Buzzer beaters create Raptors’ bandwagon

I realize buzzer beaters are a common occurrence in basketball, but boy, do they ever cause a rise in my blood pressure when the outcome of the game rides on one.

The buzzer beater that Kawhi Leonard bounced (four times) off the rim and in, as all of Canada held their breath, sending the Toronto Raptors to the NBA finals, was mesmerizing. I’m sure it has been watched around the world by seasoned basketball lovers as well as those new to the sport, now perched on the Raptors’ bandwagon.

The strategy of waiting until the buzzer is about to sound before shooting for the winning basket is nerve wracking to say the least. As long as the ball is released before the buzzer sounds, the score counts. Only if the shot is successful of course. The strategy is that the opposing team does not get a chance to respond to a score. The game is over, while the ball is still in the air, the final score yet to be determined. Until the ball goes in or misses the net.

In game five of the NBA finals between the Raptors and The Golden State Warriors, the Raptors found themselves behind by one measly point with mere seconds left in the game. Unfortunately, this particular buzzer beater by Raptors’ super star Kyle Lowry failed to hit the basket. Instead of jubilant elation, the crowds in the Toronto stadium and pop-up Jurassic Parks across Canada were stunned quiet and sat dejected, as TVs in homes across the country were clicked off to escape the misery.

What a difference in emotion! The first of these buzzer beaters I could of watched over and over again, as many fans did. The joy and disbelief on the fans’ faces and the ensuing celebrations were heartwarming to watch. Especially in these times of political division within our country. From coast to coast, Canada was united in their joy and pride for their team. We still are; it’s not over yet!

The series will resume Thursday night in California where game six will unfold. The Toronto Raptors have a 3-2 lead in this final series, and hope to wrap it up as the NBA champs, the first time ever for a Canadian franchise.

I just hope we don’t have to wait for a buzzer beater to seal the deal! My heart can’t take it!

buzzer beaters
Toronto Raptors logo
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Owner’s Commitment to Winning

The owner’s commitment to winning (or lack of) says it all. Another top player is leaving the Ottawa Senators; it was just announced minutes ago that Mark Stone was traded to the Las Vegas Knights. Stone is the third player within the last week to announce they are leaving, with Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel the two other Senator stars we would have preferred to hold onto. After all, these three players rack up the majority of the team’s points.

The (most telling) reason for Stone’s decision was the “owner’s commitment to winning” in Vegas. Without mentioning Ottawa Senator’s owner Eugene Melynk by name, Stone implied that personal relationships (or lack thereof) make the difference in the locker room and on the ice.

As well as the top three performers on the ice this season, the Senators traded Erik Karlson and Mike Hoffman recently as well. All Sens fans suspected that the Senators owner’s commitment to winning was obviously absent. These last few trades made it painfully obvious. If the owner is not willing or not able to finance these top players, why not sell the team?

I cannot wrap my head around trading an excellent player for a possible draft pick. Take Erik Karlsson for example. Opinion within the hockey world is that Karlsson is the best defenceman in the league. So, trade him to get a draft pick for someone that may be as good, someday? Sounds counterproductive to me, even for a team in “rebuild” mode. Giving away your top five players leaves your team pretty depleted.

Senator fans are quickly losing faith in their team. And what about the (predominantly) rookies and few veterans left as the dust settles? They must be absolutely deflated and discouraged with the changes.

I can picture the Senators players currently left in the dressing room, all wondering if they are back in the minor league.

VO2 Max: Training to Use Oxygen Efficiently

Written by Nate Martins • January 3, 2019. Originally posted on HVMN, adapted for use here on Lorieb.

VO2 max (V=volume, O2= oxygen) is the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen utilized while exercising. It may seem simple and inherent: you breathe in, you breathe out, you keep the workout going.

