•   
  •   
  •   

Canada Curling returns to play in a pandemic by rediscovering its roots

23:06  26 september  2020
23:06  26 september  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

Welcome to Twitch U: Pandemic has some profs streaming lectures on gaming platform

  Welcome to Twitch U: Pandemic has some profs streaming lectures on gaming platform ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — David Churchill is just 20 minutes into his first lecture of the semester at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and already students are expressing their enthusiasm. Not with lit-up eyes or hands waving in the air but with a series of emojis: PogChamp emote, LuL emote, PogChamp emote. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, few of the university's fall semester courses will be in person. There is a university-approved video  lecture system, but for his two courses in the computer science department, Churchill is experimenting with an online streaming platform used mainly by gamers.

The empty sheets at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ont. have come back to life as players return to the sport they love during the COVID-19 pandemic. © Devin Heroux/CBC Sports The empty sheets at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ont. have come back to life as players return to the sport they love during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So much about what makes curling special is community.

When curlers and fans talk about this quirky, roaring game one of the first things that enters the conversation is how social the sport is – how in communities across the land there are curling rinks which for decades have been the heartbeat and gathering spot for people.

COMMENTARY: Prime Minister Trudeau plays his hand in game of election poker

  COMMENTARY: Prime Minister Trudeau plays his hand in game of election poker Trudeau's high-stakes game could mean an election come Sept. 23. But Mike Smyth asks if Erin O'Toole's Tories will try to bring down the government.The Sept. 23 outline of the Trudeau government's agenda will not be your typically boring "throne drone.

So when the pandemic hit, many wondered how the game would return in Canada and what it would look like. It's no secret in recent years local clubs have been suffering as administrations and volunteers try to find ways to bring people through the doors.

Curling, after all, has become so professional and so specialized that it's gotten away from the grassroots the sport was built on.

Now, in the midst of the pandemic and as curling finds its way back to the pebbled sheets, it would appear the game is getting back to its roots, setting up events in local clubs -- clubs that have always hosted events but are now the lifeline for casual curlers and the pros.

And the pros are returning to the place they first fell in love with the granite game.

Burrow, Bengals hit road vs Browns on NFL's 100th birthday

  Burrow, Bengals hit road vs Browns on NFL's 100th birthday CLEVELAND — Joe Burrow's childhood was pretty much the same as every other boy raised in football-obsessed Ohio, the NFL's birthplace. He learned his ABCs and multiplication tables in school. Outside, Burrow got lessons on Paul Brown, Jim Brown, Boomer Esiason, Bernie Kosar, The Ickey Shuffle and Dawg Pound. On Thursday night, Burrow connects to those roots. This year's No. 1 overall draft pick, reigning Heisman Trophy winner and just maybe the quarterback to change Cincinnati's fortunes, makes his first road start as the Bengals visit the Cleveland Browns to renew a rivalry Burrow learned about as a youngster. “I know the history behind it,” he said.

a group of people in a room: Jennifer Jones, bottom, prepares a shot while Brent Laing, top, looks on at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ont. © Devin Heroux/CBC Sports Jennifer Jones, bottom, prepares a shot while Brent Laing, top, looks on at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ont.

"It's what makes curling special, our grassroots. So many people curl in Canada. There are rinks in so many communities so it's nice to come back to the communities that make curling what it is today and thank the people," Jennifer Jones told CBC Sports.

Jones would know. Her humble beginnings started in local clubs in Winnipeg – giving rise to one of the most prolific curlers to ever enter the hack.

This weekend, Jones is curling alongside her husband Brent Laing at the KW Granite club in Kitchener-Waterloo. It's the first competitive bonspiel in Ontario – a mixed doubles event with 10 teams competing.

"I wasn't sure if we were going to play this early, but KW is stepping up. I can't imagine the work going on behind the scenes to make this happen," Laing said.

Women Wear ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Costumes At Ruth Bader Ginsburg Vigil To Protest Trump And McConnell’s Actions

  Women Wear ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Costumes At Ruth Bader Ginsburg Vigil To Protest Trump And McConnell’s Actions “He doesn’t have a lot of respect for women. We might as well be handmaids.” That was the feeling among of a group of Orange County residents who, as they gathered to mourn the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also found themselves in shock and fearful of how Donald Trump might fill her seat.

