When I heard Heather Nedohin and her team from the Sherwood Park Curling Club had gotten the first ever Champions Cup, I knew I had to volunteer. I tweeted at various people and eventually was sent a link to fill out the volunteer form online. I couldn't attend any pre event volunteer rallys to size a jacket or anything. I got the impression most of the volunteers were coming from the curling club, as everything was done there pre-event, though the actual event took place at a local arena.
TV production bench. Always nice to be back working on the bench!
The volunteer orientation was quite disorganized. There was pizza and some people talked, but they didn't have a microphone so I barely heard anything. And they made the mistake of asking if anyone had questions (don't ever ask 200 people if they have questions, that's just asking for trouble). An hour later, they finally talked about volunteer parking. And that's it. I learned nothing about my jobs or anything else really. Interesting.
The next day I attended training to learn how to be a statistician (I had 3 stats shifts). We were handed out a manual, and talked to for a couple hours. I'd always assumed the statisticians were trained officials. But at the slams, 2 hours of training and we were good to go. Terrified actually. That night we were emailed the manual and a cheat sheet. Apparently the SportsNet stats guy had sent them to the organising committee to send to us, but no one had passed it on, which highlights an interesting lack of communication due to the lack of a volunteer team structure. It would have been really really really helpful to have that manual more than 24hrs before the event so we could read it and learn. Interesting.
Statistician training: learning during the calm before the storm.
The next day I attended a 30 minute training session for scorekeeping (1 shift) and timekeeping (5 shifts). Though I was terrified to be a statistician, scoreboard and time clocks seemed to be easier. Keep in mind here that I had at this point driven 45 minutes in rush hour to the arena three days in a row and the event hadn't even started yet. That's three 90 minute driving sessions pre event. This made me quite cranky. This organization can only be described as...interesting.
Finally the event started. The first day I did stats for 2 draws. It was...difficult. There were like 10 variables to check off in the computer program for each shot. Each shot. And I had to score both teams. And they curl quickly. It certainly was an experience. I've always wondered if I could do stats, so this opportunity was useful because it proved to me I can't do stats. I mean, I did an ok job, learned some new skills, met some nice people, but stats is not for me. I liked the challenge, but it was just too challenging. I think being a curling statistician is a fantastic job for a skip. I am not a skip. I know curling, I watch curling, but I don't KNOW curling. For one of my shifts, a former skip of mine helped me out and I learned a lot from that too. Lot's of learning on the stats bench that first day!
My third shift was on time keeping. This was more my speed. I had to pay a lot of attention, but it was super fun to be down at ice level in the midst of the action. I did find that it got a bit boring after awhile and quite repetitive, but it was definitely an ok job.
The next day I woke up with a raging head cold and a bit of a fever. Good thing I was sitting at ice level for my only score keeping shift! Score keeping was, well kind of boring. I got to watch a lot of curling though! And do math. Mostly I was worried about getting the math wrong. But score keeping was a decent job, despite the freezing toes.
Nice view from the scorekeeper's chair!
I finished the event doing a bunch of time keeping shifts. Cold toes, but fun.
Not a bad view eh?
*Curling Canada runs the TSN events, and I have a long standing relationship with their team. I consider them my people and enjoy hanging out with them a couple times a year. Some I consider colleagues, and some friends. I hope to continue to work with them all for many years to come, and am indeed a Director for an event next year. The Grand Slam of Curling people run the SportsNet events. I've never attended one as they've never been local.