The importance of maximal oxygen consumption for exercise and the idea of the VO2 max was brought to into the fold by AV Hill, a Nobel Prize winner from Cambridge, in the 1920s. It wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s however, that methodological studies were conducted to gather the accurate physiological elements required for VO2 max measurement of an individual.

Tools to measure VO2 max were created by Henry Taylor and his colleagues over the course of 12+ years at the University of Minnesota lab. Studies were conducted on military draftees who were conscientious objectors. These subjects were essentially at Taylor’s disposal. Over a 12-month timeframe they exercised for one hour a day, six days a week. Data was obtained using methods that were groundbreaking at the time, but are still used today.

Currently hundreds of labs all over the world can conduct a VO2 max test. It used to be only elite athletes that had access to these tests but they’ve since become a prevalent benchmark in endurance sport for those at all levels looking to improve their athletic performance.

Why consider testing VO2 max as part of your training? It’s possibly the barometer for aerobic fitness.1

Why Muscles Need Oxygen to Function

Muscles (and all cells) require energy production to function. Energy inside cells comes in the form of ATP. Most of our ATP is created through the breakdown of metabolic substrates (food) using oxygen, resulting in CO2 and water. This means oxygen is really important. As you exercise energy requirements go up, so you need more oxygen.

Oxygen is absorbed into the blood by the lungs. It binds to a special protein called hemoglobin inside red blood cells. It then travels in the blood, and is pumped by the heart to the rest of the body, getting released in the tissues (including muscle) where it is used to breakdown our food to release energy.

The harder we exercise, the more we breathe and the more our heart pumps. This pumping helps to deliver more oxygen. These are some of the critical factors that influence an individual’s VO2 max.

However, muscles can make energy without oxygen in a process called anaerobic respiration. The only fuel that can be burned anaerobically is carbohydrate, being converted into a substance called pyurvate through glycolysis and then into lactate via anaerobic metabolism.

Build up of lactic acid happens when production occurs faster than our ability to clear it out. The blood becomes more acidic, which in turn can compromise muscle function.

Clearly, fuel source is an important factor relating to the amount of oxygen consumed. At higher intensities of exercise, muscles burn mainly carbs and at lower intensities, they burn more fat.2 Burning fat uses more oxygen than burning carbs, but we have more energy stored as fat, so you can keep going for longer when burning without running out of energy. Muscles are like engines that need gas (oxygen and fuel) to function.

What’s Behind a VO2 Max Number?

The maximal rate at which an individual can process oxygen is usually expressed in milliliters of oxygen per minute per kilogram of bodyweight. This is the relative number most often considered a VO2 max. An average, untrained male age 20-29 has a VO2 max of 35 – 40ml/kg. The average, untrained female of the same age has a VO2 max of 27 – 30ml/kg.

You’d imagine endurance athletes, who need to make energy during long periods of aerobic exercise typically have the highest maximal oxygen uptake. Masters of endurance performance, like cyclists and runners, are usually near the top, with more explosive athletes, like weightlifters, near the bottom.4

Elite male runners can have VO2 max values of 85ml/kg; elite female runners can have values of 77ml/kg. Miguel Indurain, who won the Tour de France five times, reported to have had a VO2 max of 88 at his prime, with Lance Armstrong at an 85.

Which athletes are at the peak of VO2 Mountain? That’s cross-country skiers. Bjørn Dæhlie, a Norwegian cross-country skier, recorded a VO2 max of 96ml/kg. The result came out of season for Dæhlie, and his physiologist claimed he could have gone over 100ml/kg. He had the record for years but in 2012 was dethroned by another Norwegian, an 18 year-old cyclist named Oskar Svendsen, who reportedly logged a 97.5ml/kg. Remember, these scores don’t appear in peer-reviewed literature, so questions always arise about their accuracy.

Animals have also been tested. Thoroughbred horses have been measured to have a VO2 max score of 180ml/kg, while Siberian huskies who ran the Iditarod notched a whopping 240ml/kg.

