The men’s retirees curling club in Beaver Valley has iced one of the most experienced teams in club history, bringing together 337 years of curling acumen in what can best be described as a super-seniors team.
Skip Mel Moncrief (83), third Len Connell (83), second Wilf Thornhill (85) and lead Don Paul (86) make up the squad who curl twice a week in the competitive Beaver Valley Curling Club’s retirees’ league.
“There is a lot of guile on that team, they know what they’re doing; they don’t throw big, heavy weight but they’re always in the game and they know how to draw,” said retiree-club president Bud Lind.
Every half a year, the league mixes up the teams, so for Connell and Moncrief, the opportunity to curl together has been rare. However, this year, the executive made an exception and along with longtime friends Thornhill and Paul, brought the senior members of the league together.
And the team has performed well. In Monday’s game Moncrief was tied going into the final end before bowing to youth on the final stone.
He and Connell were two of the pioneers of the league, which is celebrating its 25th year this season.
“All I can remember is you (Connell) and I sitting around one day, we’re both retired in ‘85 and we decided that we’d start a retirees curling club, and we started off with four teams in the spring of ’86,” said Moncrief.
The men held a meeting at the curling club with about 10 others to organize and recruit similar interested parties.
“We sat down and talked about who we knew, so we decided to just call up all the guys that were retired to get the ball rolling,” said Connell. “I got up and went to get a cup of coffee and come back and they said, ‘well you’re the president,’”
The men have all taken their turn on the executive since then, contributing to a league that now boasts 23 teams of local retirees.
“It’s the best thing that happened to the retirees because a lot of retirees were doing absolutely nothing but sitting like couch potatoes. We got them out here . . . and it worked out really nice,” says Connell.
While the league is fairly competitive the camaraderie dealt out after throwing rocks is really what it’s all about.