Curling numbers down slightly

Registration on Monday night for the upcoming curling season yielded 99 teams and roughly 400 curlers—down from the estimated 450 who came out of the hack last season.
“Some people change their interests and want a break from curling,” Kathie Jackson, chair of the Fort Frances Curling Committee, speculated late Tuesday.
“We do have a list of people who want to get on teams so we ask anyone looking for a fourth player for their team to contact us,” she added.
Both the Thursday night men’s league and the Monday ladies’ twilight league are full with 12 teams apiece.
Two teams are needed to round out the Wednesday night men’s twilight league, while there is space for three squads each in the Friday night mixed league and the Monday night men’s league.
The Thursday afternoon ladies’ league has room for five more teams, while the Thursday night ladies’ and Wednesday night men’s leagues both have 14 teams—with the capacity to take several more each.
Still, club president Bill Gushulak was encouraged by the turnout and predicted Tuesday that more teams should take shape as the weeks progress.
“We still have to group partial teams together,” he said. “We don’t want people to feel uncomfortable because they don’t know who they’ll be grouped with, or can’t find anyone to group themselves with.
“If they want to curl, we’ll fit them in.”
Gushulak confirmed there will be junior leagues again this season, noting a significant number of newcomers were on hand for registration Monday night.
“It’s always nice to see new faces, whether it’s those who want to give curling a try for the first time or whether it’s those wanting to get back in the game after a long time away,” he remarked.
There also was considerable feedback about the club’s annual general meeting coming up Oct. 2 at 7 p.m., which will include a membership vote about whether to ban smoking altogether in the curling club.
Gushulak said the vote will be taken by secret ballot, and added club members who couldn’t or didn’t feel like staying for the duration of the meeting still could have their say.
“We would hope people would try and stay for the whole meeting. But if they can’t or won’t stay, we encourage them to come in, place their vote, and then leave if they wish.”
It’s the simple charms of curling that Gushulak said still brings people out to the rink year after year. “It’s a social outing, and it’s as competitive as you want it to be,” he explained.
“It’s the only game I know that you start and end with a handshake. You don’t have to do a lot of practice beforehand, it’s not expensive, and it’s easy on the body—if you stay upright,” Gushulak laughed.
Anyone still wanting to curl this season can contact Jackson at 274-9438 or Rick Grenda at the club (274-6667).