How to Find Your VO2 Max

Do you know how many milliliters of oxygen per minute per kilogram of oxygen your body can consume at all-out effort? Probably not. Professional labs (and sometimes training facilities) with exercise physiologists can provide these tests, which are typically conducted by breathing into an oxygen mask while walking on a treadmill for a certain amount of time at a specific pace. The only downside: it’s expensive.

During lab tests, a facemask is placed on subjects to measure the volume and gas concentrations of inhaled and exhaled air. Similar to lactate testing in a sports lab, athletes run on a treadmill (or sometimes use a stationary bike or rowing machine, depending on sport) and the exercise intensity increases every few minutes until exhaustion (read: you start having tunnel vision, hit the red stop button and collapse into a sweaty heap). The test is designed this way to achieve maximal exercise effort from the subject.

Usually, heart rate is measured through the test so you get data on your resting heart rate all the way up to maximal heart rate. Athletes will receive their ideal heart rate zones for warm-up, aerobic, anaerobic and uber-tough intervals.

The most valuable of this group might be the heart rate between aerobic and anaerobic exercise: the anaerobic threshold. Training will be geared toward improving this point, at which the body begins to accumulate lactate in the blood.

Similar tests can be replicated outside of labs with less accuracy.

Simple Heart Rate Test

Another way to roughly estimate VO2 max also makes use of heart rate measurement. First, find your resting heart rate. Most fitness trackers can provide this number, but if you don’t have a fitness tracker, you can go old school. Find your pulse and set a timer for 60 seconds, counting the number of beats in a minute.

Then, find your maximum heart rate. This formula might oversimplify things, but it’s effective for the purposes of a loose VO2 max calculation. To find your max heart rate, subtract your age from 220. So, if you’re 30 years old, your maximum heart rate is 190 beats per minute (bpm).

Use this formula to find your simple VO2 max: 15 x (max heart rate / resting heart rate).

For example, if your maximum heart rate is 190 and resting heart rate is 80:

VO2 = 15 x (190/80)

VO2 = 15 x 2.4

VO2 = 36.6

This isn’t the most accurate formula, but it can provide a good starting point for training to improve VO2.

The Rockport Fitness Walking Test (RFWT)

This walking test can also calculate a VO2 max, and studies have proven its accuracy. First, stretch and warm up. Then, find a track or mostly flat surface on which to walk a mile as fast as possible. It’s important to walk, and not to cross over into jogging territory. After walking exactly one mile, note exactly how long it took and your heart rate at the end of the mile. Using those numbers, you’ll be able to find an estimated VO2 max using this formula:

VO2 max = 132.853 – (0.0769 x W) – (0.3877 x A) + (6.315 x G) – (3.2649 x T) – (0.1565 x H)

W = weight (in pounds)

A = age

G = gender (1 for men, 0 for women)

T = time to complete the mile (in minutes)

H= heart rate

VO2 Max for Cyclists

Power is the golden egg of data for cyclists. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, as it provides some insight into finding a VO2 max, when combined with some field testing. Pedal for 20 minutes at a maximum, yet sustainable, effort. Cyclists should monitor their power meters, maintaining consistent intensity while incrementally increasing wattage the first three minutes until finding a power output that can be maintained for the rest of the test. This should be a wattage similar to high-intensity rides or races. Use this formula to find your VO2 max:

VO2 max = [(10.8 x W) / K] + 7

W = average wattage

K = weight in kilogramsStill searching for that PR?

Improving Your VO2 Max

Two major factors contribute to a high VO2 max: the amount of oxygen you can transport and your muscle physiology. Oxygen transportation includes a strong heart pumping blood through the body, with hemoglobin-dense blood, a high blood volume and high capillary density in the muscles. Better oxygen transport leads to higher VO2 max. Muscle physiology means how many muscle fibers you have, how big they are, how many mitochondria there are, and how strongly you can activate them during exercise. More aerobic, oxygen guzzling muscles equals a higher VO2 max.

