I started curling when I was in high school. I wanted to participate in other sports but practices were two days a week with games on weekends. There was no way my parents would agree to all the driving. I lived 8 miles from town on a farm, but in those days, it might as well have been 800!

I convinced my dad to pick me up one day a week after the curling game so that I could join the intramural curling league. He had also curled and was always keen to talk about the game. Every Thursday after school I would walk to the curling rink and play against other high school students. Thursdays became the highlight of my week.

After the game I would sometimes stay at my Aunt Sophie’s house in town. She was my dad’s sister and she also curled. She was 70 years old at the time and was pretty good. She was a “stand up” curler and had a decent win-loss record. She was one of those senior ladies you could never count out when it came to drawing to the button to win a close game.

Aunt Sophie allowed me to wear her curling sweater every Thursday. This small gesture started my life-long love of curling outfits. When I donned that blue button-up cardigan and walked into the curling rink, I felt I had indeed arrived. That sweater added a level of confidence to my play that I have long since remembered.

Later in life, I would add curling shoes with built-in sliders, grippers, straw, fabric and eventually push brooms, and soft leather gloves. Walking in to the curling rink with my sport bag and broom helped me feel like I belonged and I knew the intricacies of the game. Who knows? Sometimes the sweater may even have contributed to my wins!

I curled on and off throughout the years on various teams with family and friends. Our curling outfits changed as fashions dictated, but the curling sweater, or jacket, survived. Now when I watch curling live, or on tv, the team outfits are always a big part of the conversation. Do we like Team Canada’s choice, what team colours are the most appealing? Cut, colours, collars, logos are all under scrutiny. The “sweater” has become synonymous with “Team”, one of curling’s greatest assets.

Curling is truly a sport in which each member has a specific role and together these roles solidify the success of the team. Wearing the team sweater allows each member to be part of a great Canadian tradition, and contributes in large part to curling’s legacy in this country.

My thanks to Aunt Sophie for her intuition regarding the intricacies of curling as a team sport!