By Christy Marsters
The Hants Journal/NovaNewsNow.com
I wasn’t around to witness the tragic day when the Windsor Curling Club caught fire; I was in Charlottetown studying to become a journalist. But I returned in time to see the massive amounts of effort made by this community to bring a curling club back to Windsor and I documented the facility’s rebuilding -- since the sod turning ceremony.
Yes, I’ve quite literally watched the Windsor Curling Club be re-built from the ground up.
From the money collected, to the building’s design and the quick efforts to make this club a tangible reality -- I have to agree with Jason Harvey, who attended a wheelchair curling demonstration session at the new club Jan. 17, when he said the new facility was “very impressive.” Indeed, it’s a building reset in new standards.
But, I wondered why this community went to all this effort in light of what appeared as such a simple sport, and I wanted to see first hand what was so great about curling.
The Windsor Curling Club was generous enough to hook me up with an hour sample session to discover what curling was like.
Club trainer Mike Wyman and I met at the facility mid-morning Feb.5. He greeted me and then got me right out on the ice.
First thoughts: oh man, here are two things I really dislike colliding – sports and the cold.
Cold not a factor
Once I was standing out there for a while, however, -1 Celsius wasn’t terrible to adjust to and, although I’m not an all-star athlete, Wyman was just very encouraging.
I suited up with a slippery shoe and slid back and forth on the ice for a while.
It was really fun! Better than skating even, because I still had one solid foot to fall back on. I wished I had one of these slippery slip-ons as a kid – simply to shuffle in winter with.
Then I practiced sliding off the hack, which is this little block to push off the ice with, and I was a bit shaky starting out.
Wyman said the sport was a lot about balance and kids were often better at sliding because a fear of falling was absent in young minds.
Following a few pushes from the hack, I started to put some real leverage behind my launches and threw some rocks down the ice.
Well, actually, once I let the rock go, it pretty much found its way down ice. There’s no way I’d be throwing a 40-pound rock.
Wyman pointed out that, with my fourth rock thrown, I had landed in the house; which is a target area where curlers earn points. The closest rock to the centre earns a curler all the points for a round -- with one point per rock in the house. I was told a team in curling traditionally consists of four players and eight stones with eight rounds of play.
Sweeping takes effort
Players in curling also take turns sweeping, with the exception of the skip, to help a rock as it flows down the ice. I tried sweeping, and it requires a real physical effort.
In fact, by the time I was done curling and was sitting down with Wyman for an after-game hot chocolate, it was surprising to feel my leg muscles were cramped. But, this makes sense when thinking of all the bending and shuffling about the game requires.
However, what shocked me more than how physically intense curling actually was, were the mannerisms and atmosphere, which are entirely unique to the sport.
Wyman explained it did not matter if a person is 16 or 65 because this sport is one for all ages and it can be played either competitively or in a leisurely fashion.
He said curling was considered as a sport for ladies and gentleman. It was customary for players to greet each other, to share refreshments after the game, to encourage the other team when they made a good shot and to try not to laugh too hard when they made bad ones. And, it was a game in which players refereed on an honor basis -- by tallying their own points and calling out their own mistakes in good sport.
Talk about a sport for the whole community and I’d have to say curling would be the one. Now, it’s no wonder Hants County rallied hard to bring curling back to Windsor.
Reporter tries her hand at the popular sport
By Christy Marsters
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