So Much Curling It’s Making Me Hard
Hey, friends. As of late, I haven’t been posting as often. I’ve had a very difficult time with finding the time to tend to my blog, despite wanting to. I feel awful that I haven’t been able to keep up with my moodboards and my V.C. Andrews reviews, but such is the life of a retail-working mom writer. There are times when my writing feels like a silly hobby I should spend less time on for the sake of putting laundry away. There are others when I stay up late and sacrifice precious sleep to get stories done.
Anyway, I have wanted to update more on personal stuff on this blog. I don’t often talk about the goings-on in my life, but when I do I always get such lovely responses about what it’s like to just be a writer struggling in the meatgrinder of trying to find relevance.
I don’t wanna talk much about covid, because who the fuck does these days? But since Omicron came out and we were all told that we would all get it, I still found myself convinced that I’d never get it. But then I started chatting with other parents from my daughter’s school. Half of them got covid over the holidays. It was crazy because up until then, I could pretty much count all the people I personally knew who had covid on one hand.
The previous Sunday I took the kids to an outdoor sledding birthday party. Then, on Monday, two kids from the party were sick all week. Then another one got sick and was stuck in bed. And then I found out that that kid’s teacher had recently had covid. I then realized that I knew jack shit about the school protocols about informing people of whether or not there were positive cases. From what I know, all contact tracing was pretty much tossed out the window because Omicron was so spreadable and yet so weak with people who’d had the vaccine.
Anyway, the next day I woke up fatigued and with a headache and aching muscles and even just the thought of pushing my son’s stroller up the hill to take my daughter to school was too much to fucking bear. So I excused her from school and stayed home, hoping the symptoms wouldn’t worsen.
The next day I got tested and lo and behold, it came back negative. So I dunno if I was just being a baby or if my entire body just hated me because I haven’t been working much and literally spent four days in a row sitting in a fucking chair watching three curling games a day.
I do feel much better now, though?
Too Much Curling
Okay, so if you follow me on Twitter, you know that I love curling. I really am not much of a sports person. I also hate the idea of turning people off of my feed by talking about sports too much around people who aren’t into sports, because fuck those people. But curling’s one of those sports that people always mock, which makes for great Twitter content, honestly.
But late winter is always peak curling season, especially here in Canada. We have the men’s and women’s national championships, and this year we also have the 2022 Olympics, so I was primed and ready for curling. Some of my writing network discussed the weirdness of curling. Many “hurry hard!” jokes were made.
The funny thing about the phrase “hurry hard” is that no curlers actually say this anymore. They literally just yell “HARD” over and over and it sounds way more suggestive than the jokes make it sound. And so when the Scotties Tournament of Hearts started in the first week of February, I started live-tweeting #suggestivecurlingquotes.
It was an attempt to engage with curling on my Twitter in an “on-brand” way for me, because we all know my writing is salacious and that I love a good dirty joke. Honestly, it was fun. People enjoyed them.
This is just but a sampling of what I tweeted, so check out the hashtag for all my dirty curling quotes in their glory:
“It’s a little deep right now.” #suggestivecurlingquotes #STOH2022— Rebecca Jones-Howe (@rjoneshowe) February 5, 2022
“That’s the widest we’ve been.” #suggestivecurlingquotes #stoh2022— Rebecca Jones-Howe (@rjoneshowe) February 5, 2022
“Keep it going. Push, push, push, push. Keep it going. You’re almost there! It’s almost there!” #suggestivecurlingquotes #stoh2022— Rebecca Jones-Howe (@rjoneshowe) February 3, 2022
The Olympics are always fun as a curling fan on Twitter, because people always end up watching curling who never watch curling and suddenly get really into it. I am looking forward to seeing what kind of buzz the 4-person curling tournament creates, with USA’s John Shuster making a return for the gold, and both Canada’s Jennifer Jones (2014 Gold) and Brad Gushue (2006 Gold) are back to compete again. Hopefully, they’re in better shape than Canada’s mixed-doubles curling team was this year, because uh…
Okay, I’m Sorry But I’m Gonna Talk About Curling for a Hot Minute
Okay, so curling’s like a hot thing in Canada. We love to talk about hockey, but curling is truly cemented into our identity. Like 90% of the world’s curlers are Canadian and curling fans, in particular, have ridiculously high expectations of our athletes when they compete at the International level. Problem is that Canada doesn’t really do much to support our athletes when they compete at the International level.
Back in 2014 at the Sochi Olympic Games, Canada won what it called its very first “double double”, named after the Tim Horton’s coffee, wherein we earned gold medals in both Men’s and Women’s Hockey AND Men’s and Women’s Curling. Since then, we’ve attempted to chase that high, but 2018 didn’t bode well for us. (Canada got a Bronze in Men’s Hockey, and the infamous Women’s Team lost the Gold medal game to long-time rivals in the USA.) Curling was even worse, as Canada’s Rachel Homan team placed 6th in Women’s Curling and Kevin Koe’s rink lost the Bronze medal game for the men.
