em to 1” team might have fallen short in C Bracket, what with their skip’s whopping five hours of sleep over the course of ninety-six, but they did put their money where there mouth was in the basket competition. It was Hold ‘Em to 1 who threw down the gauntlet, challenging any other team to come up with a better basket than their “Scratch n’ Sip” combination of lottery tickets and mini liquor bottles. When the votes, or rather the tickets, were tallied up, their basket had the most. In second place came Matt Gamboa’s dog basket, followed by Sonia Montero’s “Steampunked.”

There are rumors that the prize for most popular basket will be increasing when the Barrel rolls around. So start thinking about what other curlers will buy raffle tickets for and maybe your name will be printed here in six months. 

(Hint: It’s booze.)

Speaking of the Barrel. Sign-ups will be starting in January for a lesser-known bonspiel. We are hoping to grow it to 32 teams this year and, unlike the Crush, we won’t let it grow beyond 32. We’re looking to have set playoffs, and possibly even a bracket system instead of pool play, which we haven’t done since the inaugural Barrel, which only had sixteen teams.

Kevin Martin. Oh yeah, almost forgot. When the Crush was over, it wasn’t really over. Despite tired bonspiel legs, thirty-some curlers stuck around to meet, and touch the gold medal of, guru Kevin Martin. The clinic, which was organized by and benefited Regan Birr’s Let’s Cure Lupus and the Lupus Spiel. The clinic featured a lot of strategy, motivation, and one-on-one attention. Events like this are going a long way toward putting Wine Country on the map as one of the premier arena-ice clubs.

What’s Next? Fall League starts in just over a week. A League is full, but there are three other leagues (including our first TUESDAY offerings) that are looking for curlers. Check them out and sign up HERE

Leave a Comment