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Friday, June 22, 2012

Remembrances of (curling) things past...

Jacket and broom, tucked in the corner since
 the season ended in April...
Ah, summer. Love it.

But as I was doing some tidying up today, I found myself in the back door hallway picking through jackets and fleeces that needed to be put away, and what did I find, but my son's curling jacket and broom.

Talk about flashback!

Despite the heat, and the slower pace, and the brighter sunshine, and all that goes with late June and the approach of the true, short Canadian summer, I was suddenly overcome by a Proustian moment: transported to those wintry Tuesday and Thursday after-school sessions at our local curling club, coaching my son's school team.

Well, "coaching" might be too strong a word. I directed, supported, advised and encouraged.

The  kids were actually led by two experienced young skips who, with the support of their parents and our school's Director of Varsity Sports, had got the whole thing rolling on their own. They made up their teams, followed their skips' advice, watched and learned by example, and allowed me - heck, they even asked me - to play with them during practice when we were short a body.

It was curling at its purest: a bunch of kids playing for fun - and learning while they were doing. Could they all slide, throw and sweep with perfect technique by the end of the season? Nope. But they were well on their way, having modelled themselves on their two well-trained skips.

And, thanks to my obsession with curling etiquette, they knew where to stand, when (and when not) to move, how to respond to good shots and bad, and what a role sportsmanship plays in the sport. They even learned how to manage that wacky scoreboard and picked up some with-hammer/without-hammer strategy as well.

By the end of the season, they were hooked. And every one of them was signed up for next season.

A sudden glimpse of a curling jacket and broom tucked in the corner...

The sights and sounds and feelings resurface - happy memories of a season past.


  1. I was intereted in the Jennifer Jones-Cathy Overton-Clapham history which led me to your February 23, 2011 story. Having just watched all 11 of the Jones march to the gold is Sochi I found it hard to understand your comment, "Jennifer Jones isn't my favorite curler", implying a degree of disdain. She is certainly my favorite and found her poised, friendly, sincere and an awesome talent. I even suspect those boo-birds shared Canada's joy as Ms. Jones threw her final golden stone. Vindication is sweet.

  2. Thanks for your comment, vegasdog. No disdain towards JJ at all - you have to remember, that post was written three years ago! Lots of curling teams have surged and waned and emerged since then. I've had a chance to meet Jennifer and her team in my work with the CCA, and you're absolutely right. She is poised, friendly and sincere, and a brilliant curler. No one could be happier about her gold medal performance than I am!