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Cherished Game With Mom

Barb Shortreed

February 10, 2023

My mother, Dorothy Shortreed, was an avid and passionate curler in the 1960’s and 1970’s in Calgary, Alberta. She entered many bonspiels and play downs, and often I had a babysitter for when she was out on the ice. She curled out of the Calgary Winter Club, but often she played in competitions at the Big 4 Building at the Calgary Stampede Fairgrounds. It was there, at the Big 4, where they had 24 sheets on the top level and 24 sheets on the bottom level. Push brooms were not on the radar yet and the sound from the corn brooms and rinkrats was deafening. Mom often spoke of her amazement at the sound and atmosphere every time she walked in those doors. Often in these bonspiels there were over 140 rinks in the field. The pinnacle for her curling career was winning several Alberta Zone Championships, Southern Alberta Ladies Curling Association (SALCA) Championship in 1970, the Senior SALCA Championship in 1977, and the Gold medal in the 1978 Alberta Winter Games in Medicine Hat. She was so proud of these and us of her.
As a child, I spent many hours watching my mother curl. For me, at the age of 11, curling was for the older generation and it was strictly a spectator sport. It wasn’t until I was 47, and finding spare time from careers and family rearing responsibilities, that my husband and I finally took up curling. Realizing the true challenge and love of the game, I soon came to realize that after all these years I never got to share this curling experience with my mother, a sport that was so much a part of her life. She and my father had retired to the Vancouver Island and the opportunity never arose. Finally in February 2008, my 86 year old mother and I had the opportunity to enter into a local bonspiel in Saanich, BC. It was a chance to really enjoy something that we both loved, together, and it was a chance of a lifetime. In the end, we were so close to winning, but of course that wasn’t the real purpose of it all!
Now as I look back, curling that one time with my mother was one of the most cherished times I had with her. Sadly, this past October 2022, my mother passed away at the age of 99, 1 month short of her 100th birthday. She had curled until age 95. Her dearest friends are curlers and she never failed to keep in touch with them. Curling is so much more than a game.