From: Warren Betker
Club name: Weyburn Curling Club
On July 1 1998, I received a phone call while driving my young daughters to a swim meet. I pulled over on the highway and was told my father had been diagnosed with a form of lung cancer and was not expected to live until Christmas of that year.
As a family, we decided that someone would stay with my dad in the hospital each night until he was well enough to return home. A few nights later it was my turn.
We played some cribbage that night and talked of many things. Eventually our discussion took us back to an early fall evening when I was in grade 8 or 9.
I had noticed an ad in the Regina Leader Post offering a learn to curl and play badminton opportunity at the Wascana Winter Club. I wanted to go. When I expressed interest, so did my older brother and my younger sister. The problem was the cost was $25 per person and our family didn’t have that money. My parents were both from rural Saskatchewan and had grown up curling. They wanted us kids to have that opportunity too. So we negotiated. To just join the curling club was $17 per person and a total cost of $51 was manageable for my parents.
What I hadn’t known until that night in the hospital, was that in discussions between my mom and dad some 25 years earlier they had agreed to scale back Christmas presents to each other so we could learn to curl.
As he lay in his hospital bed, with tears in his eyes, he told me it was the best $50 he had ever spent.
You see, earlier that winter, I had competed in my second national Mixed Curling Championship in Owen Sound, Ontario. But more significantly, in February of that year my younger sister had returned from Nagano, Japan with an Olympic Gold Medal for curling. That was the pinnacle of a career that included three Canadian and three World Curling Championships.
My younger sister is Jan Betker, recently voted the top woman third to ever play the game and part of the Sandra Schmirler team deemed to be the greatest women’s curling team of all time.
In his last years my father, with my mother, enjoyed countless hours cheering on the Schmirler foursome as they competed across Canada and the world.
He passed away in mid November of 1998.