Curling clubs often operate on a shoestring budget…or less. Sure, collecting dues from members helps to offset some of the operational costs, but there are many other expenses. For the most part, clubs try to offer as many inexpensive or free events as possible. So keep this in mind: it is the job of members to help make their club a better place, just as it is the job of the curling centre to offer a friendly, clean facility with good ice.
Here are five simple things you can do to help out and make your club even better:
1. Use the Boot Boy (Shoe Cleaner) – Always. No exceptions. You want clean ice? It starts with clean shoes coming into the building and then again before heading out onto the ice. Clean your outdoor shoes and clean your curling shoes (gripper foot) too. I promise if everyone to enter a curling club were to actually do this, you would have pristine ice all season.
2. Volunteer for small events and fundraisers – Volunteering when the Brier or the Scotties come to town is a great thing to do and lots of fun. However, smaller events are often crying for help. Why not volunteer to help out with a junior bonspiel or help out at fundraiser casino night? You could also offer to help during some of the playdowns at the district or regional level.
3. Keep your equipment up to date and in good shape – It is your job as a curler to keep an eye on your curling equipment. If you see your gripper is starting to peel apart and flecks are getting on the ice you are overdue for a new one. They generally don’t last longer than one season…maybe two.
Also make sure your broom isn’t shedding hair. Hair brooms should be replaced every one or two years and remember to always store them with the head facing up. If it’s synthetic, make sure the pad isn’t so dirty that it’s picking up dirt and laying it back down on the ice. If the sight of dirty ice gets your goat, be sure you are doing your part before you complain, and make sure all your teammates are taking good care of their equipment too.
4. Tell the Ice Maker if you liked the ice – Don’t talk to him or her only when you have a gripe. Don’t get me wrong; if there is a problem with the ice, the Ice Maker should be made aware. However, before you blame the ice or the rocks make sure you used the Boot Boy, check your own equipment first, and also be sure you aren’t thinking there is a run in the ice when players might have delivery problems instead. If you still think there’s something going on with the ice, then go speak with the Club Manager or the Ice Maker. Just remember, Ice Makers often only hear about things when they’re bad. Please remember to mention to the Ice Maker or Club Manager if you thought the ice was particularly good. Nothing helps motivate like a little positive reinforcement.
5. Have a drink in the lounge after your game with your opposition – This is important for two reasons; the first reason is that having a drink (alcoholic or non… makes no difference) with your opponents helps to create a sense of community within a curling club. It’s how you get to know other members and many of them have some hilarious and exciting anecdotes about their experiences with the Roaring Game. The second reason is that it’s important to drop a little money in the lounge or in the cafe for a coffee as it helps the club to bring in a little extra revenue. The best part is that prices at curling clubs are usually inexpensive compared to some trendier bars downtown.
There are other ways you can help out at your curling club, but these ideas are more than enough to get you started. Remember this: in general, most clubs are not for profit and are overseen by a volunteer board of directors (something else you could always volunteer for!). We all have to do our part to make our curling clubs a better place.