Sunday, September 5, 2010

My kind of sport

Yesterday (39 weeks and 1 day, for those of you counting) we went to the Amish Cheese Festival in Arthur, IL.  All kinds of fun, let me tell you.  For one thing, it was adorable listening to Benjamin say "cheese festival!" which sounds more like "cheese a bess a bull!" For another, there was cheese tasting.  My favorite flavor was named "friendly garlic." Also, there was delicious funnel cake.

eating delicious funnel cake

But the undisputed highlight of the festival was the 11th Annual International Cheese Curling Team Championships.  Allow me to emphasize that, being the only (to my knowledge) cheese curling event, this is the most prestigious of all cheese curling events in the world!

What happens is this: a team of four steps up.  Usually said team of four has a cheesy (pun intended) name.  The Cheese-its.  The Cheesettes. Winsleydale, The Cheese Slicers, Pretty Gouda, and so forth.  Our team name was Blue Cheese, since we were all coincidentally wearing blue.  Our whole team was coincidental, really.  It consisted of myself and Jacob, as well as our friends Joe Bair and Bill Evans.

looking like he's been sweeping cheese
his whole life
One team member is chosen as the sweeper.  On our team this was Jacob.  The other team members roll a four pound stone of Baby Swiss down the tarp field toward the target.  The sweeper does anything he can to get the cheese on the bullseye at the end.  Each curler gets one practice roll and one roll for points.  The bullseye is worth four, and there are rings worth three, two, and one points.  This makes the highest possible score 12 points, and the low score could be 0, if the target was never reached.

For participation, each team gets to keep their stone -- roughly a pound of baby swiss per person!  We almost didn't participate, but as we watched the other competitors, who varied widely in skill and in the punniness of their team names, we figured, "hey, free cheese!" (and also "what a great story, if this put me into labor!") and signed up.  Since we signed up mid-competition, we were the last team on the roster.

Two teams were tied at 11 points before team Blue Cheese took the field.

I rolled first, for practice.  My roll was too hard and the broom was too soft. It rolled right through the target and beyond.  Joe rolled second, and Jacob was able to sweep it over into the three point section (but it was just practice).  Bill was our anchor, and his roll went wide, hit the boundary, and never even made it to Jacob. Things were not looking good for Blue Cheese.

I stepped up to the line again, and sent the cheese flying with a nice follow-through.
just look at that form!

It headed straight for the bullseye and Jacob smacked it down for four points!  Joe sent another one nice and easy down the middle, and Jacob brought our total to 8 points!  In the meantime, Bill's two kids who had been standing next to us decided to head back to their mom -- causing a break in concentration on the team.  Where are the kids? Where is Bill?  Okay, here we go again.  The official stopped Bill saying, "Did you roll, before?"  He wanted to make sure we weren't pulling in a different team member.  Once Bill was cleared, he curled straight and true.  Jacob nudged the cheese over as it passed into the bullseye, and we had a perfect 12!

Team Blue Cheese (plus a few)
We are the International Cheese Curling Team Champions for 2010!  For winning, we each got a stone of swiss to take home, as well as a Cheese Festival T-shirt.  A local media man took our picture for the paper, and has promised to mail us a copy of it.

Since I figured our little family didn't need eight pounds of Guggisberg baby swiss (four will do, thanks!) we gave our second wheel to some friends who got lost on the way and arrived just after we'd won.  We finished the day with a picnic in the park, and unfortunately, winning my title hasn't put me into labor.  

Now I'd like to make a little speech, if that's okay.

Thank you, friends, for celebrating my success with me.  Winning this championship was one of those things I never knew I always wanted.  If you have any good recipes that involve swiss cheese, please, for the love of cheese, send them my way.


Variety said...

This story has made my day. I wish I could see the newspaper article. As for recipes, the only things I do with swiss cheese are ham and swiss sandwiches (good hot or cold), and chicken cordon bleu. Don't have a recipe, but can explain how to make if you need.

And sorry it didn't send you into labor.


Celisa said...

Woo hoo cheese-curling champions!

Aislin said...


Ashley said...

You absolutely crack me up. Love your post.

Cami said...

Hooray! and a second Hooray! for Jacob the anchor man (or broom guy, whatever). I like the 24 hour salad recipie with swiss cheese.

Anonymous said...

What about your yummy cheese ball? How about you send me a copy of that recipe.

tweedlediva said...

Make fondue. I tried going into labor the exact same way at the cheese festival 4 years ago. Ahh memories.

Leila said...

That is FANTASTIC! Congratulations! The chicken cordon bleu casserole in the Stewart family cookbook is really good. I made that when I accidentally bought Swiss cheese instead of mozzarella.

And apparently the cheese festival helped a little, since Levi is here! Congratulations! Cora's long term as youngest grandchild is over.

clare said...

hahaha! perhaps it is your abounding love for all cheese that sent cheese karma your way for the victory.... cheese spread, string cheese, block cheese, fake cheese, cream cheese.