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My Curling Life Story

Lesleigh Elgie

January 23, 2022


My curling story begins back when I was about 8 years old when my brother and I were introduced to the sport of curling. Through friends of my brother’s we were told about youth curling at the Brant Curling Club in Brantford, ON. And that’s where it all began. I curled all the way up from Little Rocks, Bantams/Juniors, and high school curling. I did not curl for my university, but continued to curl throughout my university years (just not as often and just for fun). As my university career was coming to an end I started to get back into league curling and in the 10 years that has passed I haven’t looked back. Though this time I’m curling at the other curling club in town, the Brantford Golf and Country Club. What’s so special about my curling experience one might ask – well I’m someone who uses a manual wheelchair though I do not wheelchair curl. Though I’ve been encouraged more and more to look into in recent years and plan on doing so soon in addition to my regular curling. When I play other positions than skip I need the assistance of someone to push me along the rock to sweep. It’s a real skill for the pusher to keep up to the rock, keep me close enough to the rock but not burn it either. As far as my delivery, I don’t use the stick (I’ve tried and haven’t found the knack to it) – I actually get down in the hack and throw from there. I don’t push out nearly as far (usually just to the back of the house… used to be able to get to the top of the house). So unlike normally it’s in my arm push/delivery rather than in the push from the legs. I’ve had a few lucky experiences throughout my years of curling. The first being introduced to Jo Ann Rizzo early into my time at the Brantford Golf and Country Club and asking her to join one of my 4-H curling club meetings where I shared my love for curling and taught the fundamentals of curling with other 4-H youth, to which I had a number of youth take up curling in their lives.The next would be in 2019 as 4-H leader/volunteer when Brad Gushue came to my home club the Brantford Golf and Country Club to a 4-H Ontario Spiel to speak to 4-H youth across Ontario who participated. Lastly, would be getting to attend my first Brier. Which, I know is a memorable event all on its own – but it’s where I got to meet Team Epping’s coach Jim Wilson who gave me his number to connect with him to meet up with the National Wheelchair Curling Coach. But unfortunately Covid hit and that has not happened as of yet. I was also lucky enough to watch some of the Mixed Doubles Trials in Brantford in December and had John Epping watch my game and compliment me on my game. What an honour that was. It’s hasn’t been all fun and games though. My final year of high school we won the local championship and moved on to OFSSA, which happened to be being hosted in town. It was the night before that our coach announced to us that my brother who was to be my pusher for me sweeping (played Vice) wouldn’t be allowed as it was putting our opponents at a disadvantage having another person on the ice. We had no practice to play in different roles, but we persevered and played the first two games Randy Ferby style where I threw lead rocks then went down to the other end of the ice to hold the broom while our Skip ran up and down the ice calling the game. We tried our best but lost. It was during our lunch that the coaches met and voted to allow my brother to push me in the final game. We played our best game aside from us being down on ourselves for what had been put into our hands but managed a tie game. It’s still a hurt in our hearts when we think of that time but do take pride in winning our school’s first ever curling championship game. During my younger years when playing at the Brant Club my family and friends would lift me up and down the stairs to get into the club and on the ice. I switched to the Brantford Golf and Country Club because of its accessibility, the last 10 years, where I am currently ladies curling chair. Though I don’t exactly remember how I decided to try curling the way I curl, I was never pushed to use the stick as that’s the way I should curl or told to go to another club with wheelchair curling cause that’s where I belong. I’ve always been accepted and included throughout all my years of curling and continue to love every minute of it. I say I’m a curling nerd, eating, sleeping, breathing curling. I have been fortunate to be able to attend a provincial play down for mens, a Scotties, a Continental Cup and a Brier, Mixed Doubles Trials. I look forward to many more years of curling adventures.