This morning I looked at baby names.
Not because I or we (or anyone we know) is in imminent need of one. No, I did it because it’s curling season.
(That actually makes sense but it’ll require a little explanation. Well, maybe more than a little.)
As I said, it’s curling season. At the club where we (Ms. Rose and I) curl, there is ‘normally’ an opening bonspiel. (I’ve talked a bit about bonspiels here but the Wikipedia page deals with most of the important points. Unlike me — I tend to ramble on and on about irrelevant minutiae and whine.) The opening bonspiel is several things: it’s an opportunity to get in a little practice and work out some kinks before league play starts (you’re always unbelievably stiff the day after your first game), it’s a social occasion (all bonspiels are to some extent), and it’s a ‘meet and greet’ event that can (for example) introduce new members (curling clubs, like all organizations with people in them, can be a little cliquey).
Because of that last point, teams are often (including this year) put together by the bonspiel organizer(s) (that’s how I wound up playing with Ms. Rose’s nephew that time). The organizers can also keep… difficult people away from impressionable, easily offended new members. (I was given a team with zero new members. Read into that what you will.) My team included a lady named after a luminous ball of plasma, a gentleman named after a king of Denmark and an (extremely) young lady named after a famous mathematician — but not one named Alfred.
The organizers this year were a pair of women (plus a small army of industrious volunteers). In keeping with my usual practice, I’ll refer to them with, um, let’s call them pseudonyms. That’s where the lists of baby names came in — if you’re gearing up for some serious character assassination, an appropriate name is, well, part of the process.
I came up empty. Nothing seemed right. (I never seem to have this problem with kiddiewinks. Heck, we had a young lady visiting with her parents on the weekend; I’ve called her Max since before she was born. It just seemed right, somehow. Of course, her mother may have a different opinion.)
While in the throes of despair (“What! Will I have to skip the character assassination? That will never do!”) I happened to flip back in the text file that I’m editing (I have this giant text file of everything I’ve ever posted.) and found….
Oh. That’ll do.
So one of the organizers (the one most relevant to the story; if I decide to expand it I’ll have to find another name) will be referred to as ‘Bellerose.’ (After all, any name with ‘Rose’ in it is a decent name and besides, it sounds a little like ‘bellicose’ which is relevant because my ‘relationship’ with the newly christened Ms. Bellerose is sometimes, um, ‘confrontational.’ In the interest of full disclosure, my relationships with most people are sometimes ‘confrontational.’ It’s a constant source of amazement to me how many ‘confrontational’ people there are out there.)
Anyway, the bonspiel happened. My team played well; I managed not to hurt myself, to make a few routine shots and not spill too much of my lunch on myself. (Playing well is hard. Not spilling to excess is, however, an attainable goal. It’s good to set attainable goals.) And, to make a long story short, we won all of our games and we were summoned up to be presented the trophy for second place.
My first thought was `Huh?` My second thought was ‘WOO HOO!’ My third thought was ‘Hey, it’s the naked lady!’
I’ve talked before (‘Speechifying’) about this trophy. I find it extremely entertaining that there’s a trophy for second place (you don’t see that very often) and that it’s larger and more baroque than the trophy for first place. Also, most trophies are pretty much the same: the cup, the plaque, the triumphant figure. Curling trophies are no exception: they’re often the curler, the broom, the rock. Things like that.
This trophy has some of these elements, most prominently the triumphant figure — two, even. One of them is comparatively conventional, a fairly standard (as such things go) triumphant figure. The other, though, is a half-naked female straddling a globe (prominently engraved with the word ‘GLORY’ — because finishing second is all about the glory) and flourishing a plaque that proudly exclaims “Not the best!”
It’s completely over the top and it’s the best damn’ trophy in the club. I was tickled pink to win it and I said as much when Ms. Bellerose presented it to me. Hands were shaken, players were introduced, photos were taken. Then because of that ‘confrontational’ thing I mentioned, I said that the half-naked girl on the globe clearly needed a name. “Oh?” said Ms. Bellerose. “What’s her name?”
“Bellerose” I said.
Ms. Bellerose wasn’t amused. At all.
Because of all this — the victories, the trophy, the not-entirely-but-almost stain-free clothing — I was walking on air. That lasted long enough to drive to Brockville and watch famous people (well, in certain circles) curl.
We typically pay a visit to that bonspiel every year. It’s not that far away, the games are good, the teams are excellent and the admission is cheap. Plus you get the occasional “Brush with greatness.” This year I had two.
After watching one game I wandered off to ‘the necessary’ where I found (wonder of wonders) a lineup. After all, the event takes place in the curling club (which is also a golf and country club) and, while the clubhouse is good-sized, the, um, ‘facilities’ weren’t really built with crowds of several hundred in mind. There were several people in line with me. One of them was a three-time world champion.
We did not, of course, speak.
After not making eye contact with Dave, it was back to the incredibly uncomfortable bleachers for the next game(s). It was getting a little late in the evening but I was still occasionally giggling, still happy about winning the naked lady. That’s when I looked beside me. To my immediate right there was an accountant. Past her was the current reigning world champion. Eating pizza and not spilling it all over himself. I came down to earth with a rude crash.