Sweep! Sweep! Hard! Harder!
These familiar words echo throughout the curling rink with all levels of intensity.
I must admit that I am one of those skips that shout rather loud instructions to his teammates.
My loud voice, a result of a number of years spent straining to hear my mild mannered skips instructions over the shouts from adjoining sheets and rink rats pounding the ice.
I always tell new curlers not to take my shouting personal, that it is meant only to guide and encourage them.
One year I learned that a skips shouts meant more then just directions to some curlers.
That fall, as we began a new curling season, I realized that Ken, an avid curler who had curled with me a number of times had not signed up to curl.
Upon discovering he was fighting a life threatening battle with cancer, his curling companions stepped up to support him in any way that they could.
It was a year long battle but one night, when the curling season was almost over a frail Ken came into the club and sat down behind the glass.
I was at the far end of the rink giving my usual vocal instructions to my team.
Ken came through the door, stood on the back boards and watched and listened.
After a few minutes a smile came over his face, he gave a big thumbs up and went back inside and sat down.
Later that evening Ken spoke, ” I really appreciated the everyone’s support from the curling club.”
Recalling the sights, sounds and good friends from the curling rink helped me through my struggles.
The images in my mind of you shouting “hard and harder” spurred me on in my battle with cancer.
I felt you were there encouraging me to fight hard and harder and not give up.
When I stepped out onto the ice and heard your voice hollering hard and harder it felt so good.
I was back!
I reached my goal!
I had won my battle!
A most memorable evening at the Sutton curling Club.
Curling a game that helps you deal with the challenges of life.