Scottish Curler Editor Bob Cowan has long campaigned to bring more colour on to the ice. "Why do so many top curlers persist in dressing as if they are going to a funeral?" he asks. "Curling is a colourful game," he says, "We should think about this when going on to the ice, and dress appropriately." Some on the RCCC Board obviously agree and are prepared to regulate to make it happen.
The proposed regulations would ban competitive curlers from wearing all black, or navy, uniforms, and if passed, the sea of black at the men's Scottish Championship qualifiers and finals would ebb.
Not all agree. Lockhart Steele, former World Senior Champion and RCCC Director, recently bought new black outfits for the Keith Prentice team. He says, "Black is an aggressive colour, and we need to be able to intimidate the other teams if we are to have any chance of winning games next season."
The RCCC Umpiring Committee has discussed the matter, the difficulty arising should teams refuse to obey the dress code edict when it is introduced. What sanction against the offending team could be imposed? Prevented from taking to the ice? Forfeit the game? International umpire Christine Shaw appears to have come up with a suitable compromise. She says, "It's easy. We will just ask the players to remove the offending garments, and if they want to continue in their underware, that's fine - as long as this is not too black!"
Cynics on the Scottish Curling Forum believe that today's announcement by the Royal Club is just to divert attention away from the negative publicity surrounding last week's ongoings in Vernon. Some are actually calling for an independent enquiry into who decided to propose these new rule changes, which, incidentally, will not apply to club curlers, only those who play in RCCC Competitions.
Others of course, including Hoglinewamphray (whoever he is) and several anonymous posters, have embraced the proposals and are already discussing what the new international uniforms might be like. Submissions are being elicited on a website specially set up to promote the new ideas (www.wewantcolourfulcurling.co.uk). The most favoured suggestions seem to be based around the Lion Rampant flag colours, purple heather, or the 'Cairnie House' tartan.
However, proposals for discussion at next week's World Curling Federation meetings in Grand Forks may make all the above redundant. The suggestion has been made to do away with 'dark coloured' stone handles completely. This would mean that there would be no need for international teams to have a 'dark coloured' playing uniform.
There are even suggestions that the World Curling body would supply the uniforms for teams to wear during international events. These would match handle colours. Next season, Eye on the Hog handles are to be available in pink, terracotta, aquamarine, puce, fluorescent green, beige, purple, grey, khaki, avocado, plum, orange, blueberry, raspberry, rhubarb, cherry, dark chocolate, mint, strawberry ripple, neopolitan, rocky road, butterscotch, and plain vanilla, as well as the traditional red and yellow.
Another proposal to be discussed next week is that teams competing at world championships should be composed of three players only. This will get support from developing curling nations, primarily on cost grounds. It is rumoured that Scotland might support this radical change too.
Sources close to Curling Today have heard that the Royal Club's representatives to the WCF plan to vote in favour of something.
Nearer home, David Horne, Development Officer at Braehead, writes to say that he has just received a quantity of 'curling patches' which have only recently been patented by a Canadian company. The basic principal works the same as smoking patches but curbs the appetite for curling (rather than smoking) and helps even the most ardent curler to get through the long summer months without curling.
David has these for sale at £5.00 for a pack of three patches (each patch should last for up to seven days) or a large pack of ten for only £12.00. However, due to expected demand he will only issue a maximum of two large packs to each applicant. All applications along with cheques should be sent to David Horne at Braehead Curling Rink.
Packets of three, enough for a weekend, are available in black only.
Posted April 1, 2008.