Every time I see this trophy, I remember one of my most cherished curling related memories, which was mentioned when I received it.
It’s not just the victories and accolades that are remembered but the touching moments that can last a lifetime.
In 2005-6, I was the parent coach of the St Thomas Aquinas (London, Ontario) high school curling teams. The league games were held at the Highland Country Club. Each team was required to have four players because if the team won the league, they would advance to the regional level where four players was a strictly enforced rule. During league play the local league allowed competition with three players on occasion.
That year, the boys’ team had four players. The girls’ team also had four players. One of these players was Karly, a young lady with a mental disability. Karly had never curled before. The girls had Karly deliver her rocks, and then hold the broom in the house for the next six rocks. They had a decent season, having fun whether winning or losing.
At STA high school, there were two trophies to be awarded among the eight curlers each year. A Most Valuable Player (MVP) and a Most Inspirational Player (MIP). During that season I often heard comments from parents and coaches mentioning Karly. After consultation with my assistant coach, we decided to award the MIP trophy to Karly as she was truly an inspiration.
At STA, there is an athletic awards night for all sports at the end of the school year, where each recipient is recognized on stage. It is a packed event with full teams often attending along with parents. Invitations are sent out to all team members.
A few days before the event, I phoned Karly’s mom to see if she and her daughter would be attending awards night. She told me that no, they weren’t planning on being there. All I said to her then, was that I thought that it might be a really good idea to attend.
At which all I could hear on the phone was the sound of Karly’s mom softly crying.
Awards night was a resounding success. When Karly received her MIP award there was a spontaneous standing ovation.