Back in the day, my husband and I used to run the under 13 junior curling program for our club in Prince Edward Island. My husband was so good with the kids on the ice, and I did the organizing and used to help the curling Moms and Dads cope with being on the other side of the glass. It was nearing the end of the first year, and teams were starting to form for the end of year tournaments.

We had a motivated an very able threesome of nice girls, aged 9, 10 and 11, with no comparable girls in that age range to make up a foursome. I approached the mother of a very talented 7-year-old and sounded her out on her willingness to allow her daughter to form a team with the older girls. Mom was all for it, so I made an approach to the older girls and they too were all for it. It was so lovely to watch them shyly approach the quiet and much smaller 7 year old and ask her to join them. And suddenly they were all jumping together in a joyful group hug, and the 7 year olds mother came up to me and said thank you for making that happen, if it hadn’t, curling was losing her to hockey.

That group hug turned out to be the first of many, jumping for joy as they went on to win Provincial Championships together, always having to play in the age group of the oldest member of the team, not easy. I met Mom a couple of years later at one such Provincial Championship, and she said her daughters team, which by then had to play in the under 16s, was having to play at 9pm; when her 9 year old daughters bedtime was 7:30 back then!

We’ve been out of curling for quite a while, so it brought tears to my eyes when I recently learned that the 7 year old is now 21 and is a 2020 Junior Canadian and World Curling Champion! And giving so much back to the sport of curling. That young woman’s name is Lauren Lenentine. We are so proud of her.

It makes me realize that the effort we put in really matters, and don’t be shy or it might not!