It’s finally here. After six years of being relegated to Sunday morning, Skatetown’s found some room for us in their busy weeknight schedule. This isn’t a one-time practice or playdown. This isn’t a Playdown or a Leaster or a Skins Game or whatever the heck that “Midweek Madness Minispiel” we did back before the first Barrel. This is a legitimate, bona fide, seven-week long Thursday Night League. And it won’t stop there. We’re planning another Thursday League to accompany our Summer League, and then in Fall, and then as long as we have enough people who are happy enough to not have to set their alarm to come out super early and screw up all of their weekend plans.
Inaugural League. Twenty-nine people signed up for our inaugural league, allowing us to eke out eight teams. It’s a mish-mash of experienced and neophyte curlers The teams run the gamut from a fully self-formed team (Team Kuhl) to a team of four friends just off of a LTC (Team Russell) to a team of four free agents (Team Feldman). Some people are playing with their normal compadres, while others are venturing out with new partners. For instance, Jeff Jones and Nick Graf are playing together, as per usual, but instead of their usual cadre, they’re playing with Rick Rouze and an Open Spot on their front end.
Open Spots. Twenty-nine curlers meant we had one too many to go seven teams, but three short of a full 8-team league. That means there are three open spots. We’ve been hearing from a lot of people that they can’t be there for every Thursday, but they’re hoping to come out for the open ice on a somewhat regular basis. Well, good news, because there should usually be multiple openings. There might also be an open sheet for practice, but that depends on if we can find Learn-to-Curl instructors to maybe winnow our extensive list of people patiently waiting to learn our sport. Want to help out? Contact Katie or Bruce.
All Hands on Deck. We get the ice at 5:30. The game needs to start by 5:45. What does that mean? Everybody needs to be there by 5:30. If everybody takes four stones to the ice and then goes and stands on a hack for five minutes, we’ll be ready to go by game time. There’s a hockey game on right after us, so the Zamboni will hit the ice at 7:45. Don’t start any new ends after 7:22 or so.
Speaking of which, this will be the first league to use ends played as a tiebreaker instead of ends won. The first two tiebreakers (head-to-head, point differential) will remain the same, but we want to encourage everybody to hit the ground running.
Only, don’t run on the ice, naturally.
Total Numbers. Not sure if y’all have noticed, but Wine Country’s growing! We’ve passed 100 members for the second time in our club’s history. But last time we hit 100, we were still only getting 50 or so out on the ice at any given time. This time, we’re getting a lot more people into games and they’re sticking around longer. Last spring, after the Miracurl on Ice, we took a third timeslot on Sunday for a Beginners League and had 80 people curling every week. But unlike four years earlier, when the Beginners and Summer Leagues marked the high-water marks, Thursday League now allows us to grow beyond that lofty number. Are you ready for the grand total? As of today, we have:
A League: 48 curlers
C League: 32 curlers
Thursday: 29 curlers
Grand Total: 109 people curling each week!
Congratulations to everyone and let’s keep it up!
(Oh, and if you want to help with a Learn to Curl, contact Katie or Bruce)