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What the hell is a Trillium?

It has happened, I have moved. I have officially become an Ontario curler. I must say, it is an adjustment.

First of all, I had to learn what a Trillium was. Everything in Ontario curling is a Trillium. It sounds like something from the old Star Trek TV series: “Spock … we need to find more trillium crystals to power the warp drive.” There are Trillium camps, Trillium points, there is a Trillium 500 curling series. Trillium, trillium, trillium.

(The Trillium, by the way, is the Ontario provincial flower, also found on the Ontario flag. Side note, it is believed that the root of the trillium, ground into a tonic, is a cure for diarrhea. Thanks, Google!)

So with my newfound Trillium knowledge in hand, I then needed to find a team. Fortunately, I seem to have found a good one. I have hooked up with a motley crew of seemingly journeymen curlers with whom I seem to share a similar view of the game. We have played two tournaments together so far and managed to win one of them!

We won the KW Classic in fine form, running through the tournament undefeated. This win apparently earned us some magical Trillium points, which we can use to qualify for provincials via a points and rules system only slightly less complicated than cricket. If not, will grind up the Trillium points into a tonic the next time I am unwell.

Next, I needed to find a club to curl at. Here, also, I seem to have found a good one. Leaside Curling Club, apart from being one of the largest curling clubs left in Ontario, also seems warm, friendly and has pretty good ice. I’m sure I will be able to find some practice ice, a friendly league game and a bar. I am still a little freaked out by the green curling rocks, but I’m sure I will adjust.

One thing that is amazing about Ontario curling is that you can play a competitive schedule without having to fly to ’spiels or take too much time off work. I will now find myself discovering places like Stroud, Port Elgin and Brantford in our quest for further trillium.

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Old Man Yelling At Clouds rant warning:

Being old sucks. I am 50, turning 51 in November. I also happen to be better at curling than I was at 40, 30 or 20. I am smarter. I know what not to do. I like to think I have accumulated a bit of wisdom. But everyone seems to think that I am too old to curl competitively, unless in seniors.

The game is definitely younger. I remember growing up in the game and holding the older guys in absolute reverence. Russ Howard, Ed Werenich, Pierre Charette. As these guys got older, they seemingly got wiser and better. But today we seem obsessed with youth in the competitive game. We have created U25 as a new category, so that we can nurture young developing teams, sparing them the hardship of having to learn the game from an older skip. In Ontario, the land of the Trillium, they have granted a highly coveted spot at the adult provincials to a U25 team.

I think this is some ageist bullshit.

Curling Canada

Curling Canada

If a U25 team is good, they should be able to earn their way there. Ontario features a number of outstanding young teams, who I believe would likely make it anyway, without having to have a U25 spot handed to them. And if they’re not good enough, then maybe they should look for some veteran experience to make themselves better!

One of the most amazing things about curling is that it’s a sport where you can find a way to be competitive at any age. To me, the fact that older, wiser skips could still be competitive and use guile and finesse to out-duel a young, power-hitting fresh-outta-juniors team was always one of the charms of the game, and made for great storylines. Gushue tapping into Russ Howard’s wisdom to win the 2006 Olympics was the stuff of legend. It’s a good thing Gushue wasn’t encouraged to keep his U25 team back then!

I’m finding the same thing is happening in the workplace. Our obsession with finding the new generation of talent leads us to abandon fair evaluation in favor of developing youth.

This always seems inconsistent in a society that portends to be a meritocracy. If younger is better, then they need only prove it by being better.

Being old already sucks. Can we stop trying to fix our system to give more advantage to the young? I mean, they already have better health, stamina and the ability to play a three-game day without needing a nap. Do we have make up new rules and tours to make it even easier for them?

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A virtual cheers to Brier competitor Jamie Brennan, who sadly passed away last week, and on the same day as his father, Bob. A truly sad day for New Brunswick curling; Jamie was a competitor, and a genuinely nice guy that I greatly enjoyed the pleasure of playing against. Damn.