House Call: It’s a Family Affair

Happy New Year! Here’s wishing you 365 more days of peace, love, and as much curling as possible! On New Year’s Eve I worked. Drag right? Not at all! This year the Calgary Winter Club where I work decided to have a club-wide family New Year’s Bash. Families could come between the hours of 3 – 8:30pm to ring in Brazil’s New Year at 8:00pm. While waiting for the countdown families could make crafts (noise-makers and party hats), Skate, Swim, bowl, play dodge ball, take salsa dance lessons, try out a cardio party, have family pictures taken, play some Wii, and check out what we’d set up in curling. Inside I set up an old table-top curling game I dug out of the back room. I thought this would be the perfect way to introduce people without first asking them to get on the ice. After they’d played with the game a bit I’d ask if they wanted to try it out for real. The answer was always a resounding yes. We had games set up for experienced curlers but I found the majority of the people who attended had never curled before. It was great! We’d show the kids and adults the basics; play some fun games with them (one’s with a lot less rules than regular curling). At the end we’d ask them if they liked it and tell them a bit about our programs. It was fantastic! I guess time will tell if we get any new curlers out of it but we certainly had a lot of fun. My point is that curling can be fun for the whole family. If you just started curling you may not know that many clubs offer junior curling programs to kids ages 6 – 17 (I even will sometimes take kids as young as 5). The kids absolutely love it. We don’t just play games we play Red Light/Green Light, we have sweeping contests, we have mini bonspiels, and ridiculously goofy-fun parties. If you’re new to curling you may not have thought about getting your spouse involved or your cousins, aunts, uncles, and parents. There is a way for everyone to curl. The more people you recruit from your circle of friends and family the more people you’ll know at your club. Many clubs offer Family Bonspiels where parents have the opportunity to play with their kids. Often it’s the kids who do the skipping, while Mom and Dad take care of the sweeping! These spiels are great fun but it’s nice if everyone in that family has a little bit of experience with the game before playing. So my new year’s challenge to you is to start recruiting your friends and families. I’ve been doing it for years and when it works out it rocks! Watch next week for more beginner tips.