Curl­ing ap­peals to many age groups

North Bay Nugget - - OPINION - BOBBY RAY

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.

Last call

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

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