Local curling team heads to the nationals
From Baie d'Urfé to B.C.
BY RAFFY BOUDJIKANIAN
For Dave Martin, 62, who spent part of his childhood on the sheets of ice behind his school out west in his native Regina, a dream is about to come true when he and the rest of the Baie d'Urfé Curling Club head off to Nanaimo, British Columbia in two weeks to represent Quebec at the Masters Men's Canadian Championship. "It's the first time any of us have gone to the nationals," said the John Abbott College engineering technology teacher.
Comprised of three members from the Baie d'Urfé club and one from Glenmore's, the team's achievement seems all the more remarkable considering they have only been playing together since the end of December. "We've known each other for a very long time," he admitted, and this probably helped, as teamwork and good sportsmanship are considered extremely important for curling teams.
Playing as a skip, for example, part of Martin's role consists of guiding his two sweepers by yelling out directions as they try to ensure the sliding rock the game is played with, called a granite, reaches its goal safely. "They call it chess on ice," Greg Sleno, 60, the team's third, who is with the Glenmore curling club in Dollard des Ormeaux, said of the sport. When making a move, a curling team must constantly be thinking of how the opposing team will react. "It's maybe to a slight extent a little bit like golf," he added. The slightest error in miscalculating your shot in either of these two sports may completely change the course of your game, he said. "When we came back from the provincial championships last week, we were mentally drained," Sleno said as an example of the taxing strategy aspect of the game. However, he insisted curling can be physically demanding too. "It's a great cardio-vascular exercise," he said about the sweeping motion made by curlers when guiding the granite.
As the club heads to the national championship, a wave of uncertainty surrounds the proceedings. They are completely unfamiliar with the clubs they will be facing, and vice-versa. "In any sport it's always nice to know your opponent," said Sleno, as you can then plan your game according to the opposing team's strengths and weaknesses, but there will be no such advantages this time.
The championships start March 30 in Nanaimo, BC. Martin said the Baie d'Urfé club first qualified for provincial championships along with three other Montreal-area clubs before besting those as well.