Rossland Curling Club volunteers Joanne Drystek and Shane Preedy introduced Seven Summits students to the intricacies of the sport earlier this month. Photo: Submitted

Rossland Curling Club volunteers Joanne Drystek and Shane Preedy introduced Seven Summits students to the intricacies of the sport earlier this month. Photo: Submitted

Rossland students on the button

Rossland Curling Club volunteers introduce sport to Gr. 8 and 9 Seven Summits students

By Tara Hauck

Canadians love to curl, and so do Seven Summits students.

This month, the Grade 8 and 9 students from Seven Summits Centre for Learning took part in ‘Learn to Curl’ during their P.E. workshop. The lesson plans supported the November learning objectives of balance and gliding.

In 2020, Curl BC celebrated curling’s 125th anniversary. Curling has contributed to the social and sporting history in British Columbia in unique and valuable ways. Historically, participants travelled far distances to compete in ‘bonspiels’ throughout the Kootenays.

The Kootenays were the central hub for curling until the end of the second World War. The Rossland Curling Club was first established at the turn of the 20th Century along with the other mining towns such as Nelson and Trail.

The current Rossland Curling Club opened in 1957 as an extension to the Rossland Arena.

The Seven Summits classes were generously hosted by Joanne Drystek and Shane Preedy: two dedicated volunteers, who are as passionate about curling as they are teaching the sport.

Lessons began, as all slippery sports should, with safety procedures and precautions about using sliders on the ice. Balance techniques and the control to prevent or reduce falls were modelled. Instruction continued with ice technology, ‘pebbling,’ and the specialized way that Ice Master’s get the surface in tip-top shape for rocks to glide smoothly down the sheet.

The Rossland Curling Club provided students with the equipment to play the game: brooms, sliders, and shoes were all readily available.

Students were asked about their previous experience with curling: had they played, watched on television, or had any previous knowledge about the sport? For many of the students, this was their first contact with curling, and they were cautiously excited to learn.

Sheet terminology such as the house, hog line, back line, and button were explained on a play board, and then supported with active learning on the ice.

Drystek playfully gave different scenario examples for how the stones may look in the house, and assisted students to learn the key vocabulary through engaging examples.

“I was impressed by their interest and enthusiasm,” said Drystek.

Next it was onto the sheet. Positions and techniques for delivering the stones out of the hack were critically reviewed and practiced.

“We like to give them that confidence in a safe and effective way,” said Preedy.

Students practiced perfecting the long lunging glide technique on the one slippery foot. Then, using the broom for support, they progressed to adding the stone in their hand. Students were then taught how to position the handle to get the right spin for the perfect throw.

What was the right ‘weight,’ or amount of effort to get the stone to reach the spot in the house? When it came time for each of them to try their first shot, many of them were right on the ‘button’ with very few ‘hogged stones.’

Finally, it was time to play a game. Game objectives and scoring were taught so that students could play and score their efforts.

Each team had four players who delivered two stones to complete ‘ends.’ The first through third player carefully looked for the ‘call’ from their skip, and aided by the sweepers, delivered the stones. This resulted in a tie. No matter! They all felt like winners to learn a new fun and interactive game.

“Students welcomed the challenge and the excitement,” noted Drystek. “It was great to watch them develop their skills and confidence on the ice. Playing a game during the last lesson highlighted how far they had progressed.”

Seven Summits Learning Centre students are grateful to Joanne Drystek and Shane Preedy for their time and expertise as community mentors.

The Rossland Curling Club welcomes the opportunity to reach people that would otherwise not have access to the sport. As they say on Curl BC’s website, “Our House is Your House.”

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