It’s 8:30 a.m., the sun is just peeking out over the tree tops, the roads are bustling with working commuters, and school bus lights are flashing red. It’s 8:30 a.m. and I, a 19-year-old university student find myself at an unfamiliar elementary school in a rural town in beautiful New Brunswick. This has been a typical day for me since teaming up with the Capital One Rocks & Rings Program.
Being a competitive curler, I know the importance of participation in sport both for the growth of individual players and for the growth of the sport for years to come. Noticing that the number of players in my province was dropping each year, I decided to take action. So, I contacted Abbie Darnley of the Rocks & Rings program, and, after numerous exchanged emails and a few phone conversations, was invited aboard as an instructor.
Now, with all the equipment, a cool email signature, and some training, I set off for my first school (Gesner Elementary) in Oromocto, New Brunswick. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect and was quite nervous. However the bell rang and I knew I had a job to do: make curling the most exciting sport these students had ever seen, show them all aspects of the game, raise interest in the sport, but most importantly have some fun.
With all the students on benches, we began. We covered almost everything in only 45 minutes from sweeping, to throwing, to scoring. It may have been a bit of organized chaos, but we managed and had fun doing it.
Since my visit to that first school, I have been all across New Brunswick promoting and demonstrating the sport. The first four schools were all in Oromocto, and others ranged from Woodstock to Saint John to Florenceville-Bristol. Overall, I believe the program is going great. The students love it, and so do the teachers. I’ve received many questions from the kids, such as “Are you here all week?” and “When are you coming back?” I’ve also received some comments such as “I had so much fun today” and, my personal favourite, “I can’t wait to try real curling!”
In the end, it may only be 45 minutes of curling in their day, but all that I can hope for is that in those 45 minutes, a few of the hundreds of students I saw will choose to play, because curling is a fun sport, and it’s one people can play for a lifetime. Plus, who knows? I may need a teammate in 15 years.
I’m looking forward to the bringing this program to many more schools over the coming months throughout New Brunswick.
Read more about Andrew O’Dell in this Featured Curling Athlete profile on Curling.ca.