Fun Facts Not Related to Curling I Learned at Curling Related Events
by Kate Thomas
People ask me why I curl. I’ll cover the physical and mental benefits in another post. But other top reasons are to hang out with interesting people, go new places, and relax. At the close of this, my second season of curling, I have attended a good number of bonspiels and other curling events all over the Northeast. In so doing, I have met lots of people and learned lots of things…and not all of those things have been related to curling.
1. Applebee’s is the Only Place in Rutland, VT Open Past 9 on Sunday Night
As an arena curling club that curls on a public ice arena, we are not allowed to broomstack (i.e. drink) in our facility. We also have to take ice time when we can get ice time, and we need to set up and put away our equipment before and after our Sunday night league. This takes time, and, apparently, the only restaurant/bar open in Rutland after 9 on Sunday is Applebee’s. We’re not complaining though.
2. Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Were Buds
During the Elisabeth Childs Challenge Ladies’ 5 and under bonspiel at Rochester Curling Club this year, my team had the pleasure of staying at an Air BnB right across the street from Susan B. Anthony Park, a few doors down from where the early suffragist and anti-slavery organizer lived her life. The park contains a beautiful bronze statute of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass having tea and talking. I hadn’t realized they were contemporaries, much less acquainted enough for tea. History education needs to change.
3. Swearing Makes You More Aggressive
One of our club members is a psychologist who likes to tell us fun facts about human nature. According to him, if you swear like a sailor you actually become more aggressive and make others behave more aggressively. As we are trying to adhere to the ethics of curling, swearing doesn’t exactly fit in with good sportsmanship and taking results gracefully—yet another reason to say other words that start with same letter of the word you are actually thinking of when you get mad.
4. Wegman’s in Rochester Has a Pub
Before attending the Elisabeth Childs Challenge this year, I had never set foot inside a Wegman’s. I had heard of this fabled place, filled with wonders, but figured it was all just hype. It. Is. Not. They have EVERYTHING…including a pub for your refreshment before, during or after your shopping chore. My team (“False Hopes”) had just rolled in from a five-hour car trip, and we needed supplies. Little did we know we were going to get tipsy at 3:00 on a Wednesday and then walk around Wegman’s buying a bunch of random stuff.
5. There is a Restaurant Called ‘Bad Daddy’s’ at the Raleigh NC Airport
Actually—this is more warning than fun fact. Just be prepared, should you ever visit the Triangle Club. Bring a snack so you don’t have to bend to the will of Bad Daddy’s. :::shudder::
6. ‘Classic’ Cover Bands Play Nirvana Now
I’m not kidding. In my normal life, I’m not much of a goer-outer anymore. I’ve got a house and a job with a lot of responsibility, plus I’m on boards and stuff. But at bonspiels, I’m let loose, anonymous, in a city to which I may never return. Which means I can go listen to cover bands and dance my butt off with other curlers—and I do. It is in this context I learned the not-as-much-fun-but-super-depressing fact that the music of 90’s Seattle rock legend Nirvana is now considered “classic” rock. By the kids. To be fair, these bands also know The Lion Sleeps Tonight. But still.
7. Locals Hang Out at the Irish Pub Next to the Schenectady Amtrak Station
Speaking of cover bands, there is a pub next to the Schenectady Amtrak Station that, in previous train travel, I assumed was only ever frequented by train travelers waiting five hours for their connections. As it turns out, it was hopping the Saturday of the 2018 Dutch Shoe in Albany, when we met a bunch of ladies from the Schenectady Curling Club there for some drinks and dancing our butts off (again).
8. Talbots Clearance Rules
Is it apparent yet that I live in a rural area? Talbots. Yet another thing I had never experienced before curling related travel. Our team got beaten at the Dutch Shoe, so the four of us—ranging from retired to barely over 30 years old—all went shopping together at Talbots. We all found stuff we love to wear there, plus the retail therapy helped the sting of losing all three games.
9. 99 Proof Grape Liquor (Actually Probably Any Flavor) Works as Nail Polish Remover
As as part of our relaxation time during the Elisabeth Childs, we did manicures. As we applied clear gel over our curling-themed Jamberry nails, we realized we had forgotten to bring nail polish remover—required with gel to get rid of residual stickiness. Luckily, one of our teammates works with chemicals, and she had the brilliant idea of using the nip of 99 Proof Grape Liquor included in our Elisabeth Childs Swag Bag (why? Why not!) instead of nail polish remover. It smelled like Dimetapp, but worked like a charm.
10. If You Light Sparklers You Poked into a Helmet, Wear It, and Ride a Bike Down a Hill, Your Hair Will Catch Fire
Now, before you freak out, please understand we didn’t do this. But a guy from my curling club did, in his youth, and lived to tell the tale. If you join, and do some traveling with us, maybe he’ll tell you too.
1. In addition to regularly scheduled club meetings and broomstacking post-league play, I’ve participated in Rutland Rocks Curling Club’s VERspiel 2017 and 2018; Schenectady Open Bonspiel 2017 and 2018; Mudspiel 2017; Upper Valley Curling Club’s Dayspiel 2017; Albany Curling Club’s Dutch Shoe 2018; Elisabeth Childs Challenge (Rochester) 2018; Krakow 2017 and 2018; and Schenectady’s Carosella Invitational 2018 (anticipatory).
2. Although, on reflection, they tend to fall into the curling subcategories of food, drinking, travel, and stuff people tell each other while they’re watching other people curl.
3. Bonus Fun Fact: Brownie filled pretzel bites and compression socks are both items available at Wegman’s Rochester.
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