Sunday, April 10, 2011

Curling Is On The Rise In The Ottawa Valley

This article first appeared in the April 2011 edition of Main Street and is reprinted here with permission from the editors. Drop by Main Street Week News to have a look at a great community newspaper.

While we often refer to hockey as our unofficial national sport, millions of Canadians enjoy the sport of curling. Whether they are participating as members of their local clubs or watching the Brier, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts or the World Championships on television, there is no doubt that curling has captured the hearts of Canadians. Lachute resident Martin Cavanagh, a Level 3 high performance curling coach, shared some time with Main Street to discuss his passion for the sport and the benefits of curling.

“The Ottawa Valley area has produced many champions in the last 40 to 50 years,” Cavanagh explained. “We have a very enriched record but in the last 15 to 18 years interest has fallen. However, since the Olympics last year, the phone has been ringing off the hook at the Canadian Curling Association with the amount of people wanting to start curling. The Olympics were a major boost for the world of curling and in the next 15 to 18 years, interest in the sport will be on an upward swing.”

“My focus now is to rebuild the link from the past in the Ottawa Valley, to encourage and promote curling in this area. This past winter, with the help and support of local schools and the Ottawa Valley Curling Association, of which Lachute and Brownsburg belong, we began a Learn to Curl program. We are showing the children in the elementary schools how to curl and we have an accredited program approved by the Ministry of Education that we hope to have in the physical education program starting in the fall. Getting the schools involved over the next four to six years, we should see some positive results. People are starting to see that it is fun to play the sport - it’s looking very, very good for curling in our area.”

As our lives become increasingly intertwined with mobile devices, “must-see” television shows and video games, curling is an inexpensive option for parents with young families. Curling provides participants the opportunity to get active and unlike many other sports, age is not a factor. Whether you are nine years old or ninety, the sport can provide a lifetime of fun and friendships.

“One of the most important things at the club level is the social aspect,” Cavanagh said. “We’re not generating Brier champions by curling every Thursday night but we are building bonds, social structures and a community of support.”

“Curling is a sport that everyone can enjoy; it is a safe physical sport that you can enjoy at any age. You can play at your level for 30, 40 or 50 years and if you want to excel, if you are a competitive person, then there is every opportunity to do that as well. I don’t know of any other sport where you can do that - it can be whatever you want it to be. Kevin Martin, a World Champion curler, is 46 years old and the youngest guy on his team is in his twenties. There is no other sport where you have that mix. It’s a fantastic sport!”

Getting active while having fun and making new friends - is there a better combination? Join in on the fun and give curling a try! For more information on curling in our area, visit the Ottawa Valley Curling Association’s website: ovca.com

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