Similar to lactate training, a training program can be implemented to improve VO2 max and help increase physical fitness, improving the way your body utilizes oxygen. Training is designed to have you spend as much time as possible at 95% – 100% of your current VO2 max.

Limiting factors like gender, genetic makeup, and age all have an impact on an individual VO2 max, but training can always improve this number. Because lactate threshold and VO2 max are linked, check out our blog for additional ways to train with lactate in mind.

A note: since body weight is a factor in VO2 max, less body mass will inherently improve your score.5

Interval training often results in the most improvement of VO2 max.6

High-Intensity Training: Long Intervals

If you are good at pacing yourself, sessions made up of long (4 minutes or so) intervals at your hardest sustainable effort are a good way to increase VO2 max. Between each interval, you should keep moving; active recovery will keep VO2 elevated during the process. Plan to do 4-6 sets.

The 4×4 minute workout is a classic in all sports: running, cycling and rowing research has proven its efficacy.7 First, always remember to warm up properly for at least ten minutes. Then conduct four maximal 1,000 meter runs (or sprint four minutes) at 85% – 95% of your maximum effort with two to three minutes of recovery between each run. For cycling, find a section of road or a climb offering a challenging grade that you can work for 4 minutes. To mix it up you could try alternating between standing and seated efforts each minute

The idea is to save enough energy so that your last set is the hardest intensity. If you are running on a track or watching your power on the bike, ensure you’ll be able to go your hardest on the last set. Pace this right and you should be dreading the last interval. By holding a pace that’s at the upper limit of your ability, you overload your heart, lungs and muscles, forcing them to adapt to deliver and take up more oxygen.

In one research study, athletes who did a similar workout improved their VO2 maxes by 10%.7 Time to exhaustion, blood volume, vein and artery function all improved after the training period.

High-Intensity Training: Short Intervals

If you can’t bring yourself to suffer four minutes of near-max intensity, you can go for shorter intervals–but they have to be an even higher intensity to provide a benefit. Short interval sprints of under one minute can also improve VO2 max as long as they’re conducted at almost maximal effort level.

The exercise test here is 8-10 sets of 1 minute sprints. Again, make sure you are properly warmed up–these workouts carry a risk of injury because of the amount of power produced. You have to give it your all during each interval without holding anything back.

From the same study mentioned above, those doing ten sets of one-minute high-intensity sprints on a treadmill at maximum rate (with a 1 minute rest in between each interval) increased VO2 max by 3%.7

Time to exhaustion, plasma volume and hemoglobin mass increased with this routine. However, results demonstrated that long interval training garnered the most dramatic results.

VO2 Max: Training Your Body to Use Oxygen

Being able to use a high volume of oxygen with a high degree of efficiency is one of the best indicators of endurance fitness there out there. Many factors contribute to this measurement, but what it comes down to is training–athletes must train to increase VO2 max.8

Some athletes are better equipped for high VO2 maxes. Runners, cyclists and rowers sit near the top of the totem pole, but cross-country skiers have typically reigned supreme. Regardless of your sport, a high VO2 can be a great gutcheck for your fitness level at a physiological level.

Because oxygen is so vital to our muscle function, we should be adept at using it efficiently. Training, backed by science

Scientific Citations

Tennis upsets feature Canadian Bianca Andreescu

After (painfully) witnessing the upset of our mens junior hockey team in the quarter finals we Canadians have moved on to a thrilling and unexpected (maybe not to her) surprise in world tennis action. Eighteen year old Bianca Andreescu has been on the pro tennis circuit since 2017, but suddenly bounced into focus last weekend when she defeated Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki in New Zealand’s ASB classic.

Despite the fact that she was defeated in the final of that event, Andreescu went on to qualify for the Australian Open a few days later. Young, talented, ambitious and resilient, Bianca is earning respect on the tennis courts as well as pride and admiration from Canadians.

