An eight-ender. It’s almost as rare as a meteor falling from the Russian sky. No one ever sees it coming, and it’s not something you plan for.
At the Canada Post Cash Spiel earlier this month, the Charleswood Curling Club team of skip Claude Lemay, third Gary Vansickle, second Art Shorey and lead Glenn Lelyk posted a snowman on the scoreboard in a round robin game.
"We’re all seniors except for Glenn, and this is something that none of us had ever seen before," said Vansickle, who lives in Charleswood. "No one even recalled even being in the same rink when one was scored. It was quite interesting when all of a sudden we realized we had it."
Vansickle, 63, has been curling recreationally for 45 years. The eight-ender came against another team that plays in Charleswood’s Thursday night men’s league, and as you would expect in a social sport like curling, there were no hard feelings.
"Their third was the one taking the pictures," laughed Vansickle.
As is the case with most eight-enders, the idea of making every stone count didn’t materialize until the skips’ turns. The team was laying six when Lemay threw his first rock of the third end. He was trying to block the path for the opposing skip, but his rock overcurled.
When the opposition’s attempted draw came up a little short, Lemay found himself with a draw to score eight.
"For all of us, we’ve been in a lot of bonspiels, some high-level ones, but this was probably the highlight for us," Vansickle said.
For those contemplating whether it would be preferable to make a hole-in-one or score an eight-ender, here’s some valuable information: instead of being forced to buy drinks for everyone present, Lemay’s rink was on the receiving end at the bar after the game.
"We had lots of people buying us drinks," Vansickle said. "It was something that everyone was excited about."
Last week, about 10 days after the eight-ender, the team received badges from Curl Manitoba to commemorate its achievement. Meanwhile, a pin and certificate from the Canadian Curling Association are on their way.
As if an eight-ender wasn’t enough to celebrate for the foursome, they went on to win the bonspiel and its $160 first prize.
"It was a pretty good weekend all around," Vansickle said.