The English are coming!
Last year, I convened our curling club’s first Adult Learn to Curl programme. We had a very successful session, so decided to follow up with a a rookie league for our new curlers and then finish off with a Rookie Bonspiel.
We advertised to other clubs in our area, put a flyer on the OCA website, then waited to see who responded. To our surprise, our little club ended up having an International Bonspiel. In addition to a good contingent of home curlers and a couple of teams from nearby clubs, I received a call from a fellow from England who wondered if he and three of his colleagues could come to our spiel and give Curling a try.
The four of them travel all over the world for business and like to try some local activity wherever they go. For example, last year they went to the camel races in Dubai. They thought hockey was a bit of a long shot, but curling might be fun. They saw our ad on the OCA website, so gave me a call. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical that they would actually show up, but out to Brighton (Ont.) they came!
They had never set foot on ice, and knew nothing about the game. We got them set up with brooms, grippers and sliders and one of our ALTC instructors gave them a crash course in curling in the half hour before the first game, and took them under her wing for the day.
They were four of the nicest, most personable guys that I have ever met, and they totally embraced the game and the event. They lost their first game, though all things considered, made quite a reasonable showing. They really held their own in their second game, and in the last end, their skip had to make a draw to the 4 foot to score two points for the win.
The whole Bonspiel was out on the ice to cheer him on. When he made his shot and won, well, you would have thought they had just won the Olympic gold medal! They didn’t win the bonspiel, but they didn’t come last and we all had a great day because of them. They came as strangers, but they left as friends, with promises that we would get together again. Curling is like that-it brings people together, and that’s why I love it!