Sunday, May 04, 2014

Happy Curling

The 'Year of Nostalgia' continues. Above is the cover of 'Happy Curling', a magazine for the sport in Japan which ran for ten issues back in the 1980s when curling was just becoming established in that country. More on this below.

This past week has seen the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship, and the World Seniors Curling Championships, taking place at the Ice Bowl in Dumfries. And what a great success it all was. Many congratulations to all involved.

Living close by, I was able to attend most days, and saw some great curling. It was somewhat strange for me not to have a role behind the scenes in the event itself, or being involved as a member of the media. But retirement had the advantage of being able to meet lots of people, with a good wallow in nostalgia at times, and of course I got to watch some great curling.

Olympic champion Rhona Martin threw the first stone at the opening ceremony which had representative teams from thirty-four countries on the ice - there was barely room for them all!

As I write this, Rhona's Olympic gold medal, a star attraction at the Curling Connections exhibition and stolen in a break in at the Dumfries Museum, has still not been recovered. As I have already posted, I have been extremely upset by this. I had applauded Rhona's generosity in allowing her medal to go on show, to be seen by all the foreign visitors as well and hundreds of local schoolchildren. The real world can be a vile place at times. I have my fingers crossed that the local police will be able to find the culprits and that Rhona's medal, and the other stolen items, will be returned.

Kenny Thomson, a well kent young curler at Greenacres back in the day, was representing New Zealand in the Mixed Doubles. His team partner Waverley Taylor is not named after the Sir Walter Scott novels, nor indeed the paddle steamer, but must have been surprised at the interest her name generated. It was great to meet them, and watch them play this new curling discipline.

A team from Brazil competed in the MDs event. Aline Lima is currently working in the Yukon, and Marcelo Mello in Quebec. It was just wonderful to see this country compete at a world championship, and indeed win a game! You can find all the results here.

Aside from Scotland, my support was with the Italian senior women! You see, Fiona Simpson, the skip on the left of the photo and originally from Uplawmoor, was one of the first youngsters I coached when the rink at Greenacres opened in 1979. How can she possibly be old enough to be playing in the seniors! Where have the years gone?

Back in the 1980s, in the days before laptop computers or tablets, coaching courses usually had a introduction based around showing some 35mm slides, on a big screen, to explain to the beginners what to expect. I used a couple of photos of Fiona. The one above ...

... and this one, where Fiona was demonstrating that, for a right-hander player, a full length teflon slider goes on the left foot.

And here is Fiona in action at Dumfries last week, the right way up, and skipping her team in the World Seniors. Great stuff!

The Upper Nithsdale Youth Pipe Band played at the opening and closing ceremonies. Seriously good they are too. They made sure there was a Scottish stamp to the occasions. I liked this pic of the drummers warming up.

On the wall behind the bar in the tent was this poster. Aviemore in the 1970s! More nostalgia.

There was not a seat to be had in the curling rink for the final of the Senior Women's Championship. Here, Scotland's Margaret Richardson, Janet Lindsay and Isobel Hannen look after Christine Cannon's last stone to lie three shots in the final end against Canada. One down without, and needing to steal, they could not have placed it better, and they were the victors on the day!

It was a great sight to see the Saltire at the top at the presentation ceremony. Well done to Team Scotland. Photos of all the medal-winning teams in all three competitions can be found here. And all the results from the seniors' events can be found here.

My personal highlight of the week was meeting Hisashi Urashima who had been the editor of 'Happy Curling' in the 1980s. Here he is presenting me with a copy of the first issue. When I wrote an article for this magazine I had no inclination that one day I would be editor of a curling magazine too! Hisashi was lead on the Japanese Senior Men's team at Dumfries, and is the president of the Joy English Academy in Obihiro, Hokkaido.

Hisashi is a keen amateur photographer and I really enjoyed looking at some of his work.

Here's a page from my 1984 article, with a photo of two young curlers competing at Greenacres. (The photographer was John Elder, if I remember correctly.) Marion Miller (now MacDonald) is delivering the stone and Jane McConnell (now Marshall) is ready to sweep. I think their own children might smile at this now!

The photo of Hisashi and me is by Hugh Stewart, the other photos are © Skip Cottage.

1 comment:

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed this article...especially the pictures of Fiona back in the day.