With a shining future ahead, all of our eyes and hearts are on and with her!

tennis
Bianca Andreescu photo by Rogers Media

Why the tragedy in Humboldt Saskatchewan has rocked Canadians

Humboldt Broncos

The tragedy in Saskatchewan involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team has rocked Canadians this week. Regardless of whether you are a fan of hockey, this story cannot help but move you. The accident between a bus loaded with young hockey players and a truck loaded with peat moss was a hockey parent’s worst nightmare. The parents, families and friends of the 15 victims of the accident are all currently living that nightmare. The rest of us can only shudder in horror imagining how unbelievably awful this past week must have (and continues to be) been for them.

Whether you live in a large city or a small town in Canada, hockey cannot help but touch your life. After all, hockey is Canada’s sport. Whether you play, watch, or coach hockey, serve as team trainer or manager, your involvement in hockey means you love the sport and cannot help but get emotionally involved with your team.

The hockey community is very tight across Canada.  Whether we know them personally or not, we all cheer for and keep track of our hometown kids as they grow up and follow their dream to play in the big league.  We celebrate and share their victories and achievements.  This week we mourn the loss of these talented, hard working, ambitious, young athletes and the adults with them as the Humboldt Broncos team travelled together on their final hockey road trip.

As the country watches, listens and mourns, Canadians and others around the world have stepped up to show their support for the Humboldt Broncos team.  A Go Fund Me account has raised over 9 million dollars to date to help the families of the victims.  Professional hockey teams and players have offered their condolences. Families are leaving hockey sticks and lights on at their front doors.  Students and parents alike are wearing jerseys to school and work.

Humboldt Broncos
Nokia Kanata on Jersey Day

 

As difficult as this tragedy has been to watch unfold, the heartfelt response has made me (even more) proud to be Canadian!

 

A score and more for 44, Pageau shows why Senators want him on their roster

The Ottawa Senators beat the Las Vegas Knights to serve them their third three loss streak last night in a flurry of goals that did not make either goaltender look especially strong.  Sens number 44, JG Pageau scored a one timer from the blue line, not a common occurrence for him.  JG also won the last few crucial face-offs of the game in their own end when the Senators were struggling to stay up a goal.

I for one am glad Pageau is still with the Senators as  his work ethic is so strong.  He always puts 110% into a game, something that cannot be said for many NHL players.  His short handed and faceoff prowess round out his skill set, not to mention he has been known to score some goals.

Erik Karlsson’s three assists in the game, including one where Burrows redirected one of his shots for the winning goal, were painful reminders (for Vegas fans) of why the Vegas expansion team (and many others) were so keen on acquiring Karlsson before the recent trade deadline. Most Senator fans however are very happy Karlsson is still our captain.

Another name tossed around in the recent trade rumors racking up multiple points was Bobby Ryan.  With a break away goal (set up by a beautiful pass from Mark Stone) and two assists, Ryan also showed how he might be able to help the Senators (despite a massive contract) moving forward.  If he can stay healthy.

Players not mentioned as possibilities in the trades included Mark Stone and Matt Duchene.  Both had great games.  Stone contributed the first goal and hit Ryan up for a perfect pass and goal.  He also contributed with multiple take aways, stealing the puck from Vegas players, frustrating both the players and their coach.   Matt Duchene’s goal added to his impressive (and much appreciated) tally of points he has accumulated since his arrival in Ottawa.  He also appears to be a penalty magnet (drawer) as opposing players try desperately to take him off his game.

Pageau

 

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Erik Karlsson stays put with Ottawa Senators

Looks like Erik Karlsson is staying in Ottawa with the Ottawa Senators.  At least for now.  His contract is not up until next year, so we may go through all of this stress again then.

I must admit I have mixed emotions about the possibility of trading him.  On one hand I realize the financial shenanigans (reasons) may make sense to the bottom line of the Senators’ budget.  On the other hand however, why would you get rid of a franchise player, arguably the best defenseman ever, in hopes of acquiring another good defensive player with a few bonus players thrown in?

