Curling Club Column DECEMBER 17/10
By: Kim Kirkham
Origin of the word “Bonspiel”
A bonspiel is a match or tournament between curling clubs consisting of a competition comprised of a number of different events often played over a weekend. In Scotland, and increasingly in Canada, the word is shortened by curlers to spiel A bonspiel is a curling tournament
Scots for league match, this is the term used for a curling tournament. Compare spiel.
Although Bonspiels originated in Scotland, the most notable tournament in the world nowadays is The Brier, the Canadian Men’s Curling Championship. For Canadians, this tournament equals or nearly equals the importance of the Olympics and the World Curling Championship.
The origin of the word is primarily Gaelic which originated in Central Europe in the 5th Century B.C.
Since Curling is believed to have originated in Scotland, it’s likely that Bonspiel is a modern adaptation of the Scottish Gaelic words: “Bonn”(coin)  and “Spéil”(skate) meaning “Coin Skate” or “Cornerstone Skate”(archaic definition).
However, “Spiel” may also have been used to mean “Game” as it is in other European languages influenced by Gaelic origins. In that case, the Scots prior to the known 15th Century history of the game may have intended the word (or words) to mean “Bonn Spiel” or “Cornerstone Game”.
The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.
Over time a cornerstone became a ceremonial masonry stone, or replica, set in a prominent location on the outside of a building, with an inscription on the stone indicating the construction dates of the building and the names of architect, builder and other significant individuals. The rite of laying a cornerstone is an important cultural component of eastern architecture and metaphorically in sacred architecture generally.
A bonspiel is a match or tournament between curling clubs consisting of a competition comprised of a number of different events often played over a weekend. In Scotland, and increasingly in Canada, the word is shortened by curlers to spiel.
A Dutch term bond spel ‘league game’ has been in print since 1772. In Middle Dutch a bont was a group of people bound (bonded) into a league. Or, as a source, you may side with bonespel, a West Flemish children’s game. But bonspiel first appears in print in Scotland during the middle of the 16th century. So the origin may lie hidden, forever overgrown in the heathery waysides of Scottish linguistic history.
But there is no doubt of bonspiel’s Germanic word relatives. The spel root is perhaps more familiar to English speakers in its German form of das Spiel ‘the game’ and its verb spielen ‘to play’ and its agent noun der Spieler ‘the player.’ English has borrowed words like glockenspiel ‘bell-play,’ an instrument in which little bells suspended from a frame are struck by hammers. From German through Yiddish, spiel meaning a rapid-fire sales pitch came into English.
All are relatives of the English word spell ‘a magical charm spoken to put someone under the power of another,’ hence the original meaning of spellbound, an adjective where the roots of bonspiel are reversed, so to speak. A spell was a very special something spoken. In Middle English spell meant speech, talk, tale, as it did in Old English. Spell is related to Old High German spel ‘tale’ and to Old Norse spjall ‘story’ and to Gothic spill ‘talk.’
Around the house
Our annual member and friends “Christmas Open House” is Saturday Dec 18th.
Ken Lauzon from The Black Iron Grill and Steakhouse will be carving up some of his famous Baron of Beef. Dinner 6-8 p.m. Turkey Shoot 6 & 7 p.m. Music by: Uncorked.
Advance Tickets: $15.00 at the door $17.00
The Curling Club is putting on the Ritz on New Year Eve. DJ Shylo will be rocking out the tunes. Spot dances and door prizes, party favours. Appies at 10:30 Advance tickets: $30.00 at the door $35.00
Some Dates to Remember
Senior Men’s Bonspiel Jan 3, 4 & 5, 2011
Men’s Tin Cup Open Bonspiel January 21-23, 2011
Master’s 60+ Regional Play downs January 29-30, 2011
Junior Bonspiel February 5, 2011
Mixed Inter-regional Play downs Feb 19-20, 2011
(Zone 3, 4 & 7)