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Inside Junior Curling: Tales of a curling addict

My name is Cathlia Ward, I’m a 19-year-old Leadership student at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, and I love curling.

Cathlia Ward in action at the 2013 World Junior Curling Championships in Sochi, Russia (Photo WCF/Richard Gray)

Cathlia Ward in action at the 2013 World Junior Curling Championships in Sochi, Russia (Photo WCF/Richard Gray)

When I say I love curling, I don’t just mean I love playing once a week or watching it on TV every now and again. I mean I’m a total curling addict.

From playing third with my competitive junior team (Team Daigle), to playing in Tuesday night ladies league with my sassy ladies team, to coaching Little Rocks or serving at my curling club’s banquets, the list goes on. Being around curling is my all-time favourite activity.

People often ask me why I love curling and often expect me to say something along the lines of “because my family does it” or “because I’m good at it” when in reality, that’s not the reason at all.

When I started curling at a very young age, I just enjoyed being around the club with my parents. As I got older, and really understood what was going on, you could often find me begging to go curling bright and early on Saturday mornings. You see, I spent my early childhood in a small town outside of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador called Conception Bay South. To get to the curling club, my family had to drive for over 30 minutes and Little Rock curling at the Remax Centre started at 8am on Saturday. I jumped out of bed every Saturday morning, elated to be going to the curling club. I knew I loved curling, before I had even made my first draw to the rings.

One of the main reasons I love this sport is simple: the people. Curlers across the country and around the world are among the most genuine, honest and caring people I have ever met. This is no surprise to me because our sport encourages all of these characteristics.

Learning to curl with Dad (Photo courtesy C. Ward)

Learning to curl with Dad (Photo courtesy C. Ward)

I’m notorious for doing my homework at the curling club and I do this for many reasons. For one, it makes it easier to go practice in between assignments when I’m already there! But most importantly, I get to see all the amazing people who walk in and out of the Capital Winter Club everyday. Members of curling clubs across the country range from age 5 to age 95 and I think that is absolutely amazing. To be able to start a sport as a 5-year-old and really mean it when you say “I’m going to do this for the rest of my life” is incredible.

For four years, I played in a Monday night mixed league with my dad (and sometimes my mom and sister) and I was always happy to brag about the fact that I got to play with Dad every week. What other sport would give you such an opportunity at just 13 or 14 years old? Not many, but curling sure does.

My love for curling began as a small child, and now at 19 I can easily say that I’m still the same little girl who fell in love with a sport and never looked back. I continue to fall in love with curling every time I step into a curling club, wherever that may be.

I am thrilled that I have been able to turn my passion for curling and writing into this exciting new opportunity: writing the Inside Junior Curling column for the Canadian Curling Association. I look forward to connecting with the readers and sharing stories of Junior Curling from coast to coast. Stay tuned!

Cathlia Ward (centre) teaching juniors (Photo courtesy C. Ward)

Cathlia Ward (centre) teaching juniors (Photo courtesy C. Ward)