Curious about curling?
Delta Thistle Curling Club is inviting the community to try it out for free during four days of intro to curling sessions Sept. 19 to 22.
“Anybody can curl,” longtime Delta Thistle curler Laverne Theis told the Reporter, noting the club’s members range in age “from four to 94.”
“It’s an easy game to learn, but a very hard game to get good at.”
Certified coaches will be on hand at the North Delta club to give participants a crash course in curling, including lessons tailored for kids (using smaller rocks and half the length of the sheet) as well as those with limited mobility (using a “stick” that allows curlers to throw the rock from a standing position).
“I use the stick because I have a bum hip — you just walk out and you don’t have to bend down in the hack. That’s made a big difference for some of us seniors,” Theis said.
The club will provide everything one needs to learn to curl, including brooms, grippers that slip on over your shoes, sticks for those that need them, and sliders that allow players to…well…slide on the ice when throwing a rock.
“We’ll have them slide up and down the ice, teach them how to actually throw the curling rock, teach them the lingo, and then we’ll actually get them in a mini game scenario,” Theis said.
“By the end of the hour, they’ll be throwing a rock down to the house.”
Beyond the challenge and fun of the game itself, Theis — a 2022 Delta Sports Hall of Fame inductee who began curling at the club more than 30 years ago and was club manager for close to a quarter-century before retiring in 2015 — said the camaraderie among her fellow curlers is perhaps the sport’s most powerful draw.
While there are some teams that compete at a higher level, most are there as much to socialize off the ice as to play the game.
“The hub of curling is up here [in the lounge]. After every game people come up here and have a beverage and popcorn and [hang out],” she said, noting the bar will be open for guests to enjoy after their intro sessions as well.
Organizers hope that after giving the sport a try, participants will sign up for one of the club’s five-week novice leagues starting later this fall, and eventually move on to one or more of the club’s other leagues.
“That’s what we’re trying to promote,” Theis said.
The club, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, is home to men’s, ladies’, mixed, open and senior leagues, the Little Rockers program for kids 4-9 years of age, junior and teen programs for ages 9 to 20, another for Special Olympians, and a large wheelchair curling league.
Next week’s introductory sessions will be held daily from 4 to 8 p.m. and are open to all ages and abilities — participants should dress warmly and wear clean, flat running shoes.
Would-be curlers can register for their preferred time slot (email email@example.com or call 604-594-2323) or simply drop by and give it a go.
“If someone shows up, we’ll teach you how to curl,” Theis said.
For more information about the club, visit deltathistle.ca.
— with files from Tom Zillich