Curlers are grateful to be back.

"The KW stepping up and allowing us to be on the ice, we really can't thank them enough for taking the chance and putting these safety measures in place," Jones said.

"This is the first event and it feels like a well-oiled machine."

a group of people standing in a room: Brent Laing, left, and Jennifer Jones survey the ice at the event at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ont. © Devin Heroux/CBC Sports Brent Laing, left, and Jennifer Jones survey the ice at the event at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ont.

While it may feel that way to the curlers, a committed group of staff and volunteers have been working n the background –around the clock – trying to prepare for not only this weekend but the next number of weekends.

The KW Granite is becoming somewhat of a curling hub throughout October. Four of the next five weeks will see key bonspiels hosted at the club. Getting to this point has been turbulent.

"It's been a little stressful for me but not nearly as much as for the ice crew," club president Matt Wilkinson said. "They've been out here for the last 10 days to get this running. Compressors were turned on 10 days ago."

Wilkinson is responsible for making sure protocols are being followed, members are happy, and that above all, nobody gets COVID-19.

‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ Renewed At HBO Through 2022

  ‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ Renewed At HBO Through 2022 Bill Maher will stay on HBO screens until at least 2022 after the premium cable network renewed his weekly talk show. Real Time with Bill Maher has been on the WarnerMedia-owned network since 2003. Maher has just returned to the studio, having spent much of last six months making the show from his backyard. The executive producers of Real Time with Bill Maher are Maher, Sheila Griffiths, Marc Gurvitz, Dean Johnsen, Billy Martin with co-executive producer Chris Kelly, producer Matt Wood and director Paul Casey.

"It's a new era. The amount of stuff and protocols to go through, understanding how we open the club and even if we were going to open the club, has been a lot to navigate," he said.

Wilkinson says they're at about 65 per cent capacity in terms of membership – usually their leagues are jammed and the building is humming. This weekend, it's eerily quiet inside the club. No murmur of curlers discussing the game over beverages. Nothing. But the game is back and right now that's a victory for Wilkinson.

a group of people standing around a table: John Epping surveys the house at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ont. © Devin Heroux/CBC Sports John Epping surveys the house at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ont.

"What this group has done is remarkable. To see curling ice in Ontario is a big step. We have a long way to go but I'm very proud of what we've done," he said.

For as good as it's feeling for curlers and fans to be celebrating the return of the game, Gerry Geurts understands this is just one small step in a long road back.

"I don't know what curling is going to look like coming out of this," the president of CurlingZone told CBC Sports.

"People want to play. Membership is still pretty strong. They want to see their friends again and socialize. It's the same thing with these bonspiels."

'It's starting to normalize'

What Geurts has done for curling is nothing short of remarkable. CurlingZone is a one-stop shop for everything a curling fan would want to know about the sport – from statistics to scores to player bios, it has it all.

But the money isn't flowing like it used to with events being cancelled and sponsors pulling out of deals.

Still, Geurts is organizing events and providing free live-scoring for every bonspiel taking place just to keep the sport relevant.

"I love being involved and growing and building the game," he said. "It's starting to normalize a little bit. We have to get people out curling and get people comfortable being back on the ice again."

And so that's what's happening. In the spirit of curling, like it's always been. People rallying together to find ways to get back to the ice. It's not a perfect science by any means and there will be bumps along the way.

But the silver lining is that there's a community remembering why they fell in love with curling in the first place and it may just be exactly what the sport needed to save clubs across Canada.

COVID Alert app notification halts play at curling tourney in Kitchener-Waterloo hub .
The remainder of the Stu Sells Oakville Tankard – being played at the KW Granite Club in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. – has been cancelled after a player was notified by the COVID Alert app they had contact with a person who's tested positive for COVID-19. The Twitter account of the Brad Jacobs rink confirmed the cancellation of the remainder of the playoff rounds on Sunday afternoon. "As a contact of a contact, other players are not required to isolate, but due to the nature of the virus, we will cancel the playoff round at this time," organizers told CBC Sports in a statement. "The Stu Sells Oakville Tankard worked closely with the KW Granite Club ...

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks
usr: 3
This is interesting!