Curling appeals to many age groups
There are few sports that have the ability to appeal to as broad of an audience as curling.
With access to ‘little rocks,’ young children can begin throwing and sweeping stones as early as they enter school. many clubs will paint rings half way down a sheet of ice to make the playing area age-appropriate or, as is the case in North bay, a hack is installed at centre ice and rocks are delivered toward the boards.
The granite Club’s youth curling program sponsored by Tim hortons runs Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-5pm and is always accepting new registrants. The volunteer-run sessions are led by mike Callahan, a retired elementary school principal and long-time junior curling supporter, with much backing from other members and former participants.
For those looking try try curling before making a commitment, give the club a shout and a free trial will be arranged during one of the afterschool periods.
Plans for a youth winter holiday camp is in the works for Jan. 1-5. The camp will run day long, accommodate ages 6-17 in three different groupings (numbers permitting), and be geared toward participants with little to no curling experience. more information and online registration is available at northbaycurling.com/camp.
On the flip side, new inventions such as the delivery stick, double gripper curling shoes and protective headwear have allowed more senior players to feel comfortable extending their years of participation in the on-ice game.
Fear of falling is without a doubt one of the greatest barriers for clubs seeking to recruit new members and, in particular, new retirees to take up the sport. often new players are directed to provide “clean indoor running shoes” for their initial curling experiences. and while in most instances this will suffice, the reality is running shoes were not designed to grip ice and can become quite slippery as the soles get cold and harden. encouraging folks to invest in proper pieces of equipment will keep them safe and allow them to maximize their enjoyment in the rink.
And it’s not just age that is accommodated well by the sport of curling. all personality types, ability levels and schedules also are considered in the club’s planning of activities.
Many leagues in North bay offer skill divisions so you can be just starting out, or amongst the most adept in the area and still receive competitive games week after week.
Leagues also run on multiple days of the week, in mornings and evenings, so there’s likely an offering that suits your availability.
The granite Club’s ontario 150 Celebration bonspiel goes this saturday with room for only a few more teams.
Next week marks the beginning of the granite Club’s winter curling session so if you are looking to join a league or instructional program time is ticking. If you miss it, your last chance to join the 2017-18 season will be for seven weeks beginning the week of Jan. 14.
Bobby Ray is general manager of the North Bay Granite Club