Curling Day in Canada: A community comes together, while still staying apart

Community. Connection. Curling.

And haven’t we all been missing it.

Today we celebrate Curling Day in Canada and no doubt this year, it’s a little bit different.

  • Watch and engage with CBC Sports’ That Curling Show live every day of The Scotties at 7:30 p.m. ET on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube

It’s almost unfathomable to consider at this time last February thousands of people across this country were taking to pebbled sheets across the land to celebrate the roaring game.

There were no masks. No six-feet of separation. People were gathering together, giving each other high-fives, smiling – the good old days.

Who could have ever predicted that just a week later the world would shut down and some 365 days later we’d still be in this waiting place.

But today, we celebrate again. In backyards, on outdoor lakes and even on icy streets, curling fans are finding ways to take part in the game they so deeply love. Still apart. But still finding ways to connect.

Because at the heart of curling, and what has always made it such a loveable game, is that connection to people and community.

WATCH | That Curling Show gets you set for the final 2 days of the Scotties:

The drama is ramping up at the Scotties and Devin Heroux and Colleen Jones have all your predictions and scenarios. 49:50

All across this frozen tundra curling rinks dot the landscape – and in many of the villages, towns and cities the curling rink is the heartbeat of the community. It’s a gathering place for the young and old to come together for that Tuesday Beer League or weekend bonspiel. To make shots. To miss shots. And then to head to the lounge after the game and talk about it all.

This is a special sport. It’s a sport that’s laced with Canadian Olympic, world and national champions, who, after playing the biggest games of their careers, will join fans at the post-game party. 

That accessibility to the best athletes of the game is not seen in any other pro sport today. It’s a game rooted in humility. 

It’s quirky. It’s quintessentially Canadian. And the people who take part in hucking chunks of granite down the ice while others clear the path with brooms, all while the rock-chucker and skip or third scream loudly, is what makes this game great.

This year’s Scotties has been a welcomed escape. That sweet sporting escape hundreds of thousands of people across Canada rely on this time of year – and for a while it looked like it may not happen.

But inside the Calgary curling bubble the drama has once again played out. Sure, it probably hasn’t been to the calibre curling fans and curlers are used to, but can you blame them?

These teams hadn’t been the ice for weeks and in some cases months leading to the national championship. But they’re figuring it out as they go and now with just a few games left before a champion is crowned, the curling is right where we’d expect it to be.

WATCH | Rachel Homan makes incredible triple raise takeout to score 2:

Watch Team Ontario skip Rachel Homan send her Friday match to an extra end with an incredible triple raise takeout to score two and send the match into an 11th end at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alberta. 1:09

Curling Canada is one of the few national sport organizations to take on this monumental task – to pull off an event in the midst of a pandemic. And while it wasn’t a perfect process by any means in terms of selecting teams and having no playdowns, they’ve pulled it off without a positive case.

And the curlers once again showed grace and patience and flexibility amidst this ever-changing world. 

The fans are the ones who have benefited from the tenacity and perseverance of Curling Canada and the top women curlers in this country.

This is just the beginning too. After the Scotties it’s onto the Brier. Then mixed doubles national championship. Then the men’s world championship. And then two Grand Slam events.

WATCH | Ben Hebert gives his predictions for the Scotties championship round:

The Olympic gold medallist breaks down the competition heading into the weekend in the Calgary bubble. 3:26

It was a long wait to get curling back. But it’s been well worth the wait.

The future of the sport in the country is a tad murky right now, with curling clubs having to close their doors, unsure of what might lie ahead. 

But the curling community always seems to find a way when it matters most.

The curling community has always rallied around one another in triumph and tragedy.

And there’s no question the curling community will come together once again.

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