A lot of people have not heard of wheelchair curling, or a lot of people do not understand the sport of curling in general. Therefore, they do not understand how it can be played in a wheelchair.
For some who are really into the sport it can be an exciting game to watch, but especially play. For others, curling can be the equivalent to as much fun as watching paint dry.
Similarities between Regular and Wheelchair Curling
Curling is great for all levels of players. It can be played socially or competitively. It can be played by young or old.
Wheelchair curling and regular curling are played almost the same way.
Wheelchair curling is similar to regular curling:
The difference between the two are:
The Importance of Sport to Newly Injured People
When a person suffer a spinal cord injury it can be a huge life adjustment and for some it can be quite isolating. I know for me, I had a hard time trying to picture what life was going to be like post injury. I had this miscued picture of someone in a wheelchair either laying in bed or stuck sitting in a corner somewhere. Being an active person prior to my injury, this image was quite frightening. During my stay at Parkwood Hospital I was introduced to different people involved in wheelchair sports and I was able to see the possibilities that existed. This really lifted my spirits and encouraged me. A lot about life in a wheelchair I have learnt from my peers who I met through trying and playing different sports. No one understands what is like to be in a wheelchair better than someone who is actually in a wheelchair and has probably gone through the same things. I have have met some amazing friends who have helped me to grow and develop as a person. I would recommend to anyone who is in a wheelchair to try to find a sport they enjoy.
This sport has really developed since I first started. The equipment has advanced and so has the skill of the athletes. Watching my old teammate, Mark Ideson, and his journey to ultimately skip Team Canada at the 2018 Winter Paralympics held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, has been very inspiring.
What I hope to see for wheelchair curling in the future is to continue to watch the sport grow and develop. I would love to see the two on two curling become as popular with wheelchair curlers as has become with able bodied players.
How to Wheelchair Curl...
Curling can be hard to explain to someone who has never played the game before.
I had the opportunity to team up with Mark Ideson (@MarkIdeson) and Curling Canada to create a video. This video explains more about wheelchair curling and some techniques for delivering a stone from a wheelchair. Although techniques can vary, this video provides an insight to someone learning the sport.
The things I like most about wheelchair curling are:
My Curling Journey...
I have been curling since 2007. I never curled before my injury, in fact I fell into the category of people who had heard the word “curling”, and that is where my knowledge of game started and ended. Winter is an isolating and depressing time for me. It is not always the easiest to navigate a chair during this time and I sometimes require some extra motivation, or an excuse to leave the house. Through word of mouth I heard about wheelchair curling and emailed the coach to see if I could try the sport. Before I knew it, I had thrown my first rock and I was hooked.
The comment I get most frequently is “you look so cold” and truth is - most of the time I am freezing! It is those times that I wish our sport had sweeping. Despite the cold, I really love this sport.
I curl with the London Wheelchair Curling League out of the Ilderton curling club, in Ilderton Ontario. I’m curling out of this club because not only is a great wheelchair accessible facility to curl out of, but the club is full of great members. Our league has been unable to find a curling club within London that is wheelchair accessible.
Did you know?
Ontario currently has the most teams out of all the provinces. Therefore, winning your way to Nationals is a big deal.
I have been fortunate enough to play on great teams and we have won Provincials in 2012 and 3rd at Nationals; and won Provincials in 2017 and 4th at Nationals.