Many teams (apparently) lined up to make their offers of what (who) they thought Karlsson is worth to them, but (again apparently) none of them were willing to add as many bonuses we thought he is worth.

It is true that this season has not been Karlsson’s best (by far) This can be explained and even expected by the fact that he was not able to attend full summer training with the team due to his foot/ankle injury.  It probably did not help that he played on the injured foot during last years playoffs where the Senators were as close as an overtime loss in game seven to making the Stanley Cup finals.  I’m sure the Pittsburgh Penguins led by Sidney Crosby were sweating big time (extremely worried) that game.

The Senators are not expected to make the playoffs this season.  So hopefully Karlsson can recuperate (heal) properly and be back to his former glory next season.  I for one am glad to see him stick around.  His skill level is awesome to watch on the ice and he is a charismatic leader on and off the ice within our community.

If you have a few more minutes to spare, check out my other blogs…

LOL laugh out loud with me on Your Daily Chuckle. These posts are NOT originals, merely things I saw on Facebook or elsewhere that made me chuckle.

WoW stands for Words of Wisdom, motivational and inspirational words. Again, I am NOT the original author, just want to share words that move me.

GARDENS4U is the website for my gardening business that is the reason I don’t post on this blog as much during the summer

Canadian Olympic firsts

Although we Canadians have collected a record (for us) number of medals this Olympic games, we have suffered a few heartbreaking and painful firsts.

  • the first time the women’s curling team did not qualify for the playoff round since the inception of curling as an Olympic sport.  I have to admit though, the South Korean women curlers were so impressive, cool calm and collected throughout their games.
  • the first time both the men’s and women’s team have missed the podium in traditional curling (although we did capture gold in mixed doubles)  Again, since the inception of curling as an Olympic sport.
  • the first time (in five years) our women’s hockey team had to settle for a silver medal although nothing to scoff at there. They were outplayed, although the officials could have been less biased in their calls.

These disappointing firsts are a result of many things in my mind.  Canada has always been respected for their curling and hockey prowess, but obviously other teams are catching up fast.  It does not help that curling teams from around the world come to Canada to compete against the best for practice on the world stage.  It also does not help that many of these teams are paying Canadian curlers to coach their teams.  As for the hockey, the USA and Canadian women’s teams have always been neck and neck, with all other teams lagging far behind.  After 4 consecutive gold medals for the Canadian women, it was time for the USA to win one.  No other team even comes close, but that may change too in the years to come.

The fact that the Canadian teams mentioned were the reigning and repeated gold medal holders in their respective sports puts an immense amount of pressure on them.  All other teams strive to knock them off the podium.  The German team celebrated like they had won the gold medal after beating team Canada in the semi-final.

The fact that no current NHL players are on the men’s Olympic hockey teams weighs in too.  In previous years Canadian and USA rosters were loaded with NHL players.  The NHL chose to not allow their players to participate in the Olympics this time after the IOC (International Olympic Committee) refused to pay the players’ (considerable) insurance premiums and travel costs.

Day 13 of the winter Olympics proved to be unlucky for Canadians in a few sports.   However, there were a few great firsts to cheer about other days.  Just as other countries are gaining respect in sports they were not historically known to medal for, Canada is too.  More medals in figure skating and speed skating made up for those lost in hockey and curling in our total medal count. Here are a few of those awesome firsts:

  • Canada has won the most medals in speed skating since its Olympic inception.
  • John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes won the first gold medal in mixed doubles curling
  • Sebastien Toutant won the first gold in the snowboarding “big air” thriller
  • first time Canada has won four medals in figure skating, two gold and two bronze
  • first time Canada has won 29 medals at a winter games, previous record was 26
  • first time Canada has won the third most medals in a winter games, (previous record was 4th) 9 behind Norway, one behind Germany (we were in second until the last night of competition when Germany won two medals in bobsled) and 6 ahead of the USA.