Since then, Canada’s been trying to figure out why we’re not the best anymore, even though the truth is that we know exactly why. This great article came out just before the 2022 Olympics began, which in great detail elaborates on how quickly the rest of the world has improved in curling. The other curlers get support and funding. Canadian elite curlers literally still have full-time day jobs. Former Canadian greats even go on to coach international teams, so like… it’s kind of hard to not expect these other countries to come out with a whip and beat us into submission.
But then we get to mixed doubles curling. I was really excited to watch our mixed doubles trials in December, but then Omicron ended up cancelling that, and Curling Canada took an insane amount of time choosing which team to send to represent us. They chose John Morris and Rachael Homan. Morris actually won Gold in 2018 with Kaitlyn Lawes, which again sent Canadian fans into a fury of expectation for this new team. The problem?
John and Rachael literally had like two fucking weeks to prepare for the Olympics.
I mean, here at home, we know they’re good and have consistently done well. But you can’t just expect to send two good players out with teams who been spending upwards of 4 years preparing for the Olympics and expect to win. But still, that’s what Canada did, and watching some of those games was honestly so brutal and gut-wrenching.
Curling in Canada gets particularly intense, hence the yellowing. It was weird to see the International teams so calm and serene as they settled into the hack and lobbed off shot after shot. Some of the players didn’t even yell much? They sounded totally calm and normal?
Canada, well, sounded like that one person you sometimes play Smash Bros. with who takes the game WAY TOO SERIOUSLY. They yelled and screamed and you could literally feel the stress through the screen. I sat so with my limbs so tight and strained. I could barely watch the fucking shots. My nerves were absolutely rattled. Still, Canada maintained a decent position in the rankings, but then they lost against Australia, a team that had only racked up on losses until they battled Canada. (John Morris also coaches the Australian team, so it was one of those “student becomes the teacher” moments for sure).
Then came the MUST WIN game for Canada to keep their medal hopes alive. And it was against Italy. The only unbeaten team in the championship. The team that every curling fan was like asking about, like WTF HOW ARE THEY IN THE LEAD?! So Canada goes in, fares reasonably well, but then the game goes to an extra end, and with hammer (last rock, for you non-curling fans), Rachel Homan is forced to make this draw that was excruciating and that I will never ever ever forget.
The whole shot made for the most painful watch, honestly. All of me was hardened and worn, and watching that measure was torture. The emotions ran high and tense. I kind of tried my best to savor it so I could use it for fiction later. That’s the cool thing about caring about sports. Just the act of witnessing really takes you places, for sure.
So yeah, no medal for Canada in mixed doubles. Feeling that loss really took me back to when my novel got rejected and I know the feeling. We all know that feeling when we lose something we placed such high importance on. It takes you out for a while. In terms of my novel, I’m still a bit taken down now. Looking back, I just feel so bad that these two were under that kind of pressure. Most curlers talk about what it’s like to “wear the maple leaf on your back” when playing internationally, and it’s true. It’s a lot. At the end of the day, it’s just curling, and considering that John and Rachel barely had time to train and had little experience with playing other international mixed doubles teams, 5th is pretty good.
And honestly, congrats to Italy. They put a lot into their game and it clearly paid off well.
A Whole Lotta Not Writing
Anyway, so I’m sure this is why I’ve been feeling like total ass all week. I TRIED to write. I did get some writing in too, and even did some plotting for a novella project that actually relates to curling, so in theory, all this sports-watching has actually been researching.
In January, I got a quick burst of writing and managed to pen a flash fiction story in just four days. I was proud of it, but it’s since been rejected twice, so I dunno if I should just put it into my collection or try it elsewhere. The story revolves around a pretty sensitive topic, so I know its market is pretty limited.
I’ve also been trying to write a piece of short fiction since December. It’s the final story in my planned gothic collection. It’s in my head but it’s taking far longer to form than I’d hoped for. I’m tired. I’m distracted. I have such little energy to devote to writing these days. But I plug away. At this point, I’m at around 200 words a night or so, which isn’t much but is something.
I’ve deleted a lot and written more to delete the next night. But I think I’ve carved myself a nice little place to fester in for a bit. To let the ideas bloom a bit. This new story is set during the Klondike gold rush and I’m so keen to write it, but the characters just haven’t quite formed yet. I’m brewing them, though. Sometimes writing just needs a longer steeping time, so I’m allowing myself that.
In the meantime, you can just out my latest works, “Modern Ruins”, “A Patient, A Guest”, and the upcoming “Hostages” below:
Things Will Get Better Soon
The days are getting longer. The snow is melting. At least, in Kamloops, it is. I love the sound of the water dripping down the gutters. I hate slipping over the ice when I take my daughter to school every morning, but maybe it’ll be another week of this and the sidewalks will clear. I’ve been sleeping better, though. Some days are a bit of a slog but I’m really trying to lean into things that make me feel better in times of stress.
This week, it was curling. My writing productivity may have suffered a bit, but the intention is still there. I’m excited for what’s to come.
Have You Been Watching the Olympics?
What’s your sport of choice and why is it not curling?