Guest Post by: Simon Barrick
“You curl? That’s neat, my grandpa used to curl.”
I cannot begin to tell you how many times people have responded with this line when they discovered that I curl. But let’s face it; the curling stereotype involves images of elderly men in knitted sweaters, donning funny headgear (tams), with a cigarette in one hand and a pint of beer in the other. Oh, and they may also be sliding a granite stone down the ice while sweeping with those peculiar brooms. Not to mention yelling. Lots and lots of yelling.
No wonder people think this sport isn’t for kids.
But this stereotype is no longer reality. With curling being a Winter Olympic sport since the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, curling has undergone quite the transformation. For proof of this change, you only have to turn on your television over the next few months to see young and fit men and women playing the sport and playing it well. So much for that grandpa stereotype.
And as a 20-something male curler, I’m further proof that this sport is as much for young people as hockey, soccer, or swimming. At the ripe old age of eight, I watched my first game of curling on television and thought, “that would be cool to try!” So I convinced my dad to take my sister and me to the local curling club to throw our first rocks at houses. And the rest, they say, is history.
If you’re interested, but not quite sure yet – let me convince you even further. Here are the top nine reasons why you should sign your children up for this great sport:
9. Curling builds important life skills including sportsmanship, fair play, teamwork, and social interactions – things all young people need.
8. It’s an affordable sport. Let’s be honest – most sports can cost you a ton of money. Fortunately, curling offers families an affordable alternative. Between fees and curling equipment (which are provided by your local curling club for beginners), a full season of curling (October to April) only costs between $50 and $150 per youth!
7. Curling clubs are welcoming spaces. Ask any young person who curls and they will tell you that the curling club feels like their second home.
6. Curling is also an accessible and inclusive sport. People with physical, mental, visual, and auditory disabilities all curl (and curl well!) There are also provincial events, such as Special Olympics curling. So, no matter your kids’ ability level and needs, curling can accommodate.
5. Curling is a very strategic and cerebral sport (described by many as chess-on-ice.) If you’re looking for a different kind of sport, then curling is your answer.
4. Curling is an extremely social sport. Coaches and instructors teach young curlers to compliment their opponents when they make a nice shot and to stay after the game and socialize. Many of my closest and dearest friends are curlers whom I’ve met over the years.
3. If your kids are competitive, they have plenty of opportunities to enter competitions (bonspiels) to represent their club, province, and even country! An Olympic gold medal has a nice ring to it, right?
2. If competition isn’t for your kids, then don’t sweat it. Curling clubs consist of weekly social leagues where your kids can play with and against great people, have a blast, and foster some outstanding friendships.
1. You can curl for your entire life, no problem! There aren’t many sports where you can register your child at five years of age and they’re still curling when they hit the ripe old age of 100. Curling is truly a life-long sport.
Hopefully I’ve been able to convince you (even a little) to register your children in curling. If so, please take my final advice: just do it! Head down to your local curling club now. Curlers love to introduce new people to the sport. I guarantee that once you enter the door, some eager volunteers will slap some tape on the bottom of your kids’ running shoes and have them out on the ice before you know it.
Looking forward to seeing you and your kids in the curling club soon.