–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

L-R: Matt Smith, Patty Warner, Scott Piroth and Martha Mazzarella represent the Bowling Green Curling Club in a recent bonspiel or curling tournament in Estonia.

A local Sylvania business owner had the opportunity to share his passion for curling in Tallinn, Estonia. Matt Smith, co-owner of The Sodbuster Bar in Haymarket Square, was invited to join three others from the Bowling Green Curling Club to compete in the White Nights Bonspiel.

Having curled in Iceland four years ago, it was no surprise to Smith when his skip, Scott Piroth, asked him to join him in a bonspiel, a curling tournament. What was a surprise was when Piroth asked, “How do you feel about going to Estonia?”

Piroth, a professor at Bowling Green State University, was planning a trip to Russia and Finland and decided to see if there were any bonspiels during his trip. It turned out the country of Estonia was planning just that.

“I honestly had to look up where Estonia was on a map,” Smith said. “I knew it was a former Soviet Block country, but that was about it,” he said. “Once I was asked, I made sure I went on this trip.”

Smith and Piroth were joined by Patty Warner of Guelph, Ontario, who currently lives in Perrysburg and works for Owens Corning, and Martha Mazzarella, a retired professor from BGSU.

Each member of the team took his or her own path there and they all converged on the city of Tallinn on May 23. “Tallinn is an incredible place to visit,” Smith noted. “We hit London, Paris, Hamburg and Helsinki on the trip, but Tallinn was my favorite by far. The upper and lower towns of Toompea and All-linn were incredible to see. There were buildings we saw that are 800 or 900 years old and unscathed by the various wars.”

Curling began the afternoon of May 24 and continued through May 26. It did not take long for the team to figure out why the tournament was called the White Nights Bonspiel. “We were playing in a game around 11 p.m. local time,” Warner commented. “The sun was actually shining through the windows and I stopped and listened. You could hear people calling out in four or five different languages. That is when it hit me what I was doing,” she said.

Teams participated from Finland, Russia, Switzerland, Poland, and, of course, Estonia.

The Bowling Green Curling Club team did not fair too well, going 0 – 4. “We finished second place in every game we played,” Mazzarella offered.

In all fairness, though, the local team lost its first game to the team that just missed qualifying for the 2018 Winter Olympics.