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People trying curling for first time in Berwick get swept up by sport

Payton Roles, 7, throws the rock to her brother, Grady, 6, who gets ready to sweep it down the ice.
Payton Roles, 7, throws the rock to her brother, Grady, 6, who gets ready to sweep it down the ice. - Sara Ericsson

Coach Michelle Easson: curling 'is not as easy as it looks'

BERWICK – The Berwick Curling Club hosted new curlers young and old this Sunday, Feb. 11, proving that a sport that can look easy can prove much tougher once stepping out on the ice.

The club had an open house as part of the weekend’s Berwick Winter Carnival festivities, and saw dozens of people show up.

Several families, including Scott Roles and Lindsay Reagh, who attended the event with daughter Payton, 7 and son Grady, 6, tried the sport as a group, with some catching on quicker than others.

Lindsay Reagh and son Grady get their game faces on as they get ready to sweep Feb. 11 at the Berwick Curling Club.
Lindsay Reagh and son Grady get their game faces on as they get ready to sweep Feb. 11 at the Berwick Curling Club.

“Payton is really holding her own. She’s learning to be a skip and is also sweeping, and I think she’s catching on the quickest of all of us,” said Roles.

A sport for all ages

Curling is a sport that is accessible to people of all ages and abilities, according to coach Beth Easson.

“Today was a chance for everyone of all ages to come try the sport out,” she said.

“We’ve got the smaller rocks for the young kids to use and have skip sticks for seniors so they don’t have to get down on the ice.”

Several curling coaches were on hand to give the newcomers a literal hand as they stepped onto the ice.

One coach, Michelle Larsen, said there are several factors that contribute to making the sport a hard one to learn.

One of the biggest is also perhaps the most obvious – the game is played on a thick slab of slippery ice.

“Curling is harder than it looks – it takes time and practice to be able to get used to the ice, let alone the throwing and sweeping,” she said.

Oliver During, 10, aims the rocks and gets ready to throw to his dad, Jason, who will sweep it down the ice.
Oliver During, 10, aims the rocks and gets ready to throw to his dad, Jason, who will sweep it down the ice.

“The biggest thing is always to have fun, and if you keep that in mind, the rest can fall in place.”

Giving it a go

With the Winter Olympics currently underway, Scott Roles said his family was feeling excited, which gave them another good reason to give the sport a go.

“The hardest part for me was judging the distance the rock will go. It’s either too late or too hard – I’ve got to get it in the middle,” he said.

His kids were also excited, with Payton giving her all when she threw the rock down the ice.

“My favourite part was pushing it down, because I get to try to push it really hard, and try to get it to the other end,” she said.

While Roles said he found throwing the hardest, sweeping was what struck Payton as the harder task.

Payton Roles gets ready to throw the rock. "I like being the skip better than sweeping," she said.
Payton Roles gets ready to throw the rock. "I like being the skip better than sweeping," she said.

“It was harder trying to get the rock down the ice with the broom,” she said.

“I really like it, but I would want to be the skip.”

Larsen liked the enthusiasm she saw in those that participated and felt it could mean good things for both them and the club.

“It’s exciting to see kids, seniors and people who’ve been intimidated to come curl before that are here, giving it a try. Hopefully we’ll have some new curlers after this,” she said.

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