Oh my galosh[es]!!!
Jeff E. Gregory
Around 2010 or so, I was organizing a bonspiel at the Metcalfe Curling Club in Metcalfe ON, an all-day event on a Saturday. One of our members received a call from then Ottawa city councillor Doug Thompson asking if we could accommodate and host people with Down’s Syndrome for a brief period. Our schedule was tight as it was with barely enough leeway between games to clean the ice. We had three sheets and 16 teams playing four-end games with each team guaranteed to play three games. They arrived around noon just as one group was getting off the ice. I announced we had some special visitors to our bonspiel and they received thunderous applause for all present. We decided the bonspielers would have lunch altogether instead of staggered, like we had planned. Councillor Thompson and I took three of them down to ice level, while the rest went to the lower viewing area.
The first two pushed their respective rocks to about a third of the way down the sheet while they remained in the hack. Not bad for a first effort. One of them hit the board; the other stopped about two feet from the board. The last up was the tallest of the lot, at least 6’4″ and wearing unbuckled galoshes.
“Okay, grip the handle and push the rock toward the other end,” I stated, just as I had for the others. Didn’t he nail it smack dab on the pin at the other end with no sweeping!
“Oh my gosh, you did it!”
He was so elated he was jumping up and down flailing his arms wildly. I turned to the viewing area below, and they were euphoric, wildly dancing and high-fiving each other. I then got the biggest bear hug of my life, complete with a 360 spin off the ground. I briefly thought I’d be next speeding down the sheet.
It turned out to be a highly emotional moment for all of us. I looked up top, and everyone up top from our bonspiel group was also cheering euphorically. I’ll never forget what a precious time that was.