Rebecca Kohl: Better than snow angels
Grand Lake, CO Colorado
I have heated water in a teapot in order to make tea, but never, ever, have I lowered myself to my knees, slid a cast iron teapot across the ice toward a painted circle, with the intent of scoring points.
There I was with my team, dressed up in our Wizard of Oz Poppy costumes I had worked so hard on the day before with Tonya Bina, ready to face our opponents in The Grand Lake Winter Carnival, Teapot Curling Contest.
Our opponents – dressed in coonskin caps, green wigs and mini-skirts, witches’ garb, T-shirts reading “Trophy Husbands” and some teams looking, well, just normal – were intimidating.
My team decided I would go first.
I was told by Drew, my boss, and Byron, our photographer, that my first delivery was a great shot. The teapot landed close to the center of the circle and blocked our opponent.
The game continued, and with my inherent competitive spirit, I was getting more into it. I even found myself close to the west sideline doing a cheer of “Pushem’ back.”
Winning the first game added to the excitement, and before I knew it we were 3-0. This wasn’t just fun and laughter (which it was) – we could win this thing!
Game four we lost by one point, but it was double elimination so we still had a shot at the trophy.
I was so consumed, I took a moment to text a friend and told him, “Get up here, this is a blast.”
The ice was tricky, because throwing one direction the ice was slow, but throwing the other direction the ice was extremely fast. On one round, almost everyone playing over-shot the circle and the teapots all landed on the opposite snow bank.
In the meantime, my skill was improving, my layers of warm clothing were paying off, and our sewing skills were paying off also – the team’s Poppy costumes were holding up.
We were in the Final Four!
A technicality was about to change our fate. “The Brady Bunch” team, who would be our next opponent, had to default. Two of their players were up for Queen and King of the Festival and had to leave in order to be in the parade. (Does this happen in the Olympics?)
That left us, the Sky-Hi News Poppies, with a bye for the Final Four, and automatically put us in the Final.
We waited for our next opponent, which ended up being the Trophy Husbands.
We were starting to feel our nerves. I still had no idea how to score, I just waited for Byron and Drew to tell me where to slide the teapot. We had been playing for almost 2 hours by now and getting up and down from the ice was taking a toll on my knees and back.
It came down to the wire against the Trophy Husbands. Taking them out proved tougher than we thought, even though we had beaten them in a previous game. I even attempted tackling one of them calling it “Teapot Tackling.” That didn’t help. We ended up in sudden death.
We seemed to gel as a team. I was the lead off (that might be baseball talk) for the set -up, Tonya followed me with the block, Drew took out the opponents, and Byron was last for the clean-up. And boy did he!
After the first end the Trophy Husbands were up 3-0. It wasn’t looking good. I thought for sure it was over. We only had one round left to do something. It was truly an ESPN highlight moment.
The Poppies had 3 teapots within the outer circle. The Trophy Husbands had one pot closest to the center. Almost all of the other teapots were blocking the center circle. It came down to the last delivery.
Byron Hetzler slid the last pot of the championship game, through a tiny window of about 10 inches, past all of the teapots blocking the circle, knocked the opponent’s teapot out of the center circle, and landed his teapot in the center. For a total score of 4 points.
We won the Championship 4-3.
When people would ask me, “Why do you live up here if you don’t ski?’ My answer would always be, “I am great at making snow angels.”
Now I will tell them, “I play Teapot Curling.”
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