There are things I do well. Pancakes: I’ve pretty much mastered the art of golden brown, not too thick, not too thin, just fluffy enough even if I used a box mix most of the time, breakfast food.

I’m also good at telling long stories that take a while to get to the punchline, mixing up cocktails, and making sure there are appetizers at gatherings, major or impromptu. There must be a few more things for this list, but you know, I don’t want to brag.

Anyway, yeah, I’m good at some things, but being a valuable member of my curling team is not one of them. Unless you consider “valuable” to be sarcasm, complaining about why sports take so long and playing so bad that it makes you feel better about your skills. Under those criteria, I’m a true contributor.

But that doesn’t stop me from leaving the kids with grams and gramps every Wednesday evening so my husband and I can actually do something together without them. I would prefer that “something” to be margaritas and street tacos at the cool new restaurant in town, but he chose being on a curling team together. And because that can also include margaritas (in a can) and full control of the playlist on our drive to town, I agreed.

When you’re the parents of young children, time in the car alone together without listening to the "Frozen 2" soundtrack is a gift — one that, if you’re not careful, may have you considering adding another child to the mix. That notion, however, lasts about as long as it takes you to step back into the house to find the children eating Girl Scout Cookies and watching Jimmy Kimmel with Grandma Beth.

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Anyway, sleep-deprived children are a small sacrifice to make in order to be a part of one of history’s oldest team sports, popular in Canada and the northern states because sweatpants and wool caps (or tuque, if you’re proper curling material) seem to be part of the official uniform. And (GASP! get this), politeness is encouraged.

Winning teams are known for buying losing teams a round of drinks after the games, even and especially at the highest level of competition. How very Canadian of them.

Once, my husband won a bonspiel. (Bonspiel is curling for tournament). And he got a trophy featuring a little curling man on the top with a bomb '70s-style shag haircut.

Once, my husband won a bonspiel. (Bonspiel is curling for tournament). And he got a trophy featuring a little curling man on the top with a bomb '70s-style shag haircut. Jessie Veeder / The Forum
Once, my husband won a bonspiel. (Bonspiel is curling for tournament). And he got a trophy featuring a little curling man on the top with a bomb '70s-style shag haircut. Jessie Veeder / The Forum

And for some reason that trophy wound up in our master bathroom, and I have no explanation for that and also no real drive to move it. Perhaps it’s a little motivation for my husband’s early morning teeth brushing session. Like, “Welcome to the day! The sky’s the limit! You won a small-town curling bonspiel three years ago and that means you can really do anything! Even pull off that haircut if you wanted to. Or let the mustache stand alone without the help of the beard. Go ahead. Be bold.”

This weekend, we’re going to participate in a bonspiel in a neighboring town. I’m going to be on a team and so I took that as a good enough reason to go shopping for some new cute cold weather gear, because if I can’t convince them with my skill, maybe I can distract them with a neat sweatshirt I got on sale at Target.

It’s going to be so romantic. We might even do karaoke after, but only if we secure enough losses to be properly hydrated by the opposite teams.

And if you use that as a qualifier for a valuable teammate, well then, Red Rover, Red Rover, send Jessie right over.

Peace, Love and Slippery Shoes,

Your friend in team sports

Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband and daughters on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. She blogs at https://veederranch.com. Readers can reach her at jessieveeder@gmail.com.