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Business of Curling: Seven words you can never say in a curling club!

Resby Coutts is from Manitoba and a promoter of our great sport in almost every area of our business imaginable. He wrote this short piece on his web site and it set the bells ringing at my end. This is such a good piece because it hits close to home for all us. One of the biggest issues we face each day is a reluctance to try new things to help out the club. I think, no, I am convinced you will find this inspiring and maybe, at your next meeting, you will embrace change and not dismiss it. Danny Lamoureux

Seven little words (by Resby Coutts)

That’s not the way we do it!

We never did it that way before!

Curling is no different from many other volunteer directed organizations. We have all heard some version of those seven words as the justification for decisions. Or really for the decision not to change.

Earlier this year, I wrote an editorial on my website (www.thecurler.com) about the Manitoba clubs who, believe it or not, still do not have internet in their buildings. Specifically, I was talking about the decision to install an internet connection and wireless internet as a service to media. My proposition was that those clubs who see internet as an important tool, and wireless as a service to members and media, are the clubs which are most viable and which will still be viable 20 years from now.

They are the ones who see something new as an opportunity and not as a challenge.

Internet by itself won’t make the club viable. The attitude which allows them to make the decision does.

That’s why I am so impressed with the 15 or so members of about 10 executives who have decided to spend some of their time this week in a Business of Curling session. For them, this week in Regina (Ford World Men’s Curling) is not all play and no work.

They are showing the will to explore new ideas. They could sit in the stands and have another hot dog but they are spending some time looking for that new idea which can help our sport thrive in their community.

From time to time, I have had the opportunity to speak at one of these sessions. As with most other such gatherings you inevitably hear the comment “I enjoyed the speakers but I really got a lot of good ideas from the other people there”.

The Business of Curling meetings focus on new ideas and they create an opportunity of sharing. That’s something else we haven’t been good at in our sport – sharing. It seems like we have always viewed the club across town as the competition and not the next branch office of the same company.

Across Canada, and around the world, it is an exciting time in the sport of curling. Curling is happening in areas which probably never heard of it a decade ago. Curling is seeing new people at the door in many parts of Canada.

We have to find ways to make our sport more welcoming to those folks when they knock on the door. We have to find ways to recognize their interests and needs and schedules may not be (probably are not) the same as those of us who have been part of the sport for a few years.

Am I talking about you, or about your club? I probably am if you can’t instantly tell me at least one new thing which has happened in the past year where you curl.

Palmerston CC in Ontario

It doesn’t have to be any thing real big. A new draw format – a different approach to melding new players into existing teams – an internet link to help teams find a new bonspiel to play in – something as simple as changing the colour of the rings from the traditional red & blue might be a start, and I realize that can be a huge decision.

That’s not the colour of our rings! – Seven little words.

Why bother to make such a change! – Seven little words.

Lock the door for the last time! – Seven little words.

If you’re a curling volunteer who has never heard about the Business of Curling program – find out about it. If you haven’t ever had the chance to attend one – ask when it is going to happen in your area.

Let’s try a couple of new things! – Seven little words.