House Call: Curling is the Real Social Network

Whether you’ve been on the ice for weeks, you’re lacing up your shoes for the first time this week, or you still have a little time to go before you get your first game of the season in, let’s take some time to consider the many benefits of social networking.

Social networking is part of the game at the 2009 Tim Hortons Brier (CCA Photo)

I’m not talking about the Mark Zuckerberg kind of social networking. I’m talking about the real thing. It’s an awesome power and it’s available readily at your local curling club. It may be a tradition in golf for deals and partnerships to be struck on the course, but personally, I prefer the tradition of lasting friendships being created at the curling club. Many of my closest friends are curlers and I met them at the curling club. For me, entering my club is like coming home. If you are just getting started in curling, there are a few things you should know about the social network at your club. First of all, a little rivalry on the ice is okay, but it’s never okay to be a poor sport. You don’t need to like everyone you play, but curling is a gentleperson’s sport so you do need to be as friendly and courteous as possible. Secondly, it is tradition to hit the bar or the coffee shop with your opposition after each game. If you don’t drink alcohol, please don’t make that an excuse. Have a pop or a coffee or water or just make polite conversation. This ritual of drinking together after a game is one of the most important traditions in curling. You never know what you’ll find out about your opposition. Maybe you went to the same high school as the skip or you go to the same dog park as the second. Getting to know the other members of your curling club tightens the sense of community. Wouldn’t you rather hit the ice with a bunch of people you’ve taken the time to get to know rather than keeping blinders on and ignoring everyone not on your team? Lastly, why not carry on that sense of community by volunteering at your club? There are always events to help out at, small projects to work on, or boards to sit on. Volunteering at your club doesn’t have to be boring and time consuming. In fact, it doesn’t take long before you feel your volunteer work become more like fun with friends and family rather than work. Here’s to the real social network that is curling. Cheers!