Young Alumni curling day


Sweep! All you need to know about curling

By Ellen Harrison

The first time I took an interest in curling was during the 2010 Winter Olympics. I watched the men’s gold medal match between Canada and Norway from my home just outside of Vancouver, squished into my living room with a huge group of family and friends. All eyes were on the flat screen TV as we watched Canada take home the gold medal, and I remember thinking, what a fun sport.

The second time I ever took an interest in curling was when I was asked to write this article, seven years later. The UVic Young Alumni Council is putting on a fun curling event on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 12:30 to 4:30 at the Victoria Curling Centre. All skill levels are welcome – especially newbies!

This seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn a bit more about a sport I forgot about. Were there a lot of rules? Was it mostly for retirees? And if I did get the courage to give it a try, what did I need to know? To answer some of my questions, I contacted Quenton Lehmann, general manager of the Victoria Curling Centre.

“Please wear layered clothing. Especially jackets and sweaters vs. one heavy jacket. Please wear pants that stretch, and make sure you wear clean shoes and no heels,” Lehmann says. “A common mistake is to not realize that there are small dangers, considering you are on ice. Like running and trying to slide – it may cause you to fall down.”

Curling was starting to sound like more of an extreme sport than I’d assumed, but I had always thought it was more for seniors than anyone. But the current Olympic champion is 31-year-old Brad Jacobs of Ontario. His team looks like they belong on the front of a firefighter calendar, so I figured that was a stereotype I could probably forget about.

“If you look at the age of the curlers involved in the Olympics, it is for the younger folks,” Lehmann says. “And in order to be that good at that level, you need to join a club earlier than later.”

So if the sport was easy, fun, and apparently good for all ages, why not give it a try?

 “Curling is a very easy sport to learn – very few rules and so easy to understand,” Lehmann adds. “You throw a rock 126 feet down the ice and the closet rock to the button (centre of the ring) counts.”

Kailee Douglas, MPA ’16, a founding member of the Young Alumni Council, hopes the event gives participants the chance to meet other alumni and give curling a try. “It is a popular sport in Canada, and I don’t know how many opportunities people have to give it a shot, especially in a fun, laid-back atmosphere.”

The Young Alumni Council was founded in 2010 to create more events specifically for recent graduates. They hope to help people with ties to UVic to stay connected and become a bigger part of the community.

“We had our first event two years ago, and it was a success. I think people liked how curling was easy to pick up, and we all had a blast sliding around and playing informal games with each other,” Douglas says.

There will be an informal lesson and a practice session, so it’s a great opportunity to learn the ropes without too much of a commitment. If you find out you really like it, you can join the Victoria Curling Club’s ‘Learn to Curl’ program on Sunday nights, or check out any of their other leagues.

And even if curling ends up not being for you, there will be appetizers and a no-host bar at the end.

Young Alumni Curling

Saturday, January 28
12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Victoria Curling Centre (1952 Quadra Street)
Register online now!