Building local curling

A whole new generation is being trained in the fine sport

Curling guru Cheryl Noble signals one of her students.

These are busy times for the Parksville Curling Club as its members tend to the task of playing host to the biggest men’s event in B.C. come February, but along with the build-up to the big ‘spiel, there’s also the ongoing push for new players.

Oceanside Middle School PE teacher Kevin McKee has been doing his bit to help the cause. On Tuesday afternoon 20 of his students were on the ice for the second of two curling classes as part of his Active Living Exploratory Course.

The students “came here last week and spent an hour learning the fundamentals, and today they got to do game-play,” said McKee, one of this area’s most prolific purveyors of physical fitness.

“There’s been 10 volunteers out both days to help — they’re awesome — working with the kids, talking to them and playing together … just great instruction. It’s amazing,” he said, “the kids are playing like they’ve been playing a long time, and they’re having a blast.”

 

“The club’s membership is aging,” pointed out longtime local curler and colourful club booster Ken ‘Doc’ Meuckon.

“We’d like to see a lot more of this. This is fantastic,” he said from behind the glass, looking out onto the ice and watching the veteran curlers interacting with the students.

“It’s all about the kids today,” decorated (as in two-time senior ladies world champion) PCC curler Cheryl Noble said through a grin as she slid past us on her way to the other end of the rink with a group of four following close behind.

Noble has retired from competitive curling but still enjoys the game, and by all accounts has embraced the role of mentor.

“These kids are so enthusiastic out there — it’s great to see,” PCC member Clare Cooney, 68, surmised enthusiastically when it was over, adding, “I just think it’s great to see young blood come along — we need it, and it’s one of those sports where if you try it, you’ll like it.

“It’s just a heck-of-a-game,” he said, “and the good thing about it is you can do it all your life.”

One of the students that really benefitted from Cooney’s coaching was enthusiastic rookie Taylor Forbes, 13, who, near the end of the session, delivered a fantastic take-out, thank-you very much.

“I think it’s great,” the upbeat Grade 8’er said of the curling class, adding the volunteer coaches “really helped us a lot. It’s a great time; lots of fun,” he said, and made the point “if they start up a kids league I’m definitely going to join.”

 

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