Cathlia Ward shares the story of her first session as a Capital One Rocks & Rings instructor in New Brunswick.
My first day as a Capital One Rocks & Rings instructor was an exciting one; I got to take a road trip to Riverview, approximately two hours from my hometown, Fredericton, N.B., to visit Unicorn Children’s Centre. The day care invited me in partnership with Curl Moncton, who sponsored the day. Curl Moncton provided pamphlets for each child about who to call to register for curling, when Little Rock practices are, prices and what to wear. This was a fantastic way for the kids to take their newfound information home with them.
Once I was set up in the gym, in came my first group of kids! None of them had ever curled before; I was so excited to introduce my favourite sport for the first time. The kids had a great time learning to throw rocks and, of course, getting to yell as loud as they wanted (always my favourite as a kid too!).
At the end of the session, I told the group that we had time for questions. No one had any at first so I said “How many of you want to try curling on the ice now?” Every single kid put up his or her hand. Talk about exhilarating.
As I was looking at all the hands, I heard one little boy shout out: “I want to learn how to curl, but I don’t know how to skate!” I looked at the little boy and told him he didn’t need to skate to curl, and his eyes lit up.
“I’m going to curl this fall,” he said. It was music to my ears.
The next group of kids came in and we ran through the same activities. Question period rolled around once again, and one of the day care instructors asked me where I had travelled with curling. I told the group I had been to all the Atlantic Provinces, Ontario and Alberta and most recently I took a trip to Russia to play as fifth for the Junior Women’s National team. The next thing I knew, I had a line-up of kids waiting for autographs, telling me they wanted to curl so they could travel too!
The entire day was inspiring for me. To hear kids who had never curled before talk about the draw to the button they made or how they couldn’t wait to go home and ask their parents if they could curl this fall was amazing. In my opinion, that’s what this job is all about… inspiring the younger generation to fall in love with the sport the same way I did all those years ago.