FIRST PERSON: Trying something new

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East Hants Curling Association welcomes curling newbie on the ice

LANTZ: 2018 was a year and a half for many people, my household was no exception. There were some big changes professionally and personally, and when that happens, many things that should be important tend to take a backseat.

Before you realize it, a lot of things take the backseat that bring you happiness.

So, looking ahead to 2019, I decided a resolution was out of the picture, resolutions have never been successful for me. 2019 instead has a priority—happiness and health.

If there is a resolution- it boils down to “why not?”

Cue a conversation with Harold MacNeil with the East Hants Curling Association. We discussed doing an article on the group to raise more awareness and he mentioned I should come give it a try. So, I thought, why not?

I get to the rink early to meet Harold, he gets me all set up with shoes, a broom, everything I need to get going. He shows me the ropes before others arrive. I fall only a couple times before I get the movement needed to move the rocks end to end.

Although, I never once had a “usable” stone, I surprised myself how after just a few shots you’re able to better read the ice.

(Cameron photo)

Curling seems much akin to golf in that way, being able to read the green, the speed of the fairway and the wind directly relates to being able to read the ice, knowing the curl, when and where to sweep.

I started our match pretty nervous. As a beginner, I didn’t want to slow down their game and be any source of frustration with my inexperience.

It was clear after two rocks that wouldn’t be a concern. Not only was Harold extremely helpful, he was extremely encouraging as well. He knew the minor adjustments to make each shot, and built my confidence up.

That confidence was quickly reset, as I foolishly thought I was ready to sweep without a gripper on my shoe. I looked like Bambi on ice I’m sure as I went down, but don’t worry, besides a few bruises, the most damage that was done was to my ego.

From that point on, the gripper stayed put, and I didn’t have any inkling that I could look near as cool as the experience curlers zooming down their lanes.

My favourite part of the evening was how open everyone was to help. I asked questions of not only my team which welcomed me for the night, but of my opposition, and members on the lane next to me. Not one person shied away or seemed annoyed by my barrage of questions. (Sorry guys, comes with the territory of inviting a journalist on the ice.)

The concerns I did have about being out of place or sticking out like a sore thumb with my inexperience were completely unnecessary and in fact, the entire night I was thinking about how much my partner would enjoy the game and we’re seriously considering joining next season.

If it’s something you’ve been thinking about trying, I would whole heartedly encourage you to do so, no experience needed, just a willingness to try.

On Thursdays, the association has the second ice surface in the East Hants Sportsplex from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., have a youth ice time at 3 p.m., and more time from 6-8 p.m. For more information, call Harold MacNeil at (902) 883-0130, or check them out on facebook by searching East Hants Curling Association.

Thank you to Harold, the rest of my team, and for everyone for welcoming me with open arms as I try something new.

MAIN PHOTO: On Thursdays, the association has the second ice surface in the East Hants Sportsplex from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., have a youth ice time at 3 p.m., and more time from 6-8 p.m. For more information, call Harold MacNeil at (902) 883-0130, or check them out on facebook by searching East Hants Curling Association. (Cameron photo)