Here is a link to a good story from North Bay Nugget this week which is a true testament of what all clubs are facing these days!
Curling often prides itself on its age-old traditions and sportsmanlike spirit that sticks with its participants well after the game, and even beyond the rink.
Flash back a couple decades ago, enter the North Bay Granite Club and you would find yourself amidst a cloud of smoke, numerous people sitting about, drinking, laughing, sharing stories, socializing…
And not on a phone or social media site either, just regular old face-to-face conversation where your lips move and hands gesture.
It’s difficult to say why exactly things started to change. Many accredit drinking and smoking laws which have forced many hospitable hangouts to rethink their business model, and certainly curling clubs were not immune to some of the hurt.
Then along came handheld devices such as the smart phone, and all of a sudden life started passing faster than ever before. It’s easy to get lost in the World Wide Web where before you know it hours upon hours have wasted away. You weren’t physically active, you didn’t catch up with friends and you didn’t make new contacts. All you did was watch a cat run on a treadmill and a baby fall off the merry-go-round.
Despite these changes, it’s still expected that teams sit for two beverages after a game, and certainly there’s no requirement for them to contain alcohol. Tradition calls for the winning team to purchase the first round and the losing team to buy the second. Even this is a chore for some who need to get home to watch American Idol.
One thing that does seem to stimulate some social off-ice activity at our local club is the introduction of food service, which is provided by Ann Story and her team which operate the Cornerstone Cafe at Oak and Wild.
The cafe operates a restaurant/canteen from an before until an hour after curling is active at the club. Instead of smoke or a rye and coke, people can at least swap tales over a coffee, burger or home-cooked treats which, in turn, support the curling club and its endeavours.
Curlers should be reminded that in order to keep membership fees within reason, we must pursue and support alternative sources of revenue. For your next trip to the club, plan to arrive early for a meal, or stay after for a snack with the opposing team. If not, you’re missing a large part of what curling is about.