 

The time change (they are 14 hours ahead of us here in EST) was a bit annoying with these winter Olympic games held in PyeongChang, a first for South Korea.  Sometimes it was hard to tell what was old news and what was new.  Other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed watching all the talented athletes.  Well, maybe not the curling  or hockey.

If you have a few more minutes to spare, please check out my other blogs…

LOL laugh out loud with me on Your Daily Chuckle. These posts are NOT originals, merely things I saw on Facebook or elsewhere that made me chuckle.

WoW stands for Words of Wisdom, motivational and inspirational words. Again, I am NOT the original author, just want to share words that move me.

GARDENS4U is the website for my gardening business that is the reason I don’t post on this blog as much during the summer.

Olympics and gun control meet on Twitter

What do the Olympics and gun control have in common?  Twitter, they have Twitter in common.  This exchange of tweets on Twitter was too funny (and tragically accurate) not to share!  It came after the USA women’s hockey team beat Canada in the gold medal hockey game and the USA men’s curling team beat the Canadian men’s curling team to advance to the gold medal game in the winter Olympics.  It also came after another shooting rampage in a USA school.

 

Chris Sedenka‏
@ChrisSedenka

Hey @Canada, what else would you like us to beat you in today?
8:43 AM – 22 Feb 2018

 

 

Scott Morrison‏
@scott_morrison

Gun Control

 

This reply was the BEST!  Nothing more to be said that can improve that conversation.  Leave it to a little blue bird to get the last word in!

Twitter

 

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Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca

 

Do curlers have to be physically fit?

In my youth, the only curlers I knew were the rags my mother used to put in my hair.   I was vaguely aware that my BFF’s brother was a curler, but I cannot say I was interested enough to find out anything about the sport.  In fact, I’m not sure it was much of a sport back then.

My husband was a great curler in his youth, representing his club in the provincial playdowns several times.  His teenaged years were consumed with curling.  His knowledge of and passion for the game, not to mention the numerous trophies that we have in our home, (those were the days when no one but the winner got a trophy) taught me all about the game.  Not just the logistics of the game, but how difficult it is (here in Canada) to be the best team in your club let alone your zone, province, or country.  That degree of difficulty has not changed.  It might be even tougher as there are so many good teams out there.

My two eldest sons started curling at the age of four.  They both curled locally for years,  coached by their father. The younger of the two was not as passionate about the sport as the elder who also went on to curl competitively including representing our area in the provincials.  Unfortunately, much to the chagrin of his dad, his curling days took a back seat to his goal of becoming a civil engineer.  Both sons learned a lot on the curling ice, including leadership, team play, and communication skills.  Both developed friendships that have lasted over the years.   In fact, my eldest son met his new wife within the first few years of his curling career.  They both still curl at the same RCC although she is currently taking a hiatus to give birth to their first child!

Gone are the days, however, where drinking beer (adults only of course) and munching on junk food after the game were the highlights of the sport, at least at the competitive level.   Today, teams and individuals are known for their fitness level, mental endurance, and strategically amazing shots.  Sorry Ed Werenich, but the days of the belly hanging over the belt as you crouch on the ice to throw your shot are long gone.

ed

 

Watching the mixed doubles category in the winter Olympics this week, it is obvious that these curlers definitely have to be physically fit athletes to compete at this level today.  With just two (traditional curling has four) curlers per team, they  are throwing a rock, then quickly jumping up to sweep it down the ice towards the house.  I broke out in a (nervous) sweat watching them, especially the gold medal game between Canada and Switzerland.  The pairing of Canada’s John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes were spectacular to watch as they brought home the gold.

curlers
CBC news: Canada’s John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes win Olympic gold in curling mixed doubles

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Please be sure to visit my other blogs:
Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at Your Daily Chuckle
and
Be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW
My gardening website can be viewed at gardens4u.ca