November 30, 2023

“We’ll stroll off the ice, and so they’ll go, ‘Why did you play that shot?’” Mr. Sargon, 30, stated.

They nitpick as a result of they care. That turned clear to Mr. Sargon a couple of weeks in the past when he joined Mr. Hood at a curling event in Okotoks, about 25 miles south of Calgary. As quickly as their match started, Mr. Sargon and Mr. Hood realized that that they had their very own fan membership. Fourteen residents, armed with bag lunches and selfmade indicators, had made the journey through constitution bus to cheer them on in a loss to a staff led by Mike McEwen, one of many high curlers in Canada.

“They placed on an excellent present,” stated Linda Smith, 74, who had a front-row seat. “I imply, Mike McEwen may’ve actually whipped them.”

On a latest weekday morning, the New Zealanders piled into their official automobile, a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan with greater than 98,000 kilometers on the odometer, for the quick drive over to the curling membership for a follow session. Mr. Hood, the staff’s skip, or captain, received behind the wheel.

After some mild stretching, the staff took the ice carrying matching sweatshirts that learn, “Crew Hood: A Bunch of Kiwis Making an attempt to Fly.” Greeted by a collection of Nineteen Eighties energy ballads that blared from the membership’s audio system, they started to work on their throws.

For these unfamiliar: Curling is a winter sport that entails pushing heavy granite rocks down an extended sheet of ice towards a goal. And whereas it’s massively in style in Canada, curling does have some historic ties to New Zealand. Miners from Scotland introduced an outside model of the sport with them to the nation through the gold rush of the nineteenth century, and it has continued as a well-liked exercise at any time when the ponds on New Zealand’s South Island are chilly sufficient to type a thick slab of ice on the floor.

“It’s extra of a standard sport,” Mr. Hood stated. “There’s a little bit of consuming. The skips are grumpier.”

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