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A chance to check out curling up close

Colleeen Coghlin, Shawn Hamelin, David Miller, and Melody Martin keep their brooms on the ice at the Elmira Curling Club’s headquarters. [Will Sloan / The Observer]

With interest heightened by the Olympics, Elmira Curling Club to host open house

Hockey… baseball … basketball … soccer. Popular sports all. But once, every four years, hockey’s oft-overlooked on-ice cousin returns to the spotlight. The return of the Winter Olympics means the return of curling to the world stage.

Colleeen Coghlin, Shawn Hamelin, David Miller, and Melody Martin keep their brooms on the ice at the Elmira Curling Club’s headquarters.[Will Sloan / The Observer]
Colleeen Coghlin, Shawn Hamelin, David Miller, and Melody Martin keep their brooms on the ice at the Elmira Curling Club’s headquarters. [Will Sloan / The Observer]
The Elmira and District Curling Club will be celebrating the Olympics with an open house, where experts and neophytes alike will have a chance to explore the complicated interplay of rock and broom.

“We found after the last Olympics that it certainly garnered more interest,” said Mary Martin, special events coordinator for the club. “We were getting a lot more calls from the public asking about curling, and we thought that this time around we’d be more proactive.”

She added, “With curling being a huge sport for Canada, we wanted to make sure we gave an opportunity for the public to see what curling is all about.”

Martin first took up the sport at age 13, joining through the club’s Junior Curling program. “It was free at the time and it was a chance to try a new sport,” she remembered. “I absolutely fell in love with it.”

The benefits proved to be many. “It’s something that everyone can play, from age seven to 100. It’s social, it’s fun, and as long as you’re enjoying it and having fun, it’s for everybody. You can get into the more competitive aspects of it, but most people are out to have fun.

“It’s a physical activity. You can get out, get your exercise, and trust me, you get your exercise doing it.”

And despite the lessons that Paul Gross taught us in Men With Brooms, curling in Elmira is more about fun than competition.

“It’s a team sport. It’s working with others, communication, and making sure you’re enjoying it. Even in a competitive setting, if you’re not having fun, it’s not going to be a good time for everybody.”

So, given the benefits, it raises the question: Why aren’t you curling?

Let’s face it: compared to certain other Olympic sports, curling doesn’t always seem very sexy. Martin says the open house is an opportunity to spread the word.

“I think a lot of people see it on TV, and it’s like golf – watching golf on TV is boring,” laughed Martin. “But when you actually get out there and you’re playing, with the camaraderie of other people, it’s a really fun sport.”

The open house takes place February 23, 1-4 p.m., at 40 Eldale Rd. More information is available at www.elmiracurling.ca.

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