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Notes From The Year 2030

Get ready for the “infinity rock” rule, where no guards may be removed at all.

Greetings curling fans. I am writing to you from the year 2030. Much like when your calendar turned from 2019 to 2020, we also had a plethora of columns, podcasts and neurocasts looking back at the past decade. What’s that? You’ve never heard of a neurocast? Don’t worry, you’ll soon understand… when Facebook and Google transmit content directly into your brain starting in 2024. You probably should have been reading all those End User License Agreements you’ve been clicking “agree” on all these years, but I digress.

A lot has changed in the past 10 years. Flying cars finally became available to the general public and became popular because drivers of road vehicles in North America still refused to learn the basics of driving through roundabouts. The Simpsons finally announced its series finale date… in another 20 years.

On the other hand, a lot hasn’t changed. The top earning movie of the decade was Star Wars XXII: Palpatine Lives Again. And a Canadian team still hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1993.

But here is a timeline – a sneak preview – of the world of curling from the past 10 years...

Matt Back to the Future

Matt – Back To The Future!

September 2021: To increase rocks in play, the free-guard zone rule is expanded to forbid ticks of centre-line guards.

January 2022: To encourage more high-level teams to enter playdowns for the Tournament of Hearts and Brier, Curling Canada expands the residency rules for provincial eligibility. In addition to the “birthright rule” added in 2019, the organization adds the “former resident rule” in which a player only needs to have lived in the province within the past five years to be eligible to represent.

February 2022: The biggest curling nation is once again shut out of the curling medals at Beijing 2022. Curling Canada announces a national curling summit to discuss the future of the sport. The next day, Canada’s men’s hockey team also fails to medal. The National Curling Summit is quickly forgotten by the country’s sports media and is quietly rescheduled to a Tim Hortons in Hamilton, Ont.

Also February 2022: USA is golden again, but this time it’s the women’s turn to stand atop the podium. The resulting spike in interest leads more U.S. clubs to switch from shared arenas to dedicated curling ice.

September 2022: World and national championship games are officially reduced from 10 ends to eight ends. Despite the assumption the change was made to appease television broadcasters, the real reason is soon discovered – bar sales at host venues skyrocket as fans have less curling to watch.

September 2023: To increase rocks in play, the five-rock free-guard zone rule is expanded to the “six rock” rule.

October 2023: A new World Curling Tour event with a purse to rival the Grand Slam of Curling series is held in Europe two weeks before the European Championships. This conflicts with the Grand Slam’s Tour Challenge event, inadvertently creating a civil war between teams from Europe and North America.  The rift is short lived, as teams realize they aren’t paid enough to fight a war, and hostilities end after only a few mean tweets are sent.

January 2024: Curling Canada changes the format of the Continental Cup (yet again) to become a four-team event featuring Canada, Europe, USA and Pacific-Asia. The change is short-lived, however, as Canada is mathematically out of contention early on the Sunday, causing TSN ratings to plummet. However, the World Curling Federation rediscovers the event (they originally co-founded it along with Curling Canada and USA Curling) and rebrands it as a new World Cup of Curling.

September 2024: To increase rocks in play, the six-rock free guard zone rule is expanded to the “seven rock” rule.

November 2025: After seeing the effects of the brief Curling Civil War of 2023, China disrupts curling organizations around the world by hosting a series of high-paying money events deliberately scheduled opposite high-profile WCT and national tourneys. Many teams are lured to these events due to the large purses. The prize money cheques bounce.

February 2026: Canada sweeps the curling gold medals at the Olympics in Cortina, Italy. Despite the record number of medals won by Canadian athletes in all sports, the Olympics are deemed a national failure as, after the return of NHL players, the men’s hockey team fails to win a medal.

Also February 2026: After the USA fails to win a gold medal, there are riots in the streets of Minnesota. They are short-lived as the participants agree they’d rather go inside to continue broomstacking.

August 2026: The Canadians further expand on provincial eligibility by adding the “layover rule.” Now a player only needs to have spent one hour in an airport in the province/territory to be eligible to represent.

September 2026: To increase rocks in play, the seven-rock free-guard zone rule is expanded to the “infinity rock” rule, where no guards may be taken out at all.

November 2027: Nigeria shocks the curling world by becoming the first African country to qualify for the men’s world championship. The catchphrase “Good Gollywompers” becomes a global sensation.

February 2028: TSN signs another eight-year extension to broadcast the “Season of Champions.” TSN also continues to ignore any and all curling events not directly affiliated with Curling Canada.

May 2028: Canada reinstates the original residency rules for eligibility to represent provinces and territories at the Brier and Tournament of Hearts. Coincidentally, it is announced that Canada’s representative at the world championships will now be determined at the Canada Cup.

September 2028: To increase rocks in play, the seven-rock free guard zone rule is expanded to the “infinity plus one” rule, which is obviously better because infinity plus one is more than infinity.

December 2029: Journalists look back on the past decade to produce easy content so they don’t have to